Thursday, October 29, 2009

From Hunting Camp to Africa

A while back--a couple of months ago, in fact--I was talking about how I got from writing a simple article on fishing to hunting and fishing in Africa. Then I got sidetracked by a trip to Wyoming.

Now it's finally time to tell the rest of the tale.

When we left off this story, I was talking about the women's hunting camps my friend Galen Geer and I did in Colorado for five years. The first year actually was kind of a test--to see how we hunted together and how we got along on that kind of an expedition.

You see, Galen had another agenda. He had been to Africa that spring to arrange a safari for Soldier of Fortune, and the owner of the ranch where he stayed expressed an interest in having a woman come and write about hunting in Africa. Galen immediately thought of me, but we had never hunted together, and he wanted to know more about what I was made of before he asked if I wanted to go over.

That first hunting camp settled any qualms he had about it. My biggest two issues were--and are--temperature and altitude. I get cold easily, so I have to be careful what I wear and the situations I get into, and I don't adjust well to high altitudes. Neither of those is a big surprise, given that I've lived in Florida all my life!

However, neither one is a problem with African hunting, so it was settled--the following spring I would accompany the Soldier of Fortune safari to South Africa. And as it happened, my 40th birthday was right in the middle of that trip. Not a bad birthday present!

At the conclusion of that trip I made arrangements to bring some women hunters back the next year, and in 1994 did so. I kept on traveling to southern Africa for the next two years--a total of four trips in all--and hunted and fished in a lot of places, sometimes with Galen and sometimes not. But by then I had made my own friends there, and I was pretty comfortable to come and go as I pleased with them.

What ended those trips was becoming a single mother. When my son's dad and I divorced and I moved to Tampa, I didn't have anyone to stay with Chris, so my hunting days came to an end for a while. For whatever reason Chris never got the hunting "bug," so it wasn't something we did together, and I didn't want to force hunting on him if he didn't like it.

I did fish some during those years, mostly on weekends when Chris was with his dad--he doesn't like to fish either. But now that he is 19--almost 20--and can take care of my dogs, I'm starting to travel and hunt again.

So look for more adventures in the not too distant future!

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