Monday, March 28, 2016

The Journey Begins...

Photo Courtesy of Dylan Coulter.
It’s been an amazing year in the McCardell household. Many “firsts” have occurred for both Ryley and me this past year but it all leads back to one day; February 23, 2015. How can I pinpoint the specific date which I claim to have led to such an amazing year? It’s simple. That was the day I read this article posted to Field & Stream’s website. After reading it, I literally sent an email within minutes chock full of pictures of Ryley fishing, hunting and scouting; but mainly fishing. That blog post and subsequent emails set into motion an unbelievable journey for Ryley this past year, a journey which I have been lucky enough to enjoy as well.

Ryley in his Simms waders, Columbia shirt and Fishpond vest.

A little over a month after that email was sent Ryley was in front of a camera in Simms waders, holding a fishing rod, smiling his heart out for world renowned photographer Dylan Coulter. He had been chosen as the Angler for a feature article in Field & Streams June print issue titled How to Raise a Wild Child. Even though his personal shoot only lasted about an hour we had to stick around for the group shots the rest of the day. During that entire time Ryley wore the Simms waders around the loft, hanging out with all the other kids, playing pinball and old school arcade games. Not once did he complain, he just soaked it all up and wanted more.

During the downtime Ryley also chatted up some of the parents as we stood around and told fishing and hunting stories. Unbeknownst to us one of the parents was outdoor writer and TV personality CJ Winand from Bowhunter Magazine and Bowhunter TV. CJ and Ryley hit it off from the start and joked around with each other the entire day. As we left that evening CJ extended an offer to Ryley that would lead to another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The wheels of fate started turning and little did we know what kind of ride it was going to be from then on out.

In the coming weeks I will chronicle that offer and the other adventures which have happened to Ryley this past year. But, the journey isn’t over quite yet. We are going to try and make this ride last just a little bit longer. There is no telling where we will end up, but the ride can’t be beat. Come along for the ride and enjoy the view. Until then keep taking your kids outdoors…

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