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Jonathan Roldan – BAJA BEAT

WON News Column by Jonathan Roldan

WON’s weekly Baja columnist as WESTERN OUTDOORS magazine’s Baja

Backbeat, Jonathan Roldan came to Western Outdoors Publications after writing for numerous national and international publications and has been writing for over 30 years.

He worked in radio, TV and print publications for many years and then attended law school and practiced as a courtroom litigator in the the ‘80s and ‘90s. However, having been raised fishing, diving, hiking and camping all his life, the draw of Baja and writing lured him away. He moved to Baja Mexico in 1996 where he operates a Tailhunter International fishing tours in La Paz.

Jonathan Roldan can be reached at:

The zing-powie fish
There are some things we tangle with in life that we sort of lump into one big group. It’s just easier.

All facial tissue gets called “KLEENEX.”

All whirlpool tubs are called “JACUZZIS.”

On the freeway, everyone who tailgates you is a “JERK.” Everyone who blows by you at ultra speeds is “MORON” (or worse)!

As fishermen, in many places, we call all bottom fish “ROCKFISH.”

Conversely, there are those things in life that defy description or categorization. In fact, there’s a group of fish here in Baja that fall into that amorphous category and I call them like I see them.

They are the species I call “ZING-POWIE” fish!

A ZING-POWIE fish that didn’t zing-pow. It’s a good day if you get 3 out of 10 ZING-POWIE fish to the boat.

So many folks come to fish looking for the glamour species like marlin, tuna, wahoo and dorado. The ZING-POWIE fish are often overlooked.

That’s because it’s not generally perceived as “big game” or “deep sea” (I hate that term…yes, the sea is deep!) fishing.

Because the ZING-POWIE fish don’t live out there in the blue water. They’re not out on the high seas.

ZING-POWIE fish could be right in front of your hotel. They live right in the rocks there by the shore. They inhabit reefs and shallow high spots.

You don’t need a giant sportfisher to get them. You don’t need complicated gear to get them either. Sophisticated state-of-the-art electronics can be left at home too. You don’t need 20 satellites to find the honey holes.

It’s pretty simple. Locals catch them in a tin boat with fishing line and a spark-plug for a sinker. In fact, the good ones make a living off catching ZING-POWIE fish.

I call them ZING-POWIE fish because that’s the sound it makes when you hook up one of these fish. And then lose it in the blink of an eye!

I’m referring to a group of fish that encompasses cabrilla (Mexican seabass), grouper, amberjack, barred pargo, mullet snapper, dog-tooth snapper and to some degree yellowtail and several other species.

They inhabit rocks and reefs and other structure.

Some can be monsters in the 50- to 100-pound range or larger. But even the smaller ones can frustrate and challenge the best anglers.

They’ll hit live bait and lures and when they hit, it’s like a freight train. The water can be relatively shallow. Often you can see the fish under your boat.

Their method of feeding is to ambush their prey with powerful lightning strikes, then retreat back to the structure. Snatch and go!

So, for the angler, there’s no time to react!

You don’t let them “nibble.” You don’t let them “take a little line.” There’s barely time to set the hook!

Imagine that you are fishing only 20 feet of water. You get hammered by something big. In nano-seconds, it takes line. Your rod also bends a few feet. You slam the brakes!

It’s already in the rocks. You lose! ZING-POWIE! Your line snaps and your rod flies back in your face like a spring! BOING!

That fish with all it’s power, has sharp teeth… powerful jaws… sharp gill plates… sharp scales… and he lives in razor sharp rocks and reefs.

And they have the power of a Pit Bull on steroids and the tenacity of a German shepherd hanging onto a burglar’s pant leg!

Before you even realize what happens, your line goes… ZING-POWIE!

And it snaps! Even before your captain can fire up the motor and hopefully pull the fish out’ve the rocks!

It’s a game that tests even experienced anglers. If you use heavier line, the ZING-POWIE fish have sharp eyes. You won’t get bit. Forget braided line. It is way too visible.

Lighter line gets you bit more often, but that can be like going after an elephant with an air-rifle. Of course, it’s Murphy’s Law that when you have your lightest gear is when an 80-pound amberjack strikes or a 150-pound grouper decides to chomp your bait! ZING-POWIE!

But, even the smallest fish have the odds in their favor given their physical attributes and treacherous environment. When I guide, I’ve often told clients, this will be both fun and frustrating.

If we get 3 out of 10 fish to the boat, that will be a good day!

The frustration in this type of fishing isn’t just losing the fish after getting jerked out’ve your socks. It’s that often you can see the fish right under the boat or behind the boat in your chum line.

Pargo, for instance, when they spawn in the shallow waters, looks like a Japanese koi pond on steroids. Basically, 20- to 60-pound “red carp” that looks like an undulating carpet of copper and red.

As you chum them to the boat, waters explode with huge backs and wide tails blowing up the water. One client said, “They look big enough to put a saddle on them!”

Fascinating to watch.

And then they hit your bait while you’re entranced with all the action. With no warning. No nibble. Just a sucker-punch-in-the-gut and your reel screams and your rod bends… and ZING-POWIE!

You’ve already lost the fish! Oh, the agony!

I have clients who come year-after-year to pit themselves against the ZING-POWIE fish! A new rod… a different reel… a new type of hooks… some new tactic they read about in a magazine!

This is the year, they will NOT be mastered by some stupid fish!

As one of my clients said after a fun but unsuccessful day, “It’s like playing a slot machine in Vegas. It’s so tantalizing close. The next quarter will surely bring success.”

Then he laughed…

“And in the end, the house always wins. But I can’t wait to give it another try tomorrow!”

* * *

Jonathan can be reached at his Tailhunter Sportfishing Fleet in La Paz at

•   •   •   •   •

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.

I’m voting you off the island
Is it just me?

We have now been on the road criss-crossing the country since just after Christmas. All these fantastic fishing/hunting/sportsman shows from Denver to Seattle and Long Beach to Salt Lake City and many more.


Jill and I haul our booth and a zillion pounds of brochures and flyers in our vehicle and promote our Tailhunter Sportfishing operation in La Paz, but also just visiting Baja and Mexico in general.

It’s been a wonderful run.

For almost 25 years, we hit the road for almost four months. Add in another 15 other years for other fishing businesses and that’s about 40 years of shaking hands, smiles and good will.

It’s been a privilege and an honor to see so much of our great country and visit so many wonderful folks. Even more so to host them, their friends and family with us in Baja.

Most of our clients become our friends. And we’re now into two or three generations. It has been one of my life’s great joys.

So, what’s changed? And indeed, is it just me? Or are all of us just a little more on edge? More flinty. More intolerant. Less sensitive or overly sensitive at the same time. Sometimes over the same thing and at the same time.

It started a few years ago during our shows.

People directly confronting us or out of the side of their mouths saying things like:

“Why’d they let people like YOU into this show?”

“All dirty Mexicans like you should be killed.”

“We can’t believe you’re up at this show trying to make people go to THAT country!”

I’m not proud to say that a few times I rose to the bait and we had some confrontations at the booth. I hate when someone gets in my face and jabs a finger in my chest, especially when I’m trying to get everyone to stand down.

Some don’t dare say it to me, but I hear them say it to my wife. And, that I won’t take. Say it to my face if you have something to say.

And, no, it wasn’t isolated in just certain places. It happened in almost every state and city we visited. But only now and then.

I just chalked it up to ignorance. Or too much alcohol walking around through the show. Can’t fix stupid.

And believe me, it’s just one tiny-eenie-weenie part of the thousands of folks we chat with every year.

No, we’re not Mexican. We’re very American and very proud of it.

But, I’m also proud of the work we do and all the happy times we’ve provided. I’m proud to also represent Mexico and it’s people and hopefully open a few eyes to new experiences and a wonderful culture.

By the same token, I feel we represent Americans as well. We strive to be good ambassadors in Mexico because, well… we’re Americans and we will be judged by our actions.

So, what’s happening?

At the shows, the complexion of people seems to have changed. So many folks still come to our booth to ask about fishing and vacations and laugh over fishing stories.

But increasingly, people come up to the booth not to ask about vacations or if the hotel rooms have air-conditioning or how big are the fish in August.

They have opinions to share. And we’re sitting ducks in our booth.

More belligerent. More confrontational. More argumentative. More contradictory. More profane.

You say that something like “Sir…In the past 10 years, the best time to catch tuna is the summer months!”

Here’s a response…

“Well, you’re full of crap. I have a friend who has a friend and he fished twice there in Baja and he caught tuna in winter!”

And it’s said with emphasis on the C-word and inches from my face. A challenge.

“OK, Sir. I don’t doubt your friend’s friend has caught tuna, but I’ve been in Mexico almost 30 years and…”

Before I can even finish…

“So, you’re calling me a liar? I guess just like all Mexicans, you just wanna take people’s money and talk sh-t!”

Or this conversation:

“We never listen or care about limits. Whenever we go to Mexico, screw the limits. We kill whatever we want to kill and as much as we want.”

“Amigo… Uh, that’s illegal!”

“So what? Every Mexican captain or Mexican can be bought off if you give him enough money. (Ha!Ha!) That’s why we go to Mexico because rules don’t apply! We can do whatever we want. Who cares what Mexico or Mexicans think?”

“Well, that’s not how it works for me. Or my employees or my captains. It’s not only illegal and unethical, but I don’t know any LEGITIMATE operator where we live that would tolerate that or would risk their business or reputation doing that!”

“Then you’re all idiots! (Guffaw guffaw!)"

And he makes a point to point that stupid finger at my face. Cute.

He tries logic.

“Like when we catch marlin. Last time we went, I caught and boated a marlin. There’s 3 other guys on the boat. It’s not fair to them that they don’t get to kill a marlin too, is it?

“The limit is one per day, Pal…”

“Well, it’s a stupid rule and you’re stupid for not letting your clients catch what they want because if you don’t, there’s plenty of other Mexicans willing to play ball!”

My hackles are up… count, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… take a breath.

Look… I have a business to run and payroll to make and I surely love earning a buck. But, for the first time in decades, I’m reserving the right to fire clients. Sometimes even before they are clients…

I do the same to folks who stand at my booth and rail on all the things wrong with the U.S. and Americans and how it’s all gone to hell in a hand basket. And on and on.

There’s a time and place. The counter of my booth isn’t it. It’s a fishing booth, not your soapbox to tell me all the things you hate about our country or people.

“You just need to move on. I really don’t want you down to visit us. I do not want you or your money or your business. You’re not worth the energy."

And their eyes pop open! And they go…

”Whaaaa…? You don’t want me?”

As if they’ve paid their entry ticket to the event and it entitles them to spew vitriol at me and I’d better well stand and listen to it. And how dare I refuse to listen and not want their business or listen to their opinions.

Well, yes I can. You have a right to your opinon, but I have a right not to have to listen either.

Yessir. You, sir, are voted off the island! Seeeee ya!

And these are no longer isolated incidents. That’s the sad part.

A day doesn’t seem to go by at the shows these days when at least once or more when someone has something to get off their chest on us. It’s either because we’re handy targets or directly fired at us because of what we do.

People are angrier.

They’re more emboldened to speak their minds with no filters. Maybe it’s social media. Maybe it’s just the times we live in. Maybe it’s just me lacking much patience for haters.

In that respect, I’m angrier too. And it takes a lot to get me angry.

Just be on notice.

If you’re gonna spew hate and nonsense about me, my work, my wife, employees or both my countries of Mexico AND America, I have no hesitation to telling you that I don’t need you. You’re already wrecking my day standing in front of me yapping your pie-hole.

Twenty years ago — heck even five years ago — I’d have sucked it up and smiled and accepted their money and booked them to come down and fish. I’m learning to say “no” in my old age. I can be a butthead too.

I’m not going to let that ugliness ruin it for so many other incredible folks who just want to have a good time with friends and family.

Nor will I let you come down and show our Mexican friends another side of ugly Americans and let you taint all of us. No, sir. Not everyone is like you.

Just my two cents.

On second thought…
Back in the day before I lived in Baja, I scheduled a springtime trip. Man, after a long winter, I so looked forward to getting into the sunshine and away from the crowds and hectic grind.

So, there I was. At the airport with my luggage, ice chest, rod tube… and holy cow!

Where did all these people come from?

I had forgotten, it was not only Easter week, but also spring break when I scheduled my vacation.

Oh the agony! It’s exactly what I was trying to escape.

I ran smack into long lines at the airport. Students and families all trying to get someplace. Everyone looking to get away, but now swallowed up in the mass of humanity and everyone getting agro about it.

And this was in the pre-9/11 days before you had to take off your shoes and basically undress and unwrap everything at the TSA counters.

The plane was full and it was one of those flights where they asked folks to “volunteer” to give up their seats in exchange for a free voucher… “blah blah blah…”

Not a chance. I didn’t exactly see anyone raise their hands abruptly.

And in the plane, it was also the flight where they tell you it’s full and there’s not enough room for all the carry-on luggage, so please stash it under your seat, over your head or give it up to the baggage handlers.

Oh, and the flight was full of excited kids and babies. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… family time is important, but some poor baby was screaming in the back and one little devil thought it was fun to kick my seat from behind. And yell “BOO” again and again through the crack in the seat!

Got to the Cabo Airport and again, it was jam-packed. But, at least most folks were a bit more congenial now that they were on the ground in Baja.

Until they hit the immigration and customs inspection lines, that is. They wound round and round and round, almost back to Los Angeles! That took almost an hour. Like waiting in line to ride Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland.

The hotel shuttle from the airport was delayed as well because, well… they wanted to fill in all the seats so we had to wait… and wait… until everyone from every flight got through the morass. Didn’t want to leave anyone who had reservations.

I was pretty bedraggled by the time I got to the hotel — waded through a full lobby and reception and got to my room.

It was already late. Lots of people partying in the street and a crowd of tequila-fueled partiers was the last thing I wanted. So, some forgettable room service tacos and I passed out dreaming of big fish in the sunshine and ocean the next day.

It wasn’t quite as I envisioned.

The marina was packed with boats headed out fishing. It was a regular morning traffic jam on the water: trying to buy bait, fueling up, just trying to get to the fishing grounds which were jammed with fishing boats… but add to that the site-seeing boats — the booze cruises and other pleasure craft.

As might be expected, the fishing was negligible at best. Just too much traffic on the water and pressure on the fish.

It was like that all week. But what’s that saying about, “a bad day fishing is better than a good day of work?” It was nice being in the sunshine, but it would have been nice to hook a few more fish and if it wasn’t so much like work.

Oh well.

Took a day off to head to the beach. A little secluded cove that’s a nice getaway. Not too many folks. Got my beach chair, small ice chest of beer and my beach towel. Ready to go!

Oh no.

To say the beach was crowded is an uber-understatement. It was more like Woodstock on sand.

There was hardly a square foot of sand that didn’t have a tent on it, plus tables, chairs, beach toys, blaring boom-boxes playing banda/rancho music and cars parked willy-nilly everywhere also blaring music. The whole city was out.

In Mexico, there are no designated camp sites. The beach belongs to the people so wherever you want to camp is legal. There were tents within inches of each other. There was no space. No privacy. It was almost impossible to walk to the water.

I jumped in my rental and drove to two other beaches to find the same result!

I finally found a spot right next to a local family of eight. They took pity on the bedraggled tourist and invited me to barbecued carne asada for lunch. Very kind and nice folks. I shared my beer.

Nothing to do but make the best of it. It was an OK vacation as vacations go, but not what I had planned or expected.

What I had failed to do and forgotten was consider Easter and Spring Break.

As I found out later, the weeks up to… including, and shortly after Easter are the busiest times of the year for travel and vacation in Mexico. Not only are tourists, students, etc. travelling into Mexico for Easter and Spring Break, but it is also the busiest time for locals to travel as well, both internationally and domestically.

Many Mexicans travel into Mexico as well as travel outside Mexico to visit friends and family. Domestic inter-city travel also fills planes, trains and automobiles… and busses!

It’s even busier than Christmas or Thanksgiving (by the way, in Mexico they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving). Consequently, you’re not only dealing with crowds, but airlines rates and hotels prices are at a premium, IF you can find a ticket or seat available. Frankly, everything is more expensive.

It’s a nice time to visit, but be prepared and give it some extra thought if you’re looking for a bargain vacation or to get away from the crowds.

* * *

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.

When fishing isn’t so a-peel-ing
“Life is full of banana skins. You slip, you carry on.”

— Daphne Guinness

It’s been about 15 years since I last wrote about a subject that seems to keep popping up. And lately, I’ve had several folks ask about it.

Most folks say they’re not superstitious.

But, they’ll still wear their raggedy “good luck” basketball socks. They refuse to throw away their best bowling shirt.

Do you still have a pair of “tighty-whitey” underwear in your drawer that you won’t throw away even if it has no more elastic and your wife nags you about it?

Do you refuse to open your eyes when your team’s kicker lines up for the game-winning field goal because it’s “bad luck?” Still have your bloody-splattered fishing t-shirt from when you were in college when you were 100 pounds lighter?

So, what’s the deal about bad luck bananas and fishing?

To some, it’s just something to goof with and talk smack about.

I’ve seen guys “plant” bananas in their buddy’s tackle box or fishing boots. I’ve seen guys tie a banana on hotel room doors or toss a banana onto a buddy’s boat.

To others, it’s deadly serious. It’s grounds for fighting words and coming to blows.

I’ve seen boats catch fire. Bananas were later found in the galley.

I’ve been on boats where everyone is catching fish except the boat with bananas but start catching fish when bananas were tossed overboard.

I was working as a deckhand where a guy broke his leg in a freak accident. Bananas were in an ice chest on deck. Another time a guy had to be airlifted after having a heart attack on a boat that had bananas.

If bananas were found in the galley of any boat that I worked on or had chartered they were quickly discarded or discreetly “disappeared” at night when the boat was underway.

Rumor has it that Fruit of the Loom underwear used to have a banana on their label, but the banana was eliminated.

So, what’s the source of the superstitious myth?

There’s a number of theories.

Bananas Stink

Back in the days of sailing ships, fresh fruit and vegetables were pretty important. Having bananas aboard, the bananas ripen pretty quickly and emit a gas and odor that can quickly ruin the food stores of a crew. Lacking fresh produce on those long voyages could lead to malnourishment at best. At worst, death.

No Slowing Down

The fact that bananas ripen quite quickly could also give credence to the lack of fish caught on board. Speed was essential to cargo ships carrying bananas.

Normal ships could travel at regular speeds. Often crews would fish to supplement their diets and the diets of passengers.

Banana boats did not have that luxury. They had to scoot. No slowing down to troll. It was essential to get from point A to point B.

Word got out that you didn’t want to crew or travel on a ship carrying bananas because those ships “never caught fish!” Seems logical.

Hidden Critters

Bunches of bananas could often hide snakes, spiders and other creepy-crawlers that could get loose aboard a ship. Many areas in Africa also were home to a voracious wood-eating termite that could get loose when bananas were brought about those old wooden sailing ships.

A Dark Chapter

If you remember your history, banana boats were often used as slave ships. If you suddenly woke up manacled, crowded and in a dark place smelling of bananas, life was about to take a turn for the worse.

Davey’s Locker

Similarly, bananas float. When a ship would sink, among other things, floating bananas would often be indicative of the final resting place of a vessel.

Here’s another one…

Good To Be King

From my part of the world where my family originated, in Hawaii, only royalty were permitted to have bananas. A commoner found in possession of bananas could be grounds for execution… the ultimate bad luck!

So, what do you think?

I’m not superstitious, but you’d still better not bring bananas on any boat that I’m on! Why tempt luck?

* * *

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.

One Star
It was my first Christmas in Baja almost 25 years ago.

It wasn’t where I really wanted to be. At least, not at that time of the year. Not really at that particular point in my life either. But there I was.

Sitting on my beat-up plastic ice chest. In the dark. In the moonlight on a chilly desert evening that was doing it’s best to creep through my thin sweatshirt and grungy army surplus pants.

I was in Baja. Kind of in the middle of nowhere. At night just off a lonely stretch of road not far outside a small fishermen’s pueblo.

Pretty much outta gas, outta money and out’ve prospects. And almost outta batteries in my flashlight. Great. Just great.

When morning hit, all I knew was that I’d be headed down the road to somewhere that only tomorrow knew.

Obviously, I also knew that I wasn’t going to be coming home for Christmas. Because well… for the time being my mini-van was home. Right here. Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine that I’d be in Mexico for Christmas.

Pulled off the shoulder on an empty highway.

My Christmas “dinner” that night was a sumptuous feast of canned chicken soup cooked on my single burner camp stove. Washed down with the last warm Coke I had sloshing in the melted ice water of my cooler.

And tonite, like many nights lately, I’d be hunkered in my old mini-van. Living large.

I unrolled my sleeping bag and shook it to make sure no critters had crawled in. The winter nights are cold, windy and clear in the desert.

Sleeping in the van stretched out among my gear wasn’t luxury. It was a necessity.

“Come to sunny Mexico!” say the brochures. “It’ll be fun!” they said. “It’ll be WARM!” they said. Someone screwed that up. Mostly me. Plans had gone catawompus… left of center.

This sure was a different Christmas.

No gifts. No family or friends. No Christmas parades or shopping. I would have been grateful for a cold turkey sandwich let alone a hot plate of mom’s roasted bird covered with gravy.

I used to bitch about hearing Christmas carols for weeks before Christmas. And the endless Christmas TV shows. And now it would be great to hear even one corny Rudolph song. One Frosty. One RUM-Pa-Pum-Pum little drummer boy.

Where are you Charlie Brown? I know how you felt when no one liked your little tree.

No cell phones back then. I couldn’t even call anyone to let them know where I was or how I was doing. Those were my “knucklehead days.” They weren’t talking to me much back then anyway.

I really didn’t need to hear, “I told you so…”

But still…

No gaudy Christmas lights. Nothing except a few lights coming from the hardscrabble little pueblo I had passed about a mile back down the road.

Just another typical dusty cluster of concrete block homes set in the saddle of some low hills. Mini-trucks that probably never had hubcaps and a rider-less kid’s bike left against a fence, probably when someone got called for dinner.

Just like me. Stuck in the middle of nowhere and not really going anywhere either. At least not this Christmas night.

Especially in the dark, a colorless Baja landscape except for the faded wind-scoured Coca Cola and Tecate signs someone painted a generation ago against a wall.

And some tired political graffiti about voting for somesuch guy who promised to change all this.

“I’m YOUR guy! Juntos por el Futuro!” (I’m YOUR guy! Together for the future!)

Right. Politicians and promises never change. No matter the country.

I had passed through the little place earlier, but decided it would be better to pull off the road outside of town. No sense causing a stir with a strange van parked on their road with an even stranger guy sleeping inside.

From my distance, there was surely no sense that it was Christmas. No colored lights. Surely no music or semblance of a holiday. Just me singing the blues in my own head.

No other lights except the stars on a clear dark cold night. The kind of stars you can see when there’s no other lights. And shooting stars too.

And one shooting slowly over that little town.

And a goofy thought.

About another town. Many, many years ago.

In the middle of nowhere. No lights. Maybe some non-descript block houses not unlike these.

Folks inside just going about their lives. Simple dinners over. Maybe going to sleep. Just another day. Snuff out the candle or lamp. Another night. Nothing changes.

Including the night sky. The same sky. The exact same stars.

Yeah. It’s the same night sky. Gotta be. Thousands of years. They don’t change.

Tried to wrap my tired brain around that one.

Maybe the only ones who took notice were some guys on the nightshift watching their animals. Guys like me, trying to fend off the cold.

Who looked up. Just like I was doing. Because there was really no place else to look.

The story says they saw something up there.

And maybe these same stars saw something as well. Down here. In a desert town. Middle of nowhere.

Somehow there was a promise that night. A hope? Maybe not graffiti’d on a wall. But something happened that night.

And these same stars were there. Back then.

And maybe some guys hanging on a windswept desert hill saw something up there too.

So say the stories.

Or maybe they were just tired and ate some cheap chicken soup.

That part wasn’t in the stories.

But it was getting colder and the wind was coming up. I climbed into my van and into my sleeping bag.

And, for some reason, Christmas wasn’t so bad or lonely anymore.


* * *

We hope you enjoyed this article on our no-charge website Of course, this site contains only a small fraction of the stories that Western Outdoor Publications produces each week in its two northern and southern editions and its special supplements. You can subscribe to the print issue that is mailed weekly and includes the easy flip-page full-color digital issues, or you can purchase a digital only subscription. Click here to see the choice.

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