Truly, a man for all seasons

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Posted Tue, Nov 2, 2010

A man who experienced more in 20 years than most people do in their entire life, Ed Zimmerman is a man with many stories to tell.

When  Zimmerman was a youngster, his father read him a book about Africa.

            “I remember thinking then, that I wanted to go there,” said Zimmerman.

            He had to make it through 12 years of Catholic School where he wasn’t heavily involved before any traveling plans could commence.

            “When it was over, if I got the choice to go to another high school or jail, I would’ve gone to jail.”

            After he graduated in 1966, Zimmerman decided to begin his journeys to different parts of the world.

            He started out by working at a taxidermist and a grocery store, saving money, then traveling across the U.S. for a few months at a time.

            He journeyed to the Great Smoky Mountains then up through D.C. and thought to himself, “If these mountains are great, the Rocky Mountains gotta be fantastic.”

            When he was 19-years-old Zimmerman decided to take a backpacking trip by himself in the Absorka Mountains near Yellowstone National Park.

            The trip was supposed to last a month, but got cut short to two weeks after Zimmerman got caught in a river after trying to cross it on a log.

            A wave came up onto his right foot and the next thing he knew, he was in the river thinking, “This is a stupid way to die.”

            The temperature of the water and the weight of his backpack made him black out.

            He woke up to himself coughing and was caught on a pine tree that was hanging off the bank of the river.

            Zimmerman untangled himself and drifted to a nearby sandbank.

            He could have continued his backpacking trip, but in the midst of being carried down the river, his sleeping bag stayed in the river.

            After sleeping between two fires, he hiked 12 miles downhill the next day.

            He traveled back to Ohio and got back to work at the taxidermy and grocery store.

            The taxidermist he worked for asked Zimmerman if he wanted to go to Africa for two months to help guide safaris for wild animals.

            For some, this wouldn’t be a tough decision to make but Zimmerman had been saving his money for another trip across the U.S.

            After a couple days, he chose Africa and left for two months.

            They guided hunts for 2 weeks at a time then headed to Ethiopia, Pakistan and India.

            He was in Calcutta when he decided that is one place he never wanted to go back to.

            “It’s the only place I’ve stepped over dead bodies on the sidewalk.”

            For 15 days, they hunted tigers on the backs of elephants on the border of China.

            In the tropical rainforest, the tigers just pushed trees and bushes out of the way by walking through them.

            The hunters would then set up platforms 10-feet-high in the trees and wait for the tigers to come into an open spot then make the kill.

            “When you do something that exciting, it takes more than that to get excited again,” Zimmerman said. “ Then that’s what you start to crave.”

            Any chance he got, he was traveling to different parts of the world seeing historical art, architecture, land masses fishing in the Amazon River and taking pictures of over 3000 animals at one time.

            “Then I got boring and got a regular job,” Zimmerman said about working in the travel business and industrial sales.

            When he was 31-years-old, he got a job for a hydraulic company.

            “Saturday and Sunday used to seem longer than Monday through Friday.”

            He then went into business for himself from 1988-2008 training different company’s employees on how to use certain types of machineries.

            His last trip was to Alaska this summer to fish for two weeks and plans to go back next summer.

            When he isn’t traveling, he likes to spend time with his neighbors who say he is “interesting with a lot of stories to tell.”          

            One neighbor, Cody Ross, who says Zimmerman is “the oldest friend he has,” enjoys going to what Zimmerman calls “the junk store.”

            Once in a while, Ross joins Zimmerman in his weekly trip to Goodwill or ARC to just shop around.

            Zimmerman plans to spend the rest of his life with the people he enjoys being around and sharing his stories.

 “The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know.”

One Response to “Truly, a man for all seasons”

  1. chelsie Says:

    I had no idea that he has had such an interesting life…he comes into my work frequently and I usually help him in the photo department! Good story!

    Reply

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