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Welcome to Wildcat Creek Journal

This is a blog about life in the outdoors of Upcountry South Carolina.
Come along with me as I fish a cold mountain stream for trout, or hike into the rugged back-country and set up camp, far away from the lights of town. We'll find a good spot in the woods and get ourselves into position to call up a gobbler, or raise our bows to take a shot at a whitetail deer. Or, we could just take a seat around the campfire and talk for a while.
My goal here is not to give technical advice on things, or endorse any product. Simply put, my goal is to entertain you. I want to make you laugh, make you cry, maybe teach you a little something along the way, but most of all, I want to tell you a story.

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After Dark

I stayed up way too late last night. Chase called on his way home from work and told me that we were going catfishing. That's usually how things like this begin.

My brand new son- in- law Bryan was going too, although my daughter wasn't crazy about the idea. No worries though, she would stay at our house and await his return. She ended up asleep on my side of the bed until we got back. Apparently, their agreed upon curfew was 11:30, and he did his best to keep it despite Chase's nudging him to stay longer. My son has no concept of time when it comes to fish, whether they are biting or not.

So there we stood in the dark, on a bridge that crosses the Tyger  River. Every creature that flies or creepeth upon the ground was out. The noise from insects and frogs in the surrounding swamp was deafening. Chase was our catfish guide. He'd brought all the rods, bait and any tackle we might need. Chase's bait of choice was chunks of chicken breast marinated in his secret formu…

Her First One

There was a certain air of anticipation that morning as our guide, Captain Charles King, plied the waters beneath us for signs of schooling striped bass. We came to Santee Cooper Country to immerse ourselves in the sportsman's paradise, and explore all the area had to offer. As our boat cut across beautiful Lake Moultrie, the sun was breaking the eastern horizon with a warm, red glow, casting a soft, picturesque light on one of the most beautiful lakes in the South.

The South Carolina Outdoor Press Association (SCOPe) and members of the Georgia Outdoor Writers (GOA) had converged on the Santee Cooper lakes, as they held their annual fall conference at Black's Camp. As part of the group of  writers and photographers that were on the lake that particular morning. My wife, Melissa and I, along with Georgia outdoor writer, Polly Dean, were matched with an experienced guide, a man whose business is to know these waters and the popular game fish that thrive in great numbers there. Ch…

Darkness

The effects of the shortened length of daylight on my psyche is compounded by the raw, wet, cloudy weather this afternoon. Seasonal Affective Disorder-- add that to the list of issues I deal with on a daily basis. What I wouldn't give for a little sunshine today. I don't know how much longer I can stand it. When I leave home in the morning, its pitch dark, and by the time I arrive home, the light is fading. No wonder so many of us suffer with depression more in the winter months.
I know that I have so many things to be thankful for, but I tend to forget that when I am down. My wife and kids are so good to me, even when I am withdrawn, stuck inside my own head. I lash out at them sometimes for no reason, then have to deal with the shame afterwards. If you're anything like me, you know how that feels. 
My oldest daughter found out she has some major issues with her intestines last week. At first, the fear was cancer, but thank God, it wasn't. Her condition is still serious…