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Common Ground

Cabin fever seems to linger a little late in the winter season this year, at least for me.

Some people alleviate its effects by laying the seed catalogs out on the kitchen table and salivating over what to plant in their garden.

My remedy is to find Cabela’s world-famous massive 500-plus-page Spring Master catalog. I wait ’til the rest of the family goes to bed so I can curl up next to the fire and paw over page after page of outdoor gear and stuff.



Cabela’s is “the” outdoor company. It produces almost 50 different catalogs every year with things that are actually practical and affordable.

I am proud to say that my name has appeared on their mailing list since Heck was a pup.



What a huge disappointment this year that all Santa brought me from Cabela’s was a red thick flannel shirt. Even worse, nothing with their label under the tree from the family.

No one took the hints from the dog-eared pages of the Christmas catalog daily left in different and strategic places around the house. Someone even dared to sinfully throw out the Christmas catalog before the spring one arrived.

It’s about time to order more Carhartt washed duck timer colored pants for the great sale price of $36.95.

That’s about all I can afford this year with my annual outdoor allowance cut way back by my frugal wife Linn.

Actually I’m not much of a gearhead anyway. Give me a roll of duct tape and there ain’t anything can’t be fixed. It’s almost a religious experience to hear it tear away from the roll.

So instead of ordering new gear, I’m quite content with getting the old stuff out and repairing it with duct tape. It doesn’t take much to make a real man happy.

Had a panic attack the other night though. Couldn’t find the big gray roll anywhere in the house.

After I ranted and raved at everyone, including the dog and bird, one of my daughters pointed out that I was the last one seen with the magic stuff.

Sheepishly admitting that I had used it the night before on my plantar warts, I continued the hunt in silence for another hour. Finally, after finding the roll where it had fallen behind the bed, I calmed down enough to start repairing my outdoor gear.

My motto is “if you can’t fix it with duct tape, then throw it away.”

Friends who hike with me long ago quit making fun of my duct tape fetish because too often I have had to repair their equipment with it.

Every one of my old fire water bottles is wrapped in copious quantities for outback emergencies. A full roll weighs too much.

On a wildfire I once wrapped the floppy sole of a firefighter’s boots with duct tape. Worked like a charm.

There’s only one thing that will tear me away from repairing gear these winter nights. Wistfully turning the pages of a Cabela’s catalog.

Writing from 25 years of outdoor experience in federal land management agencies, Bill Kight, of Glenwood Springs, shares his stories with readers every other week.


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