Old Story Still True

We often know a person (we think) through their writing. Like many, I probably disclose myself in small measured doses through my writing as most of us reveal without even knowing it. I had forgot about this old post. Jack Flacco of https://lookingtogod.org/ pointed me back to a lot of memories from an old post and possibly some deficiencies which would need disclosure if you were ever thinking of, going with me into the wilderness.

This is a repost of…Adventure and Fear: The Hunt and Haunt. The original comments are worth noting…I do miss Ron and his comments.

Confessions of an adrenaline junkie

I have this….um; weakness, bent, brash drive and pure happenstance existence to dive into the unknown. At least it’s unknown to me and usually those (un)lucky enough to be along. Consider these true and unembellished snippets.

A teenager and I rescued a drowning man about to hit a cascading rapids after seven inches of rain fell the night before. The very large man couldn’t swim, his canoe had rolled and we didn’t know if our canoe would sink in the roiling waters. (the teen screamed and yelled the whole time that we were crazy). We barely escaped with our lives. We had nightmares for a very long time. I was not afraid at the time.

Numerous times I have driven bear from our campsites in the BWCA including getting our food back from one in the middle of the night. The word crazy was the most spoken word the rest of the trip. I had nightmares for a long time. The “what if’s” haunted me. I was not afraid of this huge bear at the time.

BWCA 2011 June 1 084
                                                    55 feet is really high

I dove off rock cliffs 55′ high (swan dives only). I beat my record of a 9′ high dive into a pool. You guessed it. In my dreams I land on my back or break too soon underwater and break my back. We were 17 portages and 30 miles into the wilderness. I was not afraid to Jump over the lone tree below the cliff to get to the deep water at the time.

Steep Rocks
A really tough portage over the rocks and thru the woods

I have led groups through harsh woods with no trail looking for the ultimate lake very few humans have ever seen, much less fished. Anyone wearing shorts will never do so again. I have a nephew who put on his rain pants for protection. He ended up shredding his pants so bad he looked like a giant bass lure with a rubber skirt.

I have led winter trips into the wilderness on snowshoes and skis. One time we tried to find a trout lake through the woods by moonlight. We weren’t lost, just a little off as our compasses read different directions from the large amount of iron ore in the rocks around us. We found the lake the next day. It was a wonderful stroll through waist deep snow below zero by moonlight until panic came over a couple guys.  We tramped the snow with the snowshoes, made a fire, a meal and slept under the stars in the snow. It was really great! I do not ever remember being afraid.

The coldest time was with a group of teenagers at -38 (F). It warmed to zero before we came out with no lives lost. Good times! I have stories and dreams on this one also.

Funny story at -30 (f) below zero in the wilderness: Someone brought tin cups to drink out of. Our lips froze to the edge of the cup with steaming hot drink in it. above the liquid line was frost. Below was very hot steam. We had to tip up the cup gently to thaw out our lips off the cup to drink. It was a learning curve to live with half frozen burnt lips. OK, not so funny at the time. But, I was not afraid.

“Would you help me lead a group into the wilderness?” I asked my boss (this was after another harrowing incident). His answer took me back. “Do I look like I want to die? crazy things always happen wherever you go”. He was right.

Day Trip
Yes, the water disappeared and we had to bushwhack another 3/4 mile through a bog and a burnt off area this trip. We found the lake! Another person vowed to never wear shorts again. 

What is it about adventure,  risk taking or just being me? My oldest daughter takes after me. When she got married in college she joined a roofing crew while her husband waited tables at a nice restaurant. The other day she texts my wife “I broke my leg in a couple places” My wife messaged back what any normal mom would, “which one?” Daughter: “the other one”.  Is it really a family thing? Is this genetic?

Yes, there have been accidents. Several emergency life threatening incidents. In 1999 my wife and I were with three other couples when the 100mph straight line winds hit. With huge trees snapping off 20-30 feet  around us and the tops blowing fifty plus feet before hitting the ground, we were at the mercy of God. Literally. We were there on horseshoe lake eating lunch and in less than a minutes time hugging small cedars and wondering if we would survive. But I was not afraid. The stories on our lake alone are harrowing. See more here.

No one seems to mention that the lightning storm that night was probably more dangerous with strikes averaging one per second, sometimes several per second and short lulls in between. This was an all night storm and extremely dangerous. We laid on ground pads, life jackets and all our clothes to keep us from electricity traveling through the ground hunting us. I knew real fear for the first time.

Several trips passed and a buddy and I launched our canoe to tackle high waves. They were much higher than we thought. We made it around the bend in front of high rock cliffs and tipped into icy waters (Ice off a few days before). The waves washed us clinging to our packs and canoe against the rock face. They crashed us against the rock face up almost 10 feet and down again being battered by the canoe. We worked our way around the face shoving off with our feet and were helped by the rest of the group up to safety.

We lost expensive gear, glasses and much body heat. If we had made it further into the lake we would not have survived. Again I knew fear, but not so much from the waves or the cold. I did not know that a person could drown with their life jacket on and their head above water. Every breath we took was full of wind blown water droplets collecting in our lungs. It did not take us long to realize this would kill us in a short period of time given the conditions. Of all the dreams that haunt me, this is the big one. It’s bigger than the time my brother and I put a pickup through the winter ice on a river…(another story, another time).

Maybe fear is healthy, but it is also haunting. Fear stalks when there is a lull in the action. In my case I need fear. I now have it but didn’t like the way it came. It is ironic that I have the most fear at a time when I am most competent to lead wilderness trips.

I will not try to conquer fear but rather harness it for wisdom sake. I am way more careful, alert to potential danger, knowledgeable of dangerous situations and better at calculating risk and knowing what the worst possible outcome could be. I like to think I am older and wiser (no one has come forward to confirm or deny this yet). I do have some advice out of this. We have talked about this around the camp fire!

My younger self with the white water teen group. Oh to be young again…The fun and the serious talks need to happen. They will. Great times! Teen furthest back, “Water Rescue Hero” future army ranger, all history now.

1) Don’t let fear stop an adventure. Let common sense do it.

2) Listen to advice from the group before jumping. You may not know your limitations.

3) become aware of your surroundings, animal signs, weather, food usage, anyone limping or complaining of something wrong (headache is possible dehydration or sunburnt eyes from water glare).

4) Never lead a group alone. Have another competent person along who can lead.

5) Be aware of group dynamics and know how to influence them for the better. If you can’t do this you should not be the leader of a group.

6) Learn to be the servant of the group. You cook great food (they should cook as well), You set the bar on cleanliness and obeying the environmental rules. Respect, model respect and you are then qualified to teach respect for each other and the environment.

7) Don’t take life and death risks unless saving someone. Be willing to die trying or give out a disclaimer beforehand that you won’t.

8) Be ready to stand before God if you do die. Think of it as the ultimate preparation. It’s actually not a “just in case” deal as we will all die sometime. Just saying, be ready for anything…including fear for the first time.

Be careful out there. Don’t do what I did. Learn from me what not to do! Now I just have calm and safe trips…(“ya right”..I heard that!)

Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding”.

Sleeping on the lake in a quinzhee at -30 (f)

Gary

Published by Gary Fultz

Outdoors Man, Hunter, Fisherman, Guide, Writer / Author, Photographer, Public Speaker, Musician, Song Writer, Story Teller, Follower Of Jesus. Love God and family and total strangers

76 thoughts on “Old Story Still True

  1. You can do both. Because you live for the Lord, the Lord is in your story which makes it His story, and because of that others, including future generations, can be blessed. You need to make a record. Your impressive adventures and the spiritual undercurrent thereof will thus live on and inspire others. If you haven’t tried this, I suggest you start with oral recordings, using whatever portable device. Then transcribe them. More will come to you in the process.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks Deb. You are piling on with a few others on the book thing. I think I will finish my writers / personal retreat cabin first, maybe wait for winter (the fish are biting), maybe when I get old (er).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well, you are the wise(r) one. When I got sick I felt an urgency, when I got well I felt a responsibility. Now I place it in God’s hands. I was encouraged by a writer who said a book is not a precipice, it is only a stop along the way. Sometimes I feel it will never be finished while I’m on earth, but then neither are we! My pastor says when we get to heaven there will be no sermons, only people telling their stories. Everyone will be sharing their testimonies about what Jesus did for them in their lives (and some will be saying how we got the story all wrong.) 🤣Now I feel neither urgency or responsibility to write another book. It’s only according to God’s Will, in God’s time. And that is so freeing! (Does this count for the comment?) 😄

        Liked by 2 people

      3. It counts a lot Deb. Thanks. Great insight there. I’m in the middle of trying to move another mountain right now. God seems to be saying “relax and wait for me” Obviously I can’t move one without him. I’m the 5 year old thinking I’m driving by touching the steering wheel.

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      4. I loved being five! That’s when I learned how to ride a bike! But that’s another story. In the meantime, yes, I think He says that constantly to all of us.
        The patience of God is unimaginable. But God…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You and Nathan are very similar. Your wife has my deepest respect!!!! The part with the tin cups I read the bold heading and said, “oooohhhh” Nathan said, “what?!” I read your line and he laughed. Right now Nathan’s making a basket from our weeping willow he trimmed. Nathan says the only time the hair on the back of his neck stood up was when a lone wolf ran into a pack of wolves. Nathan says he would adventure with you!!!

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    1. That would be fun Mandy. Nate sounds like he could handle most if not all situations and enjoy roughing it for the adventure. I have only heard wolves fighting near a remote camp, didn’t get to see them. I was just fine with them staying a ways away and that was hair raising enough.
      I hope all is well with you these busy days. I have the roof, door on and windows in the cabin. It’s mosquito proof now. Still a ways to go.

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    1. I looked around the dinner table at my sons 3 boys and comment “wow, you kids take after your grandmother with all the crazy stuff you do. They all conspire to point at me. Ya, you know about these things Fred.

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    1. Thanks David. I have learned to try to act like a mild mannered easy going “well ok you talked me into an adventure” guy. Why people thought I was the guy who would be “most likely” the one to sneak fish mounts on the wall of the church foyer is beyond me.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, still around Cindy. My wife tells me that she has planned my funeral many times through the years. I have yet to see a rough draft for approval though. The Fultz wives club (5 of them), are a hardy bunch. You have my oldest daughter in your town, she has her stories as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. God has preserved you through a lot! I wonder what Heaven looked like while these stories were unfolding. Think God was on His feet directing the guardian angels like we see military commanders during intense missions? Or do you think He sat, amused on His throne, thinking He made a pleasing son who brings Him joy? I tend to think the latter.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kathy, you would enjoy campsites on the edge of the wilderness when it’s a mild bug season. That’s ok. Day trips into the wilderness by canoe can be very great as well. Some people think they are roughing it walking to the end of the hall for ice. Yes, I suspect we are different but I detect a lot of grit in your writing sometimes.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for sharing your adventures and your awesome photographs! Good tips for those heading out into the wilderness. A leader of the group has a lot to think about, and it is a very good idea to have another capable leader along with you. Very good, in fact, in the event of an emergency. Group dynamics are so important on trips such as these; a team effort means everything.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You are so right Linda. I had a potentially dangerous accident in the first few years of leading wilderness trips and had to evacuate a teenager. Extensive surgery was needed. Quite a story. The short side was I never led another group without someone in the group competent to lead the group out safely. almost every group learns to be a team and rely on each other. It’s a joy to watch it happen but it’s usually painful to get them there…I tend to over-do things sometimes.. Many have voiced “I hate you” and a few days later “I love you”. We are over-emotional beings sometimes.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Emotions do run high at times. Learning curves for all of us. How wonderful that the passing days in the wilderness brought terms of endearment! So many lessons learned. It takes time to trust another person, especially when in a new environment. (A wilderness environment would demand all that much more trust.)

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Some resent the “forced to trust” setting. I keep the map and the food and it bothers some who didn’t know they have control issues. Teens will often ask “what time is it?” as such a small thing as knowing the time is a part of feeling in control (I had them leave their watches in the van). I would also decide where and when to camp with their input. people learn some good negotiating skills that way.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Gary you are a living testimony of Psalm 39:5 – “You hem me in behind and before, and You lay Your hand upon me.” As much as I love the outdoors, my cautious self much prefers sitting around a campfire and hearing others tell their adventure stories rather than experiencing it for myself. So keep on adventuring Gary and sharing your stories for non risk takers like me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Beth. You enjoy nature and animals and dogs. Your insights from just observing are so great.
      you probably calculate risk much different than me, If I think I can do something I have never done before, I walk my way through it and then try it. I have to see a path for success. sometimes it takes me half a second to decide as in the “raging water rescue” I wrote about awhile back (I see you read it). That calculation was very high risk.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Gary!
    I wanted to comment something considering the intrepid adventures you described, but while reading the second time through my eyes glazed over and my mind froze. Such intensity compacted into a relatively short blog post!
    But the one fact that leveled the field of intensity was “But God…!” He brought you through it all and that same faithfulness will see you through to the very end. And I admire your thirst for exploration and adventure, rather than simple recreation. Praise God! You made it through all that, how can you not stroll easily through that last door when He beckons to you.
    To God be the Glory!
    Now complete the marching forth by writing that thousand-page book about “How to Survive Your Adventures in Exploration by taking that Third Guide along for Assurance.”

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Have you considered writing a book about your adventures? It would make for a very good read!!! I have such admiration for people who are adventurous (probably because I’m one of the least adventurous people you’d ever meet). I mean, I cried all night one time when I was camping at age 9 because of the mosquitos buzzing in my ears. LOL Seriously though, I enjoy reading your stories. So many would also make for a good movie!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have Stephanie and I hope to write a book. The tension now is between living out more adventures with my time rather than writing about them. In this comment section RJ suggested I can do both, Ted said get writing and GW piled on. Argh. Thanks for your input on this, I am taking it seriously.
      Meanwhile I’m building a small cabin in the woods that may be the perfect setting for writing when it’s complete. Originally off grid but now equipped with wi-fi and electricity. Next I should write about “Pressure”

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I don’t know if I’m supposed to feel that I need to be a bit more cautious, or feel like I need to take more risk(s). Right now after reading this… I feel BOTH!

    Perhaps the answer is more cautious adventures? Is that a thing? Might have to make it a thing.

    Have a great weekend, Gary. -AJ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The answer is Yes AJ.
      Just make sure your wife and kids have a dad in one piece. “A mans gotta know his limitations” (Clint Eastwood). I would add, “wisdom” should be used liberally, often and matched with realistic awareness. The question “what can go wrong” should be followed up with “how can I make sure it doesn’t go wrong”…then jump

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I kind of understand that Donna. My wife is saving her money to do just that Donna and I tell her I’m not interested.. We are all so different in how we are wired. God takes delight in that I’m sure of it. Ironically I have some fear of heights, so I started a roofing business in my younger years. When I was quite young I was afraid of the dark. One night I got up and took a walk in the woods with no flashlight. I guess I dare myself to conquer fears.

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  9. Okay it’s an obvious fact that each of us are gonna have a funeral one day. I couldn’t help but think about how often times at funerals they share funny stories over the life of the deceased….Your family and friends are gonna need like a week long “celebration of life” to cover all of the stories and their sweet and adventurous memories of or with you!!! Goodness!! God has blessed you richly through your appreciation of people and nature! Good stuff!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, that’s funny Alicia. Out of 7 of us siblings, I’m one of the tame ones. We are still coming up with stories of my dad and it’s been 2 1/2 years. I wrote a song 20 years ago that gives perspective. I sang it for my uncles memorial service..
      There’s a place where the streets are all gold
      There’s a place where we will never get old
      Oh, There’s a place where all our stories are told
      I’m gonna be there…(and it continues…written with “soul music”)

      How sad for those whose stories will never be told, never continue in eternity. Lost forever.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. ❤️❤️❤️You must come by your positive character naturally from your dad!!
        I love the words to the song you wrote, that’s so good!!! And I can feel the “soul music” tone to those words!
        We certainly have lots of praying we can do daily for those who don’t yet know Christ as Lord and Savior.🙏

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Both my parents were a great influence for me. Very fortunate. Ya, a song with a “moan” to it. Uncle was a “death bed’ conversion. Short story in heaven,. at least the part where God was involved in his life.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jim. I try not to be subtle about the important things of life. Most were learned the hard way in my case. I try not to make the Gospel seem like an add-on to life. It is life. When one does a high dive, there is no turning back once they jump…however, the commitment to do that should be made before standing on the rock to jump, otherwise really bad tings can happen. Half hearted jumps always end up badly. Jesus had some very harsh things to say about that.
      When I worked with teens, they needed to experience physically what I was trying to teach them spiritually. Thankfully I came up with tamer and safer ways to teach the nature of commitment.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hey Gary,
    What I was thinking:
    is there something like a “healthy” amount or kind of fear? In reverence to GOD – like the fear of the LORD…?
    Something like “righteous anger”?
    A fear we actually ARE supposed to feel…?
    Is it perhaps that we are supposed to honor the gift of life GOD gave us – and then there are times when we actually don’t…? Does HE take offense in that?
    Me, I sometimes don’t feel as grateful as I should, although I am not an “adrenaline junkie” I guess, however, sometimes I think I might be, as I, too have my adventures – little as life / work in prison can be very exciting – both in a good and in a bad way – and I missed it when I worked elsewhere… some people have “crazy” relationships or addictions or do “forbidden” things – perhaps we all need our adrenaline sometimes?

    However, if I had a choice, I would rather die in the middle of something I love doing and that gives me a “buzz” than to die too old and too ill to do anything for the last moments / days/ months or even years of my life after a very cautious and boring life.

    Just a thought.

    This post got me thinking…

    Thanks for the thought provoking stories!

    Glad nothing ever happened to you and we get to read about your adventures!!
    GOD bless you Gary.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. These are good questions Eva and would make healthy discussion. There are healthy and unhealthy fears for sure. There are needless fears (things way out of our control). I do believe that many of us risk-takers do more and get more done when we are fearless. That being said some of us live shorter lives and get hurt needlessly.
      Then there is the Lord who says “fear not” on things he is in control of. In essence ‘trust me”. all I know is when we give God control of our lives, trust and follow him, we have nothing to fear on things he is in control of. He still lets us make bad choices and experience the repercussions of those (one who can’t swim should not be diving off the rocks).
      Then there’s definitions and meanings of fear. Fearing God is trusting him. I suspect the divorce rate would be about zero if everyone could do that and live it out in real time in real life.

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    1. Very true Nancy. I have had little time for fear to be a part of my life Nancy. After all the crazy accidents I have had and almost losing a handicapped daughter several times, I look back and none of us in our household have much fear. I know we will all die and many events in life are dangerous but fear is a choice.
      Here’s my take on fear…
      If we fear God we fear not much else. If we do not fear God we tend to choose a lifestyle of fear by default. Covid was and is a great example of being ruled by fear as a society. It’s OK to live carefully but not fearfully.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Excellent writing, Gary! I enjoyed the read. I like adventures, I love the outdoors, but I definitely don’t run on fear.

    I’m not much of a risk taker, but I’m learning that there are acceptable risks that must be taken if you truly want to live an adventures life. It sounds like you’ve done a lot of living. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Tina. I have done a lot of living and intend to continue. We are Very blessed in that area. I have a wife and kids who approach life the same way. Life is sometimes brutal and hard between times of tip toing through the rose gardens laden with dew and sparkles from the early morning sun. I’m juggling life with a handicapped daughter in ICU as I write this. It’s life. It’s real and it’s hands on as well as knowing that the river of life God has given us runs very deep and it’s dark, fast and dangerous down there. We have no reason to fear when we let him take charge of what’s happening and going to happen. We have control over just remembering what and how things happen.

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  12. This is heartwarming! My dad loved adventure and I used to be afraid at times but he pushed me to get out of my comfort zone. I really resonate with this post and I thank you for sharing. I highlighted point 6: Learn to be the servant of the group. This is my takeaway. Very deep. God bless.

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    1. A really good takeaway Heather. It seems that the servant/leader of the group ends up being the most respected and helps others follow their leadership naturally rather than a forced leadership because of their title.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi. I’m kind of new. I commented on one other post. I really liked reading this and I learned a lot. I didn’t know someone could drown wearing a life jacket/head above water either. I’ll remember that. Love that you saved someone- even with the risks. My husband does that. He’s saved several people- just being at the right place. One time he and a friend were driving and saw a wrecked car. They got the person out moments before the car caught on fire. When it comes to saving someone, he has zero fear, just does it. And, then expects no glory. Just another day for him. Can’t believe it’s possible to get food back from a bear! That’s pretty incredible! Love the lessons at the end. They slip right into regular life as well. Will keep them in mind going forward. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like quite a great guy, your husband. Those are the kind that often take wilderness trips with me or lead their own. I’m terribly behind right now on my emails and social media comments. I stopped to help my neighbor get his car that quit on him (took most of the day). When I came back I was further behind than when my day started.
      Blogging is way easier when starting and not as many read your blog. It’s a good idea however to really connect with people and at the same time be careful not to get involved in circles that are really not “you”.
      I read those who offer things I don’t but am interested in learning. I also read, like and comment to connect. have fun being new, may it never get old.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That last like is great!! My art blog is new. Not many likes, but the quality of the people who do read, comment etc is wonderful. That makes sharing art really fun. Great advice about the ‘circles.’ I’ll keep that in mind. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I am unsure if I can explain this even by writing pages, but simply put, some people on earth pull in all the external fear and danger of a situation to act. They can bring “peace” to a situation fraught with danger through their actions. Good people to have around – we need more of them in the world today. You are one such person 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Randall. high praise as many just call me reckless. You put it well into words of someone I would like to be. you are a great photographer and I see you love the adventure that goes with it.

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