Hikes and Stories

Atlatl: Making Connections With Our Nation’s History

Do you believe that all things are connected? Coincidence?  I had an interesting thing happen to me while we were on our Colorado road trip in the summer of 2016 that has stuck in my mind ever since.

If you remember when I wrote about taking a hike on the Layser Cave Trail up White Pass in Washington State in May of 2016, there were markers along the trail that talked about the native Americans who lived in the area and the tools they used.  My friend and Elizabeth noticed a hunting tool called a Atlatl and wondered how it worked.  We stood there and imagined how to throw one in the air like it was demonstrated in the pictures.


The funny thing was, while traveling toward Canyonlands in August of that same year, the family and I pulled off down a side road to visit Chimney Rock National Monument.  It turned out it was too late to take the walk up to the actual monument we could see from the road, however, the guide told us that we had 15 minutes to practice throwing a hunting weapon that was used by the native inhabitants of the area.

The Atlatl.  Seriously!  I may have let out a squeal of joy.  Maybe.

He patiently showed us how to use the tool and it as fun to watch the kids  all take turns aiming at straw bales in the distance.  I think I was more excited than the kids!  Wait, I know I was more excited than the kids.

We all got to practice actually throwing one of those things at targets. I can’t say I was all that good but it sure was fun.  Please don’t notice the open-toed shoes…

Our guide took our picture together as a family and I not only thought about how powerful it was to have this opportunity to connect with our country’s history but how this chance event would be part of our newly forming family’s history, as well.  If you follow me, you know this road trip was not all puppies and rainbows, but these smiles will always be one of my favorite memories and one of the many reasons I love visiting our national parks and monuments.

This post was written in an hour in response to the #NatureWritingChallenge on Twitter.

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2 thoughts on “Atlatl: Making Connections With Our Nation’s History

    1. There is definitely some skill needed and with a bit more practice I think it would actually be pretty accurate. The whole flick-of-the-wrist thing. The kids did much better than I did!

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