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Gypsy Skies

by meghan simpson

Change - This Moment

2017 is here and I cannot be more excited to start a new chapter in my life. As most people in the hunting industry know, our family has decided to sell our hunting area in the North West Territories (Ram Head Outfitters). This was a huge family decision that involved a lot of discussions around the dinner table, but it was also one that was geared toward new adventures. Growing up in the Mackenzie Mountains with my family was a life that many people cannot even fathom. There were grizzly bears roaming our camps at night and guides telling stories about wolves chasing caribou calves, almost like a national geographic episode. My dad would fly his super cub and float plane around the area soaking in the vast wilderness while my mom would bake the most amazing bread and everyone couldn't wait to come back into camp for her well-known meals.

When I was five years old I decided I was going to be a pilot and an outfitter; I would beg the guides to bring the animals back to camp so I could help flesh the capes and then I would collect the eyeballs. I had a weird fetish with trying to preserve the eyes; thankfully I grew out of that! My sister Bailey shot her first ram when she was 16 years old and I remember being so jealous that I had to wait another year. When I was 13, I had an Australian Shepard named Trixie and that was my first year cooking on the trail with hunters to look after, that dog was with me for 12 years of excitement. It’s hard to even imagine letting a 13 year old go out alone in the wilderness now, but I guess my dog was taking care of me then. My parents taught us how to respect our elders and work hard so that one day we might be able to have something of our own like them. They worked as outfitters for 35 years where it's not an easy life, but have made a name for themselves. A name as one of the best Dall Sheep Outfitters in North America. Nothing can take that away from them, even with retirement. We have met the most amazing people and will have contacts and friends throughout the world for a lifetime.

As most know, change is inevitable and although I wanted to become an outfitter when I was five years old, I too changed. After I got my commercial helicopter license I knew that that was what I wanted to do, more so than becoming an outfitter. There is just something about waking up at first light to fly over the mountain peaks and feel like you are part of that small community that can soar. My sister works full time in Calgary and also has a different life path. Ram Head Outfitters was a major part of our lives; it’s where we discovered who we were, out in that solitude that few will experience. A huge part of me wishes I would have wanted to take over the area, but we aren't our parents - we have our own dreams, goals, talents and ambitions. This doesn't mean that we will never find ourselves back in a base camp waiting on weather to get hunters out, but right now in our lives it's time for a change. My family will always be in the outfitting industry one way or another, and this summer I may have time to hunt for myself, I happen to have a couple animals on my bucket list. Many people make a New Years Resolution list about what they would like to change, instead how about we embrace the changes we are going through that don't just occur at midnight.

"You get a strange feeling when you leave a place, like you'll not only miss the people you love, but you miss the person you are at this time and place because you'll never be this way again." - Author Unknown

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