It’s that time of year again. The time when we look back and reflect on all that we managed to accomplish in 2016. The time of year when we are already dreaming of warmer days ahead and what 2017 will bring. It’s the time of resolutions. If you are the outdoorsy type like me, you may share in some of my new years’ resolutions.
1) Improve my orienteering skills
I know that the sun rises early in the East and sets in the West, but I’m embarrassed to say compasses intimidate me. At the same time, I admire the history behind compasses and map making. I know that orienteering is essential when it comes to hunting and exploring new terrains so I need to put more time aside this year to practice these skills.
2) Camp in a new spot
I have discovered a few great camping spots over the years. They are spots I continue to visit summer after summer. Not that this is anything to complain about, but I think it is time for me to venture out and discover a new camping spot or two.
3) Jog in one of Nebraska Game and Parks’ hosted 5K runs
The key word here is “jog”. This is probably one of my more elaborate goals of the year, but fast walking through the beautiful scenery of one of our state parks or recreation areas might make these 5Ks sound much more appealing.
4) Call in a turkey during Spring Turkey Season
I organize and handle turkey calls on a regular basis. I can even teach you how to make your own turkey call out of a drinking straw. But sadly, I haven’t had the chance to experience the use of these devices in the field. I’m hoping that will change this year.
5) Find a morel mushroom
In 2016, I attended a brilliant Learn to Hunt Morel Mushroom workshop held at the Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center. The class was taught by expert, Dave Sanders. I learned a lot of great information on how to find these natural treasures, but I have yet to find one for myself. I hope that 2017 presents me with many more experiences to hunt mushrooms this spring.
6) Bake some bread in my dutch oven
I made some really great recipes in my dutch oven this past year. That lists includes chicken fajitas, pizzas, cheesy potatoes, and countless desserts. I would really like to expand my dutch oven abilities and try a few different bread recipes this coming year. There is a jalapeno cheddar bread recipe I already have picked out. My mouth is beginning to water!
7) Go stargazing at Merritt Reservoir
Merritt Reservoir hosts the summer Nebraska Star Party every year. They say it is one of the darkest places in Nebraska, therefore one of the best places to view the night sky. This year’s Nebraska Star Party is scheduled for July 23rd-28th, 2017. I hope to get out there to admire the summer stars.
8) See the Solar Eclipse
This summer, something amazing will be occurring. A total solar eclipse is set to happen on August 21, 2017. Mark your calendars now, it’ll be summer before we know it.
9) Learn to identify more Nebraska trees
This year, I was lucky enough to visit the “Old Oak Tree” located in the bur oak forest of Ponca State Park. This miraculous tree has survived for some 372 years. This visit, along with a trip to the Arbor Lodge Farm for the Applejack Festival has sparked a growing interest in me. I want to learn more about the trees of Nebraska.
10) Spend more time in my kayak
For me, gliding above a lake in a kayak is a relaxing sense. Being out on a lake, somewhere, watching the clouds in the sky and observing the nature around me. Wow, what a feeling. I think we all deserve a few more days of relaxation for 2017.
Allie Claypool, Outdoor Education Assistant