Outdoor Life Is Rewarding: Backwoods Extreme by David Orlowski | columns

I grew up loving the outdoors. When I was young, the most exciting times I had were in the woods behind my house. Playing in the woods with my brothers and the kids from the neighborhood, which was what kids did in those days. We walked to places among towering pines to build our log forts that made us feel like kings of a castle.

Of course, that was what kept us busy when we weren’t swimming in the local river, fishing for crayfish, or floating down the flood channel through town on inner tubes. By mid-morning the temperature had risen so we headed to the river to cool off.

Then, when we needed something else to occupy our time, we would head to some of the local springs and catch some of the many varieties of salamanders that resided there. Of course, once we were satisfied with that, we’d head out to some rocky spots where we’d flip rocks and catch some snakes.

Things gradually began to change around the age of 10 when my dad would take us catfishing at night in a local lake. That was also the turning point when I got interested in trout fishing, something I still do to this day. Like many, the trout opener signals a new year of fishing.

Of course, when he reached the age of 12, the great outdoors became very exciting. The real adventures that would shape my outdoor life were just beginning to take place.

My older brother, who had been cheating for a couple of years, took me under his wing and taught me everything he knew about it. This great activity saw us spend the next 25 years together catching everything from muskrats, mink, raccoons, and even a few beavers. It’s still on my mind today when I run a little line looking for bobcats.

Then began the biggest and most exciting change that created my true love for the outdoors. Turning 12 meant that I had reached the age where I could go hunting under the supervision of my parents.

For me, it was under the watchful eye of my older brother, since my father didn’t hunt much except in deer season. That meant he would get a full hunting course, as my brother had me walk the hills looking for anything ranging in size from a small squirrel to large black bears.

A life full of adventures has created my love for the outdoors that persists today. I guess that’s what also led me to become an outdoor writer. I can be thankful for a life full of youthful adventures because I surely would not have wanted to miss out on 60 years of this great and healthy outdoor life that I have enjoyed.

David Orlowski is a writer, hunter, fisherman, and outdoor enthusiast from Potter County. He is a member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association.