First Time Shooting

Please do not read this post as a learning tool to shoot a gun. It is for entertainment purposes.

 

This past weekend, my brother taught me how to shoot. No, not a basketball. He taught me how to shoot a .45 handgun. Now, the last time I even touched a gun was when I was in my early teens and it was a BB gun. I didn’t expect it to be extremely difficult. All you had to do was point and shoot, right? Not quite.

Something you should know about Jared is that he was in the National Guard, so he’s had a little experience with these sorts of things. Before even showing me how to put bullets in the magazine, we had to put up the target. By we, I actually mean Jared.

 

Our location of choice: My grandma’s pasture. Perfect spot considering there weren’t other people milling about. Perfect considering I was new to shooting.

After setting up the target, my brother shows me all the safety precautions to the gun, how to load it, and so on. Let me tell you that loading it is not like the movies. First you have to load the magazine with bullets. I used to think they just came like that. Lesson learned! Jared tells me that loading the bullets in the magazine continually grows tougher the more bullets you put in. With these guns, they hold six. After pushing one bullet on top of the other, I find it difficult to slide the last one in. If my brother hadn’t been there, I would’ve only shot five bullets.

As for safety, I have to make sure that I’m wearing ear and eye protection. When talking to Jared, I feel like I’m yelling… and I’m pretty sure I was. He also went through gun safety. One of the most important rules he emphasized: point the gun away from him as well as myself.

 

Next it’s my turn. After watching Jared, it looked simple. Stance shoulder-width apart, hands in the correct position, and make sure you don’t step in cow pies.

Check, check, and… check. Almost didn’t complete that last check.

My first time up and I’m shaking. Literally. My hands won’t stop moving and my heart beat is going at a higher rate. I didn’t think I would be that nervous to shoot, but I am. After watching my brother, it didn’t look difficult. I get in my stance, aim, shake a little more, and pull the trigger. I wasn’t prepared for the gun to pull back that much! It recoils and my left hand flies off the handle. I keep a hold on it with my right hand. The next five shots are similar to the first. I take my sweet time in between each pull of the trigger.

When aiming, I have to make sure that the white dot on the gun is in between the two brackets. It also helps that the white dot is aimed at the target for an obvious purpose.

When I run out of bullets, Jared and I mosey down to the target to take a look. Since he shot before me, we weren’t sure whose bullet holes were whose.

“I think you hit all six of them,” he says. I smile. He’s not done, “I’m not sure how since you were shaking so much.”

Thanks. Although to tell the truth, I’m not sure myself.

Now that I have how it feels to shoot a gun down, I try to relax a little more. Jared reiterates how to place my left hand on the gun so that it doesn’t fly off. He also mentions that I’m leaning back rather than standing in a more comfortable position.

In fact, he tells me to walk and keep my stance. The stance with my shoulders back and legs straight. Let me tell you this: it’s not comfortable. To put it bluntly, the way I was walking made me look like I was constipated. He tells me to walk so that I can get a feel of what it would really be like to use a gun on the move. It also helps sort out what my stance should be when I am immobile. On that note, I bend my knees a little (I wanted to go down further since I’m used to a basketball stance) and keep my shoulders more relaxed. Unfortunately, I still couldn’t relax my arms as I continued to shoot.

Since Jared wouldn’t load the gun for me all the time, I had to learn how to load it. So I pick it up…

Slide the magazine in…

Turn off the safety and shoot…

Although I was still tense, I got used to shooting. The kick of the gun every time I shot continued to surprise me. Don’t believe everything in the movies! It was definitely a fun experience and something I would like to try again. However, Jared said next time I have to buy the bullets.

 

    

Mishaps with Adventure

For two young women fresh out of college, the first idea that might spring to mind is a wonderful summer vacation away from home. I could almost hear the seagulls cawing, feel the sand under my feet, and see the waves gracefully meet the beach. On the other hand, two young women fresh out of college also have to think about student loans. What kind of activity can we do that is new and fun… and not far from home? A simple fix, really. Before we get there, everyone meet Kriston, my best friend since before I could talk.

Wait, that’s not right…

There, much clearer. I guess I should mention that Kriston and I have tried this outdoors exercising routine before. Unfortunately, riding bikes on the trail turned into more of a “can we walk this hill? I don’t think I can make it” as well as ceasing all talking because of cotton mouth. Instead of saying no to more fun outdoor activities, Kriston and I took up the idea to go geocaching for the first time. Geocaching, in essence, is an outdoor treasure hunt using GPS devices. As beginners, we received help from Hannah Wiltamuth at the Honey Creek Resort State Park Activities Center. Along with a GPS (and an explanation by Hannah), we were given a map of the caches and a few toys to switch with another at a cache. Without further ado, we said thank you and headed out.

The day is beautiful, if not a little too hot, but what can you expect in June? Our first few steps were to figure out how to follow the GPS now that we were on the trail. For some reason, Kriston held both the map and the GPS. Most likely because I’m terrible at directions. The first cache wasn’t too far from the starting point… yet we still managed to pass it. With a little arguing, or what I’d like to call “friendly banter,” we backtracked. Not before I got scared half out of my shoes because of a rustling noise in the wooded area. Turns out we weren’t the only ones trying to find a cache. We prevailed, though! Our first cache.

As you can see, I now have the GPS  and map. Still, we were in the beginning of our treasure hunt and already messed up once. How could we mess up again? Well, you must know not us. The second cache should’ve just been around the bend. Not quite so close, but close enough. The other geocachers abandoned the hunt after the first one so we were left to fend for ourselves. And when I say that, I actually mean fend for ourselves.

I would feel sorry for her after defending herself from random branches and leaves, but she brought this upon herself. Let’s go back and take a look.

Rule number one of geocaching: Just because it looks like there’s a trail, doesn’t mean that it’s supposed to be one. Lesson learned. Of course as we continue in the woods, Kriston quips, “I feel like we’re almost there.” Rule number two of geocaching: Never trust Kriston’s feelings and/or intuition. After a couple (yes, a couple) more wrong turns, we finally find our second cache and switch out a toy. We had a fairly nice view on our walk. It made up for our lack of stamina and overall thirstiness. Actually, the water made it worse. At this point, we were about 45 minutes in and wanted to run into the lake. Next time we’re planning on bringing a light pack with some water in it.

Okay. So I feel that I should point out that it wasn’t just Kriston that was terrible at finding the caches in the beginning. I was equally responsible. But since I’m writing this, we can keep the responsibility on her shoulders.

So you know that time you lost your car keys and just couldn’t find them? The time that your left shoe was nowhere to be found? While you’re at it, your right shoe isn’t magically appearing, either. This cache was like that. The only difference is that we didn’t have the cache before we began.

Eventually we found it.  That feeling of “of course  it’s there” was high on my feeling chart.

In the middle of our adventure, Kriston and I found that I was better at using the GPS and she was better with the map. When I held the map, I never followed it anyway. That left me in Kriston’s hands. And we don’t want that. We eventually got into a good rhythm of finding the caches. Inside each one, we would sign the logbook with our names.

 

I would find some.

 

And so would Kriston.

We made a pretty good team. A rough start, but an awesome middle. Of course, we trekked for 2 and a half hours and needed a break. We found the perfect spot.

The fun part with geocaching is that you don’t have to go to every spot. It’s a fun activity that can be done with one person or in a group. If you ever played hide-and-seek when you were younger and always managed to be the seeker, then this is probably not for you. I’m only kidding of course. But really…

Our last cache was the most difficult to find. Like everything that comes around full circle, we unintentionally decided to do the same to this cache as we had to the first. That’s right. We passed it and then backtracked. It wasn’t really our fault though. I mean, look at this!

However, we kept with the pattern and found this one, too.

Being outside treasure-hunting for three hours was a lot of fun. We were glad to see the path back. Not because we don’t like the woods (we’re from Iowa, we’re used to it!), but because we were thirsty. Oh yeah, remember the toys I was talking about earlier? Look what we ended up with.

 

Hannah let us keep our prizes. I know we’re supposed to act like 22-year-olds, but I felt like a 10-year-old kid. We enjoyed geocaching so much that we’re planning on going again.  And I’ll be sure to post that adventure as well.