For a good many years we hunted elk in the Tom Miner Basin, just north of Yellowstone National Park. We bought access through a ranch that covered many sections. The hunting was great until the ranch was sold to a lady from California who didnâ€™t like hunters or hunting. This essentially turned the ranch into a game preserve. As soon as the bow hunters hit the public Forest Service in September the elk drifted down to the ranch and munched grass in comfort and safety. With a good place to elk hunt so hard to find, we just quit going. Keith, (our oldest son) had made the trip several times. It was probably ten years later when he commented that he didnâ€™t realize how much fun he was having until we quit making that trip.
Memories are like that. But why is it only in retrospect when we recognize the-best-of-times. We tend to accept the present as common, ordinary, nothing special, and always going to be that way. The importance of what is currently happening generally escapes us completely because we are so caught up in the daily routine. It is sobering to look back and remember seemingly insignificant decisions made at the time that have made such a dramatic difference in our lives. Itâ€™s a desired talent to be able to realize when the good times are happening – to savor the moment and enjoy the special flavor of the present.
Some of the best family memories certainly include snowmobiling. As mature adults with semi-grown children our kids can be heard talking about their experiences with snowmobiling. Memories include trips to West Yellowstone – our group from Mpls, Alexandria, Canada & Oregon taking the whole bottom floor of the Executive Inn and having a blast for a week. The year when it snowed 7 feet in 7 days. Of four sleds lining up in the deep snow and pushing a huge mound of snow down hill ahead of them – the two outside guys pulling off and leaving the two middle guys stuck That same year a group of Arctic Cat dealers couldnâ€™t stand being holed up in their motel any longer and went for a ride in the heavy snow, lost their way, and had to be rescued. Of hearing the roar of a snowmobile in the hall, opening the door to see what was going on and finding a Ski-Doo in the room across the hall ready to enter the hall (and maybe our room if we didnâ€™t slam the door) to leave the building. Of a four year old grandson getting a Kitty Kat for Christmas that will soon be handed down one more generation. When reminiscing such as this gets started they all want to make their favorite contributions.
Did we then realize at the time we were having so much fun? For sure. Snowmobiling does that to you. But, did we think at the time about this too being just a memory ? Probably not. Ah, but such memories.
Memories are O.K., but we donâ€™t want the â€œgood olâ€™ daysâ€ to be what we remember about the present. This is not just about the past and now. What about the future? Snowmobilers are a very special group with a unique attitude and approach to the way they want to live their lives. No question about their intelligence. But are they tuned in enough recognize, conquer and avoid the obstacles which may lie ahead ? Are snowmobilers going to be cut off from their favorite form of recreation with closed access like hunters are in the west ?
Does it have to be years down the road that we realize how much fun we had snowmobiling when it only exists in our memories?