Birding trails, camping, hiking, bike trails and the list goes on for people searching for something to do in the great outdoors. The first Thanksgiving was outside and a majority of the meats served were wild game. The Indians and Pilgrims both understood what the outdoors offered and they were thankful.
Here in Alabama we have an abundance of outdoor bounty in which to be thankful. Not just thankful for this week, but every day. We have so much to see and do throughout our great state we often take it for granted. Do we ever really stop and look around at all Alabama has to offer to the outdoor enthusiast?
In no particular order here are some things I am thankful for. Space does not permit my entire list, but here’s a start.
I am thankful for a long deer season and to live close enough to some counties for two turkey seasons. We have a tremendous population of both, and we can thank the conservation folks.
I am also thankful for the great variety of fishing in our lakes and rivers. From Guntersville to Eufaula and all in between, there is a species of fish to catch year round. And I cannot forget the saltwater fishing opportunities along the Gulf Coast.
I am thankful for a dad and an uncle who took the time to teach me about the outdoors. The fishing trips, tying knots, rigging hooks and selecting the right lure. I can’t leave out the hunting excursions. Learning how to aim a rifle with iron sights, spotting squirrels in a Popular tree and walking up a covey of quail.
I am thankful for the seasons, of cold winter mornings in the woods and hot summer afternoons on a lake. I am thankful for the fiery red sunsets and sunrises of orange glow.
For the gobble of the tom turkey on a still spring morn and the splashing sound of a bass slurping a topwater lure, I pause to give thanks. I am thankful for the sound of crunching leaves of a buck approaching and the soft bark of a grey squirrel high in a pine.
I am thankful I live in a state where the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources tries to bring the outdoors to each person in many different ways. We may not always agree with their changes and policies, but they try to serve everyone. And they do it with a limited budget.
I am thankful for the warmth of a campfire and the stars twinkling overhead. The smell of bacon frying in a pan and the taste of almost cooked eggs. I am thankful for the gentle breeze rustling the golden leaves of a mighty oak.
I am thankful for faithful readers who have followed me over the years down different trails no matter what subject I stuck out there. And I am thankful for my wife, whose understanding endorses my passion to get outside.
And I am thankful to God to live in a nation where I, along with others have the freedom to follow our dreams, our passions and our desires to be outdoors.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving.
Charles Johnson is the Star’s outdoors editor. You can reach Charles at ChrJohn7@aol.com