PART IV OF VI
This is part one of a four part six where I will share my journal with you. Because it is a copy of my journal, I will get intimate and emotional at times. I will mention gear, what worked and what didn’t for future reference. And I will try to capture the context of the hunt so that I can reflect on it years from now. I hope you enjoy the hunt!
Friday Sept 23rd:
6:05 Man this sleeping bag is cold! More heavy rain and fog, which turns to heavy snow around 11:00 am. I’m talking white-out snow. The definition of what mountain hunters refer to as being “soaked-in”. Heavy coffee consumption and after actions report from the previous day consumed the entire morning. Scott and Chris estimated to be 50”, but no elk.
11:47- still raining, time for lunch. My meal replacement shake and protein bar hardly warm the core. Scott’s homemade dehydrated sweet potato hash creates serious lunch envy in the cold camp. Getting ancy and ready to hunt, blizzard or not. At 3:00 I close the least page of “A Time to Die” by Tom Wood. 469 pages in 2.5 days. A record for me, but not why I came to the mountains. We lace up our boots, partially frozen from being wet for 3 days and head out into the show. The meadow we referred to as Willow Park was beautiful. Nearly 4” of snow had had accumulated, covering the dense grass and layering the needles of the spruce and fir trees.
Scott, Jeremy and I crossed the Weminuche creek and started gaining elevation, hoping to cut a fresh track in the snow. Fearing we may spook before we can see them in the timber, we follow a trail around the ridge and stalk into a series of small meadows at the bottom of a natural funnel where elk would end up if they migrate down to escape the snow. No sign. We call it quits after 3 hours of hiking and getting some amazing photos. Thanks to our sika gear we stayed warm and dry. Time for some mountain house before crawling into a freezing cold sleeping bag. I boil extra water, poor it into my Nalgene bottle and place it in my sleeping bag. That should keep my toes warm until at least 1:00 am. 2.5 miles walked, 5 cups of coffee, 10 hours in the tent, personal best for pages read.