What draws me into the untamed and unforgiving depths of Alaska is much more than a general interest, a hobby, or even a lifestyle. I believe this state has the power to pull on a man’s soul which is well beyond sub conscious leaving one with no choice but to, ‘Go.’ Most can handle this and will thrive in the outdoors but others cannot, others like Timothy Treadwell and Christopher McCandless who both perished when passion turned into obsession.
Early in my marriage I tried explaining Alaska’s influence on me to my wife and all it got me was yelled at for loving Alaska more than her, which simply isn’t true. I cannot love her anymore, I can only love her better. In almost 8 years of marriage I’ve had to learn to balance it all, matching the “Call of the wild” with the “Love of my life” pound for pound(lucky for me she‘s pretty light)! It certainly didn’t start off pound for pound in the beginning and I’m not sure that it is right now either but like I said, “cannot love her more, only better”, meaning that I am a work in progress. For an outdoorsman caught in Alaska’s grip, keeping the balance in the wife’s favor isn’t so easy, here’s why.
November 1, trapping season opens and I’ll be involved heavily with this every weekend and some full weeks until mid March running almost 2000 miles in those 4 months. That doesn’t include any skinning that needs to be done during the week. Big thanks to my brother who skinned everything but 1 wolf for the 2013/2014 season.
April 15 black bear baiting begins and won’t end until June 30, this takes up most weekends and occasional all nighters after work.
In May we’ve got beaver hunting across the river.
July is pretty mellow, just some exploring to take care of before August when sheep and caribou opens.
In September moose hunting comes around and that will use up about a week for the hunt and another week caring for meat.
More exploring and maybe a bear hunt in October then back to trapping in November. It’s a relentless cycle, almost as relentless as my wife reminding me, “family first. ” That’s right, there’s 3 daughters in the mix ages 10, 5, and 2!
I always perceived her not wanting me to go as her trying to control me and tell me what I can and cant do, I think most guys do. Look at it this way though, she loves you so much she just wants to be with you all the time and cant stand you to be gone out in the dangerous wilds. It took 6 years to learn that my wife was feeling this way, it took 6 because I’m not a mind reader and women don’t always verbalize exactly how their feeling. Their thoughts are that if we loved them enough we would already know how they are feeling! This is part of ‘loving her better’. Instead of dreading going out and preparing yourself for the big argument you get into every time before you leave, be positive and start building her up with, well, love mixed with a little comfort, confidence, and reassurance that you’ll be home as quick as you can with another years worth of meat. If your hunting moose that is, you might have to go on a couple more deer hunts to fill the freezer! Any way, your children are going to see your actions, in my case my daughters will know that a real man builds his wife up in every situation and they will look for a man one day that does the same thing. And your sons if you got em will know that a man treats his wife in this way, very lovingly and patient.
Lastly, consider this. Are you and your spouse the exact same people you fell in love with all those years ago? Possible I guess but not likely. My wife and I knew each other in the first grade, we were not in love then of course but it’s amazing how much we’ve changed as individuals from then to high school, to being young adults, to marrying each other, to 8 years of marriage! You have to fall in love over and over and over again because we are always changing and for me at least it requires a continuous and conscious effort to keep the marriage, the family, and the household all in check.
So Outdoorsman, don’t stop going, it’s a call to your soul that can’t be ignored, just learn to ‘love her better’ in the time you have at home and I believe the meeting will happen in the middle as it did with me! Good luck.