Along The Trail 4-13-17

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Time keeps ticking by and before I know it, September will be here and barring some disaster, I’ll be in the Colorado Rockies for a week chasing after elk with my bow.

I’ve been gradually getting in physical condition for the mountains and minus a couple of hiccups, I’ve seen improvement in my overall fitness level. I still have four and a half months to go and since the weather has finally settled down a bit, I’ve moved my exercise routine from indoors to out.

Growing up in the Ohio River Valley, we tend to think we have some pretty steep hills and relatively speaking, we do. I can march up and down the steepest roads in the county and it will help get my legs and cardio ready, but it’s going to be nearly impossible to simulate the thin air that I’ll be hunting in at over 10,000 feet. Still, I’ve got to make due with what I have and put some miles under my heels if I want to enjoy my hunting trip to the fullest.

So, I’ve been beating the pavement, gravel and some dirt trails. Some of my favorite challenges have been the water tower hill in Vevay; Clifty Falls trails; the Siekman Environmental Park; and the long – and I mean longggg – hill on State Road 56 outside of Rising Sun.

It doesn’t take much to get my heart working and sweat flowing, especially under the added weight of a full backpack. My legs and feet will scream to stop, but with each step, I remind myself why I’m out here and if going an extra mile will help give me a chance at bringing home an elk with an arrow, then that’s all the motivation I need.

On my hilly walks and hikes, I’ve noticed something disturbing – the amount of trash thrown along our roadways is unbelievable.

When I was a kid, I had always found a way to make little extra spending money. Mowing grass, weed eating, you name it, I did it. One of the ways I kept my tackle box stocked with fishing lures was through collecting aluminum cans along the edge of the roads. My dad and I fished almost every day when I was a kid and after our fishing trips, Dad would drive slowly along the county roads and I’d hop out of the truck and snatch up any old pop or beer cans we’d see lying in the ditches.

It didn’t take long to collect a few trash bags full and once I had enough, I’d sell them to the local scrap buyer and then race to the sporting goods shop for the newest bass lures.

That was over 35 years ago: I am shocked to see that there is even more trash along our roadways today.

I’ve walked past soda cans, every beer can known to man, water bottles, beer bottles, whiskey bottles, milk jugs, fast food cups and wrappers and that’s just the beginning. Plastic bags, cigarette butts, furniture, gas cans, diapers, birth control devices, feminine hygiene products, under garments and the list goes on and on and on.

The volume of garbage tossed out of car windows is sickening.

It’s just not along our road sides either.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the woods in our part of the country and have been back in some pretty woolly areas. Places that make you think you’re the only one that has stepped foot there in modern times and do you know what you’ll find?

Yep, you guessed it – trash.

It never ceases to amaze me that I can be in the proverbial middle of nowhere and still find a plastic water bottle, an old beer can or a glass bottle.

I’m not an environmental, social justice warrior and I try not to preach to others about how to live their lives, but in today’s world, there simply is no excuse to litter and throw trash along our roads. Keep a bag in your vehicle to put your garbage in or just wait ’til you get home and put it in the trash bin. We should be better at this by now and if you think the ditches and road edges are bad, take a walk along the river if you truly want to see how much trash doesn’t make it into the can.

Please folks, lets keep this place clean, it’s the only world we have.

– David Hewitt