IT’S AMAZING WHAT you’ll see when you spend some time outdoors.

In 71 years of roaming this planet, I have been fortunate enough to see plenty of amazing things while fishing, hunting, camping, skiing, snowshoeing or doing anything else that has put me in the outdoors.

One of the most memorable occasions for me was the afternoon some 30 years ago or so, when I was fishing with a couple from Minneapolis, Minn., who were celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary. They were trying to replicate their honeymoon experience which included a stay at Froelich’s Sayner Lodge and a guided fishing outing with a shore lunch.

While everything else was going well in that endeavor, the fishing, particularly the catching, was not. A morning outing on a “can’t miss northern pike” lake totally swung and missed. The shore lunch was good. The afternoon fishing on another lake wasn’t a total fizzle, but it wasn’t much to write home about either.

What made the day was a bald eagle. Actually, in part, it involved two bald eagles. While we fished, I spotted an immature bald eagle making a dive bomb attack near the shore of a little point about 200 yards from us. “Look quick,” I hollered at the couple, who were facing the opposite way. “There’s a bald eagle catching a fish.”

While we watched, the eagle thrashed around in the water then, took off with not a fish, but a wood duck in its talons. It landed on a muskrat house about 100 yards from us. With the wind in our favor, I let the boat drift to about 50 yards from the eagle then, dropped anchor.

While we watched it tearing the wood duck to shreds, a mature eagle swooped down to try and steal the prize. A battle royal ensued with both birds slashing with beaks and talons. Amazingly and rightfully so, the young bird drove off the old one and after a bit more feeding, it took off, carrying the scant remains of the carcass. All the while, the enthralled couple shot up about two rolls of film while the young eagle ate and fought.

The last hour of fishing was merely for show. The talk was all bald eagles. Back at the lodge, the couple shrugged off the poor fishing. When we parted, the husband shook my hand, his hand holding a folded bill. “This is for the eagle,” he said. First looking at it when I got home, I discovered it was a $50 bill. Not bad when my entire guide fee for the day was $90.

Ah, but there have been many great adventures in the outdoors that have made for lifelong lasting memories. There were the three tiny bear cubs that scampered up a tree 10 feet from me as I wheeled past on my mountain bike while riding a snowmobile trail one summer; an alert Momma whirling around to face me from 10 yards away to make sure I wasn’t a threat.

There were the two times in North Dakota when I had a bull moose amble along the edge of a pond no farther than 5 yards from me where I, dressed in full camo, watched for incoming ducks. The first time, the bull, a young guy with a small rack, became enraged by a coot swooshing out from shoreline alders to scoot between his legs. A mad chase ensued which ended with the moose standing knee-deep in the pond shaking his head in disgust.

The second time, a big bull with a 45-inch spread of antlers, came out of a field, entered the pond where I was sitting with my back against a willow and eventually, wandered through my decoys, accidentally kicking one, before coming straight to my tree where it nibbled off willow fronds for breakfast. Amazingly, the seat of my pants was still clean after that encounter.

Few things in the woods amaze me more than the destruction a pileated woodpecker can do to a semi-rotted tree, especially a softer wood tree like a popple, pine or birch. In searching for a meal of grubs, those most beautiful of all woodpeckers rip out huge chunks of the tree, some a foot or more long and 2 or 3 inches thick. When you see the pile of wood on the ground they have stacked up, you can only shake your head in amazement while wondering how much puncturing they could do to your noggin if they took a notion to do so.

Amazement in the outdoors doesn’t stop with mammals. Maples covered with brilliant red leaves in September, a hillside absolutely covered with pale purple autumn blooming asters, a pitcher plant in the process of devouring a large insect or two, a 22-inch northern pike thrashing the water with a 15-inch walleye crosswise in its mouth are just a few of the wondrous sights nature sometimes provides the outdoor person.

And that’s not all. Wonderful things in the outdoors don’t stop with living creatures. There is an occasional double rainbow to provide a feast for your eyes. There is the immense roar of a waterfall like Tahquamenon in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the largest east of the Rockies, save for Niagara. For me, the 12,600-foot-high Cloud Peak in the Bighorn Mountains was a magnificent site to see, as was Pikes Peak in Colorado and Mt. Rainier in Washington.

So much to see in the outdoors. Amazing things are waiting for you to come along. All you have to do is get out there to have it happen.