By now the kids are all ready for back to school with fresh pencils and notebooks, shoes and backpacks. They are eagerly waiting to start learning new skills and making new friends. And why should we, as adult women, be left out of the fun? Eagle Bluff ELC near Lanesboro and MN Becoming Outdoors Woman (BOW) are hosting the Discover BOW Weekend September 11-13. It’s an opportunity to “go back to class” to learn new outdoor skills and make new friends.
Taking advantage of the beautiful southeast Minnesota location, the BOW weekend has everything from exploring the Root River via canoe, kayak, or with a fly rod to hiking and orienteering through Eagle Bluff’s extensive property, learning about the flora and fauna of the region. Other classes include archery and a mock 3-D hunt, upland bird hunting or fire arm safety skills. There’s a bicycle ride along the Root River trail out of Lanesboro, or for those who need more adrenaline, a high ropes challenge. Classes are limited to 12 persons or less with lots of hands-on, step-by-step instruction from experienced outdoors enthusiasts, most of whom are women.
I attended one Minnesota’s first BOW weekends nearly 15 years ago at Gunflint Lodge and have been hooked ever since. It was so empowering to spend the weekend with a group of women learning how to load and shoot a firearm and how to tie on my own lure. There were lots of beginner’s mistakes, but there was also lots of help and tons of laughter. I now understood the easy camaraderie of the hunt camp and I wanted more of it for myself. Progressing from a participant to instructor, I’ve learned new skills like pheasant hunting, polished old, like fishing, and most importantly, made many wonderful new outdoor friends.
My increasing comfort and confidence outdoors has naturally passed on to my daughter, who is becoming quite the outdoor girl herself. She’s anxiously counting the years until she’ll be old enough to participate in my “girls only” Canadian fishing trip and our hunting trips, many of which have more women than men.
Doctors and scientists say that we should continue to learn new skills throughout our lives to keep our brains healthy. Lifelong learning doesn’t need to just come from books and the classroom. Plus, homework never entailed a beautiful walk through a fall woods or an afternoon on the water with a bucket of minnows and rod. And best of all – practice makes perfect!
(It’s not too late to register for the fall BOW workshop at Eagle Bluff. Download a brochure at www.dnr.state.mn.us/education/bow/index.html or call 1-888-800-9958.)
While I love flowers and manicures as much as the next mom, below are a few items that I’d love to receive this Mother’s Day and I’m betting may some other outdoor moms wouldn’t mind getting, too.
For just $25, this is the gift that last until next Mother’s Day. Vehicle permits are good for a full year from the month of purchase and give access to a whole roster of outdoor activities and fun at Minnesota’s 72 state parks and recreation areas. Annual permits can be purchased at state parks, the DNR License Center, REI metro locations or by calling the DNR information center at 1-888-MINNDNR. The family vehicle needs one of these pronto!
You would think after all my years of fishing; I’d have a good pair of non-slip, waterproof shoes. With my Canadian fishing trip coming up later this summer, I’d love to get a pair of Keen Waterfront sandals. I love their closed toe design, lug soles and quick dry features. Plus they look good après fishing, too! Nokomis Shoes in South Minneapolis and Crystal carry a nice selection and their personal service is some of the best in the metro.
I met Brian Brosdahl while working in the outdoor field and his panfish prowess is legendary. Time spent with a guide is always money well spent – not only will you learn tips and tricks, you’ll usually bring home a limit of fish. Bro guides around the Walker and Bemidji area and you’ll have a trip filled with fast action. Just be prepared to sign a blood oath not to tell what lake you were on.
I never go fishing with out a sweatshirt or jacket close at hand for those early mornings or windy days. I’ve always loved Rapala’s classic logo and their witty advertising slogans like “cast it out – fish bring it back.” I’ll take anything from Rapalagear.com – I especially like the soft green classic sweatshirt.
As a mom so much of our outdoor time is spent watching over and taking care of our families, that we don’t get work on our own skills. A weekend workshop or Beyond BOW event is a way to try out a new activity or improve skills in a fun, supportive atmosphere. The fall weekend workshop is September 11-13 at Eagle Bluff in Lanesboro. Or register mom for one of these upcoming Beyond BOW events. June 27-28 is the Women’s Fishing weekend at the Baker Near Wilderness Settlement in the west metro and Introduction to Fly Fishing at Glendalough State Park is on June 13th.
No matter what my family gives me for Mother’s Day, the best days are ones spent together creating memories. One of my favorites is an early summer fishing trip where we spent the afternoon sight fishing for sunnies and going through a whole package for red licorice as bait!
To all of the outdoor mom’s out there – I wish you a happy day today and all of the days you spend afield with your family!