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Into The Outdoors: Getting Old

By Chris Henderson

Getting old. There was a time when that was just a distant future possibility. Not anymore. I just turned 75. Age, along with lingering effects of Covid, have made it impossible for me to do some of the things I once really enjoyed.

For example, for many years, Old Bub and I fished at Lock and Dam #9 on the Allegheny River. Nowadays, there is no way I could climb down that rock strewn bank and back up again. I would most certainly fall, and possibly suffer serious injury.

Then, there is trout fishing. Once again, clamoring along a brushy creek is a tough proposition. I have always had a troubling tendency to fall into the creek. Now, with my balance issues, an unexpected swim is almost a certainty.

For many, many years, one of my favorite ways to find solace was hunting squirrels alone. Now, I like to have someone with me, just in case.

I know that many others find themselves faced with the same set of circumstances. The situation leaves us with two options. The first one is to just sink into depression and self pity. Admittedly, it is tempting. The other option, which I chose, is to find alternate activities to replace the old ones.

When it comes to Lock and Dam # 9, I now fish from the fishing pier. It’s not as much fun, but it will do. I know of a couple of good panfish ponds, so I have replaced stream trout fishing with them. They provide lots of fun, plus some really good eating.

I have developed a keen interest in magnet fishing. You just stand along the shore, and toss your magnet into the water and then pull it in. You never know what you are going to pull in. I have never had what could be called a fabulous find, but I have found some neat things. I must emphasize that, if you have a pacemaker or other medical device, magnet fishing is not for you. The magnets are very powerful, and can disrupt the functioning of such devices. You can, however, still have a lot of fun with a grappling hook.

Last week, I mentioned a new hobby in which I am about to engage. That is crayfishing. Of course, those of us who live near a “crick” call the little critters crabs. Recently, I sent off for, and received, a crayfish trap. The design is rather ingenious, and I can’t wait to try it out. It came with a complete set of instructions, telling you how to set it up, as well as some good baits.

Some may be wondering why I would want to trap crayfish. For one thing, it is an easy outdoor activity in which to engage. Also, crayfish are delicious. I have bought and eaten them many times, as well as having them in restaurants. I have, however, never caught them myself and eaten them. I did a lot of research on the topic over the winter. It appears that all you have to do is boil them until they turn red. I still need to make sure of the regulations regarding them. I will let you know how the whole thing turns out.

Getting old certainly has its downside. Just remember that many are denied the privilege. Aging inevitably changes your life. Just do what you can, and enjoy the life you have left.

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