J. Martino; It's not about getting lost, but who's

It’s not about getting lost, but who’s with you By: John Martino Finding the right path sometimes isn’t always easy. Have you ever been driving and all of a sudden realize you have no clue where you are? When in unfamiliar territory it’s really easy to become lost. But nowadays, with all the technology, it’s even easier to find where you are and how to get to your intended destination. Almost every newer vehicle comes equipped with some type of guidance system and even cell phones serve as a portable GPS, as long as you have service. Back in the old days we relied on a compass and maps, which to this day I still carry when in remote wilderness areas. As a matter of fact, I usually carry at least two compasses in case one gets broke or lost. Sure, there is a GPS stowed somewhere in my pack, even though I don’t trust them completely. Maps are like good friends. They help us find our location and tell us where to go, provided you know how to read them. But, like some friends, our relationship can be tested, especially when trying to fold them back up. Getting lost is never intentional, sometimes it just happens. It can also have less than desirable outcomes, whether in desolate regions or in populated areas like the south side of Chicago. Heck, there have been several times, when after dark, I have become completely turned around on my own familiar hunting grounds. We now live in the information age and the outdoors is no exception. There are more hunting, fishing and trapping magazines than ever before. It seems that almost anyone can become an expert after reading just a few articles. Throw in the hundreds of TV programs, websites and blogs and we traverse into information overload. And if it’s detailed in magazines, TV and blogs it has to be true, right? Lets not forget about the right equipment. There are volumes of catalogs where anything you could possibly desire can be shipped right to your door. Yes things have sure changed, maybe with the exception of getting lost. Another example is year’s back no one scored deer. Now, for some, it’s strictly a numbers game. It’s all about inches. Is that what really matters? Back in the day it was either a four pointer, eight pointer, etc. The real judge were the comments from friends and family. You knew you took a great deer when they would exclaim “now that’s a trophy!” If it was average they would say “nice deer.” But you also knew when you took something less than standard you would be met with “that will be good eating.” After getting partially lost in the dark timber of Alaska, Montana and even in life I’ve come to the conclusion the most important thing is who I get lost with. For the majority of my life I have enjoyed taking to the woods and water alone. There was no one to worry about but myself. But that has changed. The thought of hanging treestands or working on boats and trailers alone to me is a chore. But throw in a friend or two and I am all for it. The same goes with hunting and fishing. I am fortunate to get invited to hunt and fish many wonderful places. But now the only way I go depends on who can join me. Some of my most special accomplices are a handful of friends and my family. I know no matter what happens it will be fun. Now it’s not where I go, but who goes with me. I love hearing them recall special memories of past outings, good or bad. Seeing any of them encounter success means more to me than my own good fortune. I don’t even mind those early morning trips where I have to quickly roll the window down in the truck while one of them silently snickers. Out of the thousands of outdoor magazines, TV shows, websites and blogs I have not seen one targeting outdoor friendships. Maybe there should be. I have found the most important things in life aren’t the latest in clothing, electronic gadgets, guns or gear. Its relationships. Sooner or later equipment gets outdated and even trophies fade over time. Friendships on the other hand grow stronger. As long as we don’t get lost.