Here’s the real deal. When I found out we were going to throw axes during a trip to Ouray, Colorado, I wasn’t thrilled. After all, throwing axes sounds athletic and I am not athletic. It also sounds a bit like manual labor and I’m no fan of manual labor.
Fast forward to our trip to Ouray in July and we decide to throw axes after horseback riding and before heading to the hot springs pool. Ryan was pretty stoked about it but I was more excited to get this activity out of the way so that I could soak.
Located at the edge of town, we arrived at The Highland Axe Throwing Company on a warm afternoon. Things got interesting right away as we were greeted by a huge guy wearing a kilt. His name was Andy and he had a Scottish brogue.
Suddenly, this activity seemed a little better and a bit more authentic. After all, a tall guy in a kilt with a Scottish brogue is exactly the type of person you want as an axe-throwing teacher.
It turns out that despite his last name being Carrie, Andy is a direct descendant of the Wallaces. You remember that clan, right? They are downright famous and esteemed.
My ancestors also hail from Scotland although we are not esteemed. In fact, Kerr is basically a derogatory word in the United Kingdom (I wish I were kidding). My ancestors were horse people who never wore kilts. We’d fight for whichever side wanted to pay us more gold; sometimes that was a Scottish Lord and sometimes an English one. Yes, we were mercenaries.
By the way, this ancestral story has been pieced together through various outlets including a great, great, great aunt who did some family research. It cannot be verified as 100% true nor 100% false but I am here to tell you that the Kerrs were no Wallaces.
Despite my somewhat scurrilous ancestry, Andy agreed to show me how to throw an axe. First I threw a regular-sized axe. This was not pretty.
I switched to a smaller axe. This didn’t solve my problem.
I just wasn’t getting the hang of it.
Of course, Ryan, who seems to be good at anything athletic, was very good at throwing axes.
About 20 minutes into the activity I decided that both Ryan and Andy could be in my army but that I would need to be the person at the back of the melee just sitting astride my horse looking pretty.
Thirty-minutes into axe throwing, my throws consistently ended in an unpleasant thwaking noise as the axe smacked the board and then unceremoniously clattered to the ground.
“Get mad!” said Andy.
With sweat streaming down my face, I stopped thinking so hard about my form and simply threw the axe. In this way it was a lot like golf, another game I tend to overthink.
This time, steel connected with wood in a more solid thunk and the axe stuck to the wall. To say that it was satisfying would be an understatement.
Note on video: Ryan missed the first part of the throw but did manage to get the satisfying thunk and my reaction.
I threw three more times and each time the axe stuck with a gratifying thunk into the wood. The key was to not overthink it and just throw.
I think that axe throwing accesses something deep within our souls. Perhaps we are connecting with our ancestors on some visceral level. Then again, perhaps there is no deeper meaning at all, but the fact is, axe throwing is fun.
While I probably won’t be invited to join an axe-throwing army anytime soon I look forward to the next time I get to throw an axe and that’s a win for this activity in Ouray.
Thank you to Ouray, Colorado for hosting this trip.