The first day of a New Year means implementing those promises we have made to ourselves for new beginnings in the areas of our lives we feel we have been slacking.

“I’ll stop eating fatty fast food, stop drinking like a fish, stop worrying so much about the little things” and so on and so on. No doubt, these are all commendable resolutions, but let us get to the heart of the matter.

Sadly, many of these personal pacts will go to the wayside after the first week or maybe even the first day. Speaking from experience, it is difficult to break old habits. They tend to linger and nag like editors near deadline (no offense intended Margo and Heather).

So, to bring the column back to the lighter side of life, I have compiled a list of things one should NOT do while attempting to enjoy the outdoors. They are true-to-life occurrences and offer wise lessons that may inspire practical resolutions.

The stories I am about to tell may or may not have happened to me. That is not the point. Just keep them in mind as 2006 brings what it will.

As at least one Logansport resident has experienced, busting air pockets with snow boots atop the ice of the frozen Eel River can send you waste deep into water cold enough to freeze pant legs by the time you return to your home only a few blocks away.

Stepping onto a narrow rotted log to cross the old Erie Canal can be hazardous to camera gear as well as one’s general health. Brisk autumn wind cuts through wet pants like there were no pants at all.

Swinging on an untested vine woven throughout a tree near the top of a hill can land you on your back and swiftly rolling toward a creek.

Diving from cliffs before checking water depth and whether rocks lay just beneath the surface is a serious danger to one’s life and limb. Broken elbows take many months to heal.

Sleeping too close to the campfire is not advisable, even on the coldest of nights. Some sleeping bags are highly flammable. Legs hairs are also susceptible to open flame.

Not checking the weather before camping on a river island can get you and your family scrambling to gather the gear before it is swept away.

Trusting a friend seems natural enough, but when boating down the White River while sitting facing your friend should be avoided. The temptation to run your head into an overhanging fallen tree is just too great to resist.

You should never blindly thrust your hand toward an 8-pound catfish wildly flopping on some steep riverbank in the middle of the night while the lantern is turned off because of the thousands of bugs wanting to taste you. Catfish are armed with dagger-like protrusions that contain a poison and power similar to that of a wasp sting.

Swatting at beehives with sticks or plugging their entrances with aluminum cans is a bad decision, especially if one of you is highly allergic to their sting.

Trespassing is always a bad idea. Many landowners have guns and most are not afraid to point them at you.

This may seem obvious, but hunting deer should be done with either a gun or a bow, not with a vehicle. At 60 mph, a deer can paint a white truck green.

The lesson

Please heed the potential risks that exist while traversing the outdoors so we can all attempt our yearly resolutions at least one more time. To all a safe and happy New Year!

Kevin Lilly can be reached at 722-5000, Ext. 5117, or via e-mail at

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