– By Brandon Wikman
Last week I made one of my most memorable hunting excursions of my life. Some of you would interpret that I lost my way into the wilderness of Alaska. Others would come to believe I hopped a flight to New Zealand to hunt the incredible red stag. Or maybe others would guess that I took a week to desolate myself into the wilderness of Yukon country in search for gigantic Bull Moose. I’d say simply this… you’re way off.
My 4-hour trip to the upper peninsula of Michigan, hunting a waddling feathered critter called a turkey, has left an everlasting memory with me. I was graced by the charm of a special someone, named Jenn Geissler, who is a recent Hunter’s Safety graduate. Although most people would think she’s a ripe 12-years old, which is the age most participants are, Jenn’s graduation day came much later in life. At 21-years old, she is a fresh face in the outdoor world that’s particularly savvy when it comes to the sport of hunting.
My ultimate mission was to film Jenn’s first turkey hunt on video, but also and much more importantly, share an enriching experience with her that’d bind two souls from the vines of nature. The location of choice was in Stephenson, Michigan, with Maple Ridge Outfitters (MapleRidgeOutfitter.com). Maple Ridge is an enchanting slice of heaven plopped down in the beautiful green meadows of Michigan. It’s an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true. It’s a combination of great lodging, incredible meals, and unforgettable people. We left Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in the late afternoon with big dreams and an escalating sense of anticipation. Our drive went quite well. In fact, things were going far too well. That is, until all hell broke loose.
With no more than an easy 45-minute pavement-to-cabin arrival, my truck began to sound off like a pack of wild boars. My rpm-gauge soared into next week, transmission practically disappeared, and the rumble of destruction echoed. Both of our faces looked at each other in shock. Needless to say, we both had to laugh as I reached for my cell-phone to call AAA. There are many times throughout life when accidents happen. Several of the misfortunate occasions are completely out of our control. I always take it as a bummer spill of luck and always find the slightest humor from the situation.
An hour passed. I found myself gazing at my worthless truck being yanked onto a flatbed. I was also reluctant to be heaving a forty-pound driveshaft into the back bed of my truck. It was apparent that the demise of my truck suffered from old u-joints.
Jenn and I rode ‘shotty’ with a delightfully nice old man who talked with us about hunting. He lightened up the mood and shed light on a totally new atmosphere. We were not only rescued by his tow-truck, but also his saving grace. With my truck towed to the nearest city for repair, I called Gary for a pickup. I figured hitchhiking in the Northwood’s wouldn’t be the wisest idea of mine…
He was more than happy to be our transportation and checker-flag-finish our grueling journey from one state to the next. We arrived in paradise at nearly midnight. The torturous escapade from Wisconsin to Michigan was finally over. Now it was time for us to get unpacked, settle down, and get Jenn’s eye on a boisterous redheaded bird!
To be continued…