Bowfishing For Fun and Food

Nowadays, archery is still enjoyed extensively for recreational target shooting, competitive and tournament shooting, and hunting, as well as bowfishing. Archery bow fishing is a fun and interesting alternative to standard rod & reel fishing for bringing in the big ones, and not so big ones.

Among the species you can bowfish for would include Buffalo, Drum, Catfish, Carp, and Gar for freshwater, and Redfish, Flounder, Shark, Barracuda, and Sheepshead for saltwater. Also, Frog is a good candidate for bowfishing. If you haven’t tasted frog legs yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. You should always check with local authorities to be sure what the bowfishing regulations are.

Bowfishing is best done at close range between 5 and 15 feet for best success. However, depending on your expertise, you can try a longer shot. One thing to remember is that water bends light and a fish underwater is not quite where it looks. If you’re shooting from a point above the waterline, you should aim slightly below your intended target.

Traditional archery bows as well as compound bows and crossbows can be used for fishing by mounting a reel of sorts to your bow with an adaptor.

Among the different types of reels would be a “hand wrap reel” where you manually wrap the fishing line around a spool that includes a slot or catch for holding the line in place until you’re ready to shoot. With this type of reel, you’ll have to pull your fish in by the line, hand over hand. This would be the least expensive of the bowfishing reels and can be handmade.

Spincast reels are also popular for bowfishing in that you can reel your fish in and be ready to shoot again. You’ll want a spincast reel with a larger string mouth opening that will better facilitate the line peeling out when the arrow is shot.

Another reel would be a retriever reel which has a container to hold the line in place. This reel also has a crank to retrieve the line. This would be among the most expensive bowfishing reels and can be used for larger fish.

A fishing arrow usually has no fletchings and is of a strong material such as fiberglass, solid aluminum, or solid carbon composites that will withstand strenuous conditions. Hardwood arrows, such as oak or hickory, and bamboo can also be used. Longer arrows up to 34″, or even longer, are best. The fishing tip of the arrow should have a wide barb or hardened -V- wire for holding the fish on while retrieving and should be removable for ease in removing the arrow afterwards. Multiple prong tips are also used on fishing arrows.

A braided Dacron fishing line of at least 80 pound test would be best, although other lines can be used such as heavier monofilament, spectra, or braided nylon. It’s best to attach the line to a slide mechanism which is attached to the arrow rather than attaching the line directly and near the tip of the arrow. When the arrow is shot, the slide mechanism will slide up toward the rear of the arrow. This method is safer, and easier to retrieve your catch.

What is Food? What Does it Represent?

Well that’s a simple question to answer, huh? I can just go consult Google and get a dictionary definition, right?

any substance that can be metabolized by an organism to give energy and build tissue

Ok, that’s great. We can even expand that definition a bit by checking in with Wikipedia:(1)

Food is any substance, usually composed primarily of carbohydrates, fats, water and/or proteins, that can be eaten or drunk by an animal for nutrition or pleasure.

Now we’re getting somewhere! Ok, maybe not. In the strictest, dictionary definition of the word, any substance that provides energy is a food. By that definition, a Twinkie is food, though I doubt few here would agree, myself included. So what is food really?

Food, to me, is one of the most important elements of truly living, and I don’t mean that simply because it’s a requirement to keep from wasting away. Frankly, I love food. I don’t mean that in the “I love to eat” sense, though I do love to eat, but it’s deeper than the mere act of eating. I genuinely love food – the aromas, the textures, the flavors, the camaraderie. In fact, while I know that not everyone is a foodie, it amazes me that people can be so blase when it comes to what they put into their bodies. What you put into your body becomes your body.

Ok, so let’s go back to camaraderie. Or socializing. Call it what you will, but it is one of the most important aspects of eating. Humans have the distinct privilege of being the only animal that doesn’t simply eat, but “dines”. Dining is more than simply stuffing food down one’s gullet and moving on. Dining is a celebration of the experience of food. “Breaking bread” with other humans has been part of the human experience since time immortal. When a tribal hunting party brings home an animal, the hunter that killed the beast (or the person supplying the arrow depending on the culture) doles out the meat. Eating becomes a festival of sharing. Today, I feed you, for tomorrow, I may need you to feed me. Think of any gathering of family or friends. I bet nearly every time you gather with others for a good time, there is food involved. The act of cooking for someone else is an act of love and respect. To receive food cooked by another shows that they have concern for your well-being.

If you doubt me, think of people’s feelings toward those that hoard their food. Or people that refuse to eat other people’s food. The feelings attached to food and to the offering of food are why I will usually sacrifice my diet when someone puts in the effort to cook for me. If I go to my mom’s and she cooks spaghetti, I eat it. I may not always want to eat it, but the social aspect is more important than the food in that situation. Rejecting something that someone put the energy into making for you is generally taken as an insult if you don’t have an allergy to said food. It is not simply a rejection of the food, it is a rejection of the person.

Unfortunately, US culture places little emphasis on food. Largely, food is for nothing more than providing fuel. Few people here revel in food in the way that the French or Italians revel in food, as something more than some combination of carbohydrates, proteins, and fat. Perhaps I should say that the emphasis we do place on food is of the wrong kind. As a culture, we hate food. It’s merely something that is required to stay alive and even then we can’t agree on what foods to eat. We’ve let corporations determine “what is food” and seem to have forgotten the most elementary task of nourishing ourselves. The problem with that is that corporations have little concern for your well-being unless it somehow positively affects their bottom lines. Why let someone feed you that doesn’t care about you as a person?

The phrase “soul food” keeps coming into my head while writing this. Those two little words say a good deal. Think about it…”soul food.” Food for your soul. It’s more than mere nourishment. While most “soul food” isn’t the most healthful fare, it shows the emphasis on dining, sharing, and community that are put into the food. It’s something given from one to another to provide more than just energy. That’s food to me. To spend an hour or more of your time to cook for another is quite an expression. It both shows and adds to the value of a relationship.

To truly experience a culture, you absolutely have to experience its food. In college, I took a Spring Break trip to Cancun, Mexico. Off the top of my head, my meals were largely eaten at Outback Steakhouse, Hard Rock Cafe, Subway, McDonald’s, and whatever other US-based chains we came across. Obviously at age 20, I wasn’t there to experience the gastronomy of the region (let’s be frank, I was there to drink tequila and party). For my honeymoon, I went to Acapulco, Mexico and actually got out and ate at some of the local restaurants, truly experiencing Mexican cuisine. Both trips were great in their own way. But from the standpoint of cultural experience, Acapulco was much better, the fact that I was in Cancun largely being irrelevant other than the drinking age and the skin color of the workers. It wasn’t solely the food, but that is a major part of it.

Some may think that I’ve just turned the act of eating into something that it’s not. But it’s only been in the past half-century or so that food has taken on the role of mere fuel. It’s only since the industrial complex started doing the cooking for us that eating has been an “on the run” affair. When we’re too busy to properly nourish our bodies, times are bad for sure. Other cultures – for instance Mexico, Italy, and Argentina – place a very major emphasis on socializing during meals. Long lunches, multiple course dinners, elaborate dishes prepared lovingly by mom for hours, all shared with immediate and extended family and friends. June Cleaver never let a show end without making sure Wally and Beaver were well-fed. Food creates a family and a community.

While we don’t all have the pleasure of eating with others, you can still give your meals the attention they deserve by eating at a table, not watching TV, not surfing the Internet, perhaps not even reading a book. I’m guilty of doing other things while eating, though I am working on that. Food is, and should be, an experience. Take the time to savor every bite that you take. Take in the smells and colors and textures. Put time and effort into your food; the time you put into preparing good food for you and your family is effort you are putting into caring for yourself and others. Ensure that you’re cooking flavorful, high quality food so that it is something to get excited about. If you can’t cook, learn. If you don’t have the time, reprioritize. Why simply eat when you can dine? So with all of that, I’ll end by saying “Respect Your Food. Respect Yourself.”

Budget Backpacking to Arrow Lake in Glacier National Park

Arrow Lake is located in Glacier National Park. As your drive to Glacier you travel through rolling foothills only to suddenly see this geological wonder of huge mountains jutting out of the landscape. Known for its pristine forests, alpine lakes and meadows, rugged mountains, and diverse wildlife, Glacier is truly a unique place. I’ve known people who have traveled the world over and still say that it is their favorite outdoor place on earth. With over 700 miles of trails, mountains and lakes, Glacier is an adventurers paradise.

The trail to Arrow Lake begins to climb immediately at a moderate rate and continues to the top of the ridge (2.5 miles). There are only a few view spots where you can see Lake McDonald. At the top of the ridge there is a sign indicating an old fire lookout. The trail to this lookout is old and nearly gone.

The trail moves through a wide saddle and then drops steeply using switchbacks to the Camas Creek Valley. At a bit more than 3 miles the trail forks, going left to Rodger Lake and right to Trout, Arrow, Camas, Evangeline, and Ruger Lakes. Go right. An old campsite sits .25 miles up the trail along Trout Lake. There is a large logjam across Trout Lake that is useful for fishing. Bears cross on this logjam also. One of the first recorded kills of a visitor to the park by a bear happened at this spot. There is no longer a campsite at Trout Lake.

The main backcountry campsite is 3.5 miles up the trail at Arrow Lake. This is a small campground with a good food prep area; bear pole, privy and 2 hitching rails. The trail to the head of the lake requires a crossing of the stream at the foot of the lake. There are stepping stones, but they are slick and some are slightly submerged. The stream is only a foot deep at the crossing and feels good on tired feet.

The trail from Arrow Lake to Camas Lake is well maintained and provides spectacular views. There is a campsite at Camas Lake. The food prep area is very exposed to the wind off the Lake. Lake Evangeline and Ruger Lake are located farther up the valley and require much bushwhacking to reach. There are large damp meadows above Camas lake with a lot of elk and deer sign. There are a lot of exposed slopes in this valley and it is a damp location making it ideal for berry bushes. This also means that this is serious bear country.

For current regulations and directions see Park website:

Glacier National Park National Park Service
P.O. Box 128 West Glacier, MT 59936
(406) 888-7800
(406) 8887808 fax
http://www.nps.gov/glac/ website

Raw Foods That Put You in the Mood

Move over oysters and chocolate!

Did you know there are a ton of fruits and vegetables that have historically been touted to possess divine aphrodisiacal powers? It should come as no surprise as raw fruits and vegetables, with their varied shapes, textures, colors, and juices are, without a doubt, some of the most sensuous foods out there.

Can you imagine a more ecstatic food experience than biting into say, a perfectly ripe, succulent, juicy peach (or mango? or…insert-your-favorite-fruit)? One might even argue that all fruits and vegetables, in their heavenly, sensual, natural state have aphrodisiac qualities – after all, fruits are the sex organs of plants! Here I have listed some interesting and juicy tidbits about a few of these raw goodies – some you may already be familiar with, others may come as a surprise, followed by a couple sexy raw creations I’ve come up with that are sure to get your juices flowing!

1. Arugula (rocket) – in Ancient Roman times, arugula was consecrated to Priapus, a minor fertility god who was portrayed as having an enormous phallus. The Romans also used it in various love concoctions, as it was believed to be a potent stimulant. Either way, this spicy green is sure to heat things up!

2. Asparagus – Lauded for its aphrodisiacal properties, 19th Century grooms consumed 3 courses of asparagus, hoping to boost their sexual prowess.

3. Avocado – the name comes from the Aztec for “testical tree” since avocados hang in pairs, bearing resemblance to the male genitalia. Accordingly, Aztec women were not allowed out of the house during its harvest as it was thought to be a sexual stimulant. Rich in Folate, B6. C, E and certain phytochemicals, it has been theorized that these nutrients, in conjunction with compounds found in other foods may heighten feelings of love. I don’t know about that, but I do know that I’ve had an ongoing love affair with this rich, creamy, sinful treat for as long as I can remember….

4. Banana – Aside from its phallic shape and creamy texture, it contains the enzyme bromelain, which some studies have demonstrated improves male performance. The banana is also high in the B vitamins and potassium, which are necessary for the manufacture of sex hormones.

5. Basil – has long been thought to increase fertility and libido. The smell of basil, it has been said, is particularly exciting to men; women have even been known to scent their breasts with it in hopes of attracting a lover. Also reputed to increase circulation, thereby making it an effective male “enhancer”.

6. Black sesame – Traditionally used in Chinese Medicine to increase fertility. It is thought to purify the kidneys where the “essence” is held.

7. Celery – contains androsterone, a male hormone, which research has shown, is released in sweat to attract females. Celery has been used through the ages as a cure for impotence and is also rumored to increase the volume of male “emissions” when eaten in large quantities…hmmm.

8. Figs – Ancient Greeks engaged in orgiastic celebrations of new crops. Also, when split in half, figs are said to resemble female genitalia.

9. Maca – Very popular these days among raw foodists, studies have suggested this “superfood” tones and balances the hormones in men and women, increasing both fertility and sexual appetite. Try it and see for yourself!

10. Mango – The flower of the mango tree, according to myth, represents cupid’s arrow; its fruit, succulent breasts producing highly aphrodisiac nectar. The mango is taken all over SE Asia as a supplement to increase virility.

11. Pineapple – A homeopathic remedy for erectile dysfunction, pineapple is also purported to make sexual secretions taste sweeter.

12. Strawberries – According to myth, when Adonis died, Venus wept inconsolably and her tears, upon hitting the earth, transformed into heart-shaped strawberries. Another superstition has it that when you halve a strawberry and offer it up to a potential mate, he/she can’t help but fall in love with you. Moreover, due to its high malic acid content, strawberries are a natural tooth-whitener; eat them to make your mouth extra kissable!

13. Vanilla & Almond – Used in aromatherapy, as their scents have been shown to produce feelings of lust, particularly in women.

And now for those randy recipes:

Mojo Maca
1 Cup almond milk
1 Cup water
Vanilla beans, scraped from pod, to taste
2 Dates, stoned
1 Large, ripe, frozen Banana
1 Tbs. black sesame butter
2 Tbs. maca powder

Blend until creamy smooth, insert 2 straws and share with your paramour, like two giddy teenagers in a soda shop.

Rocket to Venus
2-3 handfuls Arugula
3 cups water
2 large, super-ripe mangos
1/2-1 Cup strawberries
1/2- Cup blueberries
1 large, ripe banana

Blend until smooth and let the flavors burst in your mouth. This is surprisingly delicious; even my son likes it, and believe me, ladies, he is already quite the Casanova!

As you can see, the aphrodisiac claims of food consist of a lot of folklore, a little (questionable) science, but a whole lotta fun…I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Bon appetit and bon amour!