This post is dedicated to Andrew Ford. Rest in peace my friend.
In this version of hunting mishaps we are going back to high school with a group of goobers who wanted to go on a bowfishing trip without any "mature" adult supervision. The end result was nothing short of comical.
With graduation looming and the four of us excited to move on to college and learn how to "adult" on our own for the first time my good friends Jake Runyan, Orrin Seidel, and Andrew Ford decided it would be a good idea to go on an all day adventure to the backwaters of Merritt reservoir and shoot carp with our bows.
We planned a day and decided we would leave a couple hours before light on a Saturday and make the roughly 2 hour trek from Ainsworth Nebraska to the back side of Merritt.
With permission from our parents and excitement running high we soon had one thing hindering us from making this trip happen.
None of us had a big enough or reliable enough vehicle to make it out there...at this point we should've decided to go to one of our closer backwater spots we frequently shot carp at.
But no! We would prevail somehow!
Finally our answer came when Andrew fibbed to his parents telling them we were going to the dam at Merritt so there would be no problem getting there in there mini van. In reality we had to drive for miles and miles through pastures on a two trail road to get where we wanted to go.
(We were not the brightest crayons in the box)
They agreed and we were set!
We awoke the next morning to a windy drizzly wet morning (once again we should've decided against it) "I bet it'll clear off" one of us said so we were off down the highway! We arrived at Merritt right around sunrise...or what should've been sunrise. It was a foggy,rainy, windy cold mess.
Onward we went!
Finally, we arrived at the trail head! The two track trail started off by going straight up a sandy hill and turned into pasture after that. We stopped at the base of the hill and sat there in silence.
In the back of our minds I think everyone knew this looked pretty grim but nothing was said for quite awhile. After a bit of silence someone (I don't remember who) broke it by saying we can't make this in a minivan.
I would like to think it wasn't but I'm pretty sure that was the first time it hit us that we couldn't make this trek in a 2wd minivan.
After someone had mentioned that the next thing we heard was Andrew scream at the top of his lungs "yeeee haw" at the same time he laid on the horn and stomped the gas pedal to the floor.
The van took off in a flash and here we went......about 20 yards before the van bogged down in the sand and we were buried.
With his hand still slammed on the horn and a look of pure determination on his face Andrew continued to look straight ahead, the van not moving and all of us watching him until the horn literally quit working.
He then put it in park turned to look at us and we all started laughing our fool heads off.
After about an hour of digging and laughing we got the minivan dug out and back main road.
Not to be defeated We decided we would walk coves and the dam to shoot some fish even though it was maybe 45 degrees and the rain was drizzling down with the wind whipping.
After a couple hours of trying and not seeing a single fish, feeling defeated we called it a day and headed back to town to get breakfast We were home by noon, soaking wet, the van a mess with a broken horn, and wiser in the ways of off road vehicle necessities.
To this day it is one of the most treasured memories I have because it was one of the last bowfishing trips we got to take with Andrew.
He passed away a few years later and we all miss him much.
So in closing no matter how bleak a trip may seem, no matter the weather, if there is a chance for you to get out and experience the outdoors with your family or friends, go for it!! The memories made wil last a lifetime! Just remember to bring an off-road approved vehicle!
The Lighter Side of the Arrow