Thankful Outdoors: Cherished Gifts & Mountain Man Aspirations

A story about some old cherished gifts that spark memories and outdoor feelings of wanting to be a mountain man

Well, another Christmas season has come and gone. As with many other things this year, I’m sure Christmas was not the same for everyone. Loved ones were missed, and traditions were canceled. It has been a trying year for many. I can only imagine more and more people have spent time reflecting on how things used to be. At least I hope they have so that when we return to normal, those things are more appreciated.

As I sat with my family, enjoying a whiskey and a few laughs, I think about some of the gifts given to me over the years. Some of these gifts are over 30 plus years old now. I have two gifts that mean a lot to me for different reasons, but they both are gifts that made me feel like a young mountain man. They gave me visions of living in a time about running traplines, wearing fur and buckskin, chasing through the woods late at night with a hatchet and lantern. Stuff I would dream about as I read about Davy Crockett and dreamed about being a mountain man. As a young boy, I soaked up every word of the book Where the Red Fern Grows, dreaming about having a relationship with dogs like Old Dan and Little Ann.

Powder Horn

The first gift is a powder horn handmade by my Grandpa Fischer; he would dehorn cattle and had lots of access to horns. The pictures hand-carved into the horn, with its homemade stopper attached to a leather string as a strap.

I would fill this horn with silver BB’s for my Daisy BB/pellet gun. I loved the sound of listening to the BB’s rattle around in that horn as I chased gray squirrels through the woods. That horn had been retired from use many years ago. It’s resting home is among one of many horns mounted to a board in the entranceway. I had forgotten that I had shared with my boys where and how I had gotten that horn until just a few weeks ago; Bryce had mentioned it as we were looking over our muzzleloader equipment. Maybe it’s a sign that the boys listen to their Dad’s rambling stories more than I realize!


The second gift that I cherish is a pair of modified bear paw snowshoes from my parents. When I had gotten these snowshoes, I had figured there was nothing that would be able to stop Buzz and me now from chasing rabbits. I would be so much faster getting around in the woods, and I could sneak into an area more stealthily than the long traditional snowshoe of Dad’s that I was using.

These snowshoes still get used from time to time; I used them last year when running my trapline, and it brought feelings of being a mountain man back to my aging body. There is something special to me when I take those snowshoes through the woods breaking trails along the river.

Both of these gifts are things that have been replaced in the more modern world. Powder horns have been replaced by single brass shells, wooden snowshoes replaced with lightweight aluminum models. Many gifts and items fall into our world that is being built of disposable items.

I’m an old soul in that way, where I like certain things from an era way before my time. I don’t despise everything in our new age that has brought great technology to us, but I don’t want to lose sight of where things came from.

My friend Jeff, who runs a YouTube Channel called Real Life Fishing, has taken up a new hobby this winter; he teaches himself how to make wooden musky lures. He isn’t the only person making wooden lures, but more and more are moving towards plastic or injection lures. I’m sure I will end spending a bit of time in his shop when I’m not busy running the trap line or ice fishing to see how this whole process works. He has been sharing his experience on his channel.

I like to hear these kinds of stories; it’s a reminder that those old ideas still work! He did gift two lures that were practice runs and will be used as tree ornaments.

Hard to believe that next week will be the last week to 2020, already thinking about what adventures and stories will come for 2021. Appreciate everyone following along!

In closing, I hope you find a way to get into the outdoors, create your adventure and memories, but most importantly, find a way to “Celebrate the Experience.” Go check out for more content and share your “Celebrate the Experience” moment with us!

We welcome your stories! Contact us at [email protected]!

Scott Hopperdietzel
Author: Scott Hopperdietzel

Scott Hopperdietzel is the creator of an outdoor blog named Thankful Outdoors. He shares his passion for the outdoors with readers. The focus of the blog is to “Celebrate the Experience” in his stories; you feel what the connection to the outdoors means to him. His goal is to inspire others to get into the outdoors and create their own experience. Along with writing, he is a father to three boys who are often part of the adventures along with the family Weimaraner, Boone. You can find his writings on the website or follow his social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.