Last weekend I packed up a sleeping bag, a tent and with 3 of the other moms from the moms group I started and a friend from high school, I went out into the middle of the woods.
Ok, so technically we went to a local Outdoorsman’s club, not to the middle of the woods, but really, as much as I like camping, it’s not nearly as relaxing of a girls’ weekend if there isn’t plumbing.
We arrived Friday night, set up our tents and headed to the clubhouse for dinner. The club had cooked beef and asked that everyone bring a dish to pass, so there was quite the potluck spread. I brought homemade chocolate chip cookies, which I’ll be sure to share the recipe for in the next few days.
After dinner, we all headed back to our tents. Most of our group was pretty giddy about our night away from our darling (but exhausting) children, so we may have been that group. The one that is laughing just a bit too loud. But I’d rather be the ones having too much fun than the ones who aren’t having any at all!
Once the sun went down, there was a large bonfire, and we sat around talking and laughing, having a grand old time. At some point during the night, we took a night hike (no flashlights allowed) and learned how to make owl calls. Again…with all the cackling about how with no flashlights we were going to wander off into the woods and not be found til morning, it’s no surprise the owls didn’t call back.
In the morning, after a breakfast together in the clubhouse, it was time to set off for classes. We’d all chosen slightly different things, so while we shared a few classes, our group was broken up for most of Saturday. Apparently if we’d have had the foresight to include a note in our applications we could have gotten clumped together more. Oh well.
My first class was falconry. I learned a lot about the sport, including the rather astounding fact that most falconers catch all their birds from the wild. You don’t buy a bird…you go out and you hope to see one that’s the appropriate age (you can only trap birds that are, more or less, teenagers) and then you hope you can catch it. Sheesh.
Because the birds were currently molting, we didn’t see them hunt, but I was able to hold several of them. The bird above is called a Harris hawk and it’s a little out of its element up here in Michigan. It is a bird that’s indigenous to the southwestern part of the US. I was also able to hold a red tailed hawk and a kestrel, which is very possibly the cutest little killer bird you could ever imagine. I don’t want to entirely swamp this post with pictures of me holding raptors, but if you’d like to see more of them, just click over to the FB page and I’ll have them up there. It was an incredibly cool experience.
After our first class, we had lunch as a group and then were off to our second classes. Several of the other moms had taken rifle or muzzle loader classes, but I went with a more tame “shooting” class with outdoor photography.
My final class (and the class that everyone in our group took at some point during the day) was archery. (Apologies for the quality, this was a picture taken by the camp that they gave me a print out of and it didn’t scan terribly clearly) My brother and I had owned a cheap recurve bow as kids, and I honestly don’t think I hit the target with it once. My main memory of that bow was getting fiberglass splinters from it. I didn’t have a whole lot of expectation that this was going to go much differently…but while I’m not about to call myself an expert marksman, I’m really glad I tried it, because it turns out I was doing, well, just about everything wrong. Turns out when you knock the arrow/draw the bow/aim correctly it’s a lot easier to hit what you’re aiming for! Also, for me at least, a compound bow was a much easier option than the traditional “Robin Hood” recurve style. Not as pretty, but that’s easy to forget when you actually hit the center of the target.
(Taken before we started shooting, btw)
Our classes wrapped up at around 5 and we all collapsed around the table for a last few snacks and to rehash the day before heading back to the “real” world.
We had an incredible time and have already decided we will be going again next year. Maybe next year I’ll even try out one of those guns…
If you are in the Southeastern Michigan area and think this sounds like fun, the information can be found in this link. That currently goes to THIS year’s event, but my understanding is that it is always the Friday and Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend. Let me know if you’ll be there, or just stop by the mob of “Moms with
2 3 year olds” next year and say hi!