Next to a sucker punch to the gut; there is only one other thing I can think of that will slam you down to the street top of reality then coming home after a stressful day of work and finding your back door kicked in.
That was the icing on my day a couple of Thursdays ago. After finding my back door smashed in; my wife and I discovered that "only a few things had been taken"....but come on! Of course; the things they stole were either things we used everyday or they were irreplaceable family heirlooms.
And again, of course what they stole from me really hit home; because they stole my Diamond Iceman and complete hunting setup. Since it's only 5 or so weeks away from my first back country hunt, I would have rather had the entire Seattle Seahawks football team, lineup and kick me in the junk!
I knew right away the thief (or thieves) were either "not to bright" or not outdoorsmen because they left behind quite a bit of gear and "thank God" that they didn't take my Sitka Gear! LOL.
So the next couple of days following the break-in were very stressful for us and I know for myself, I walked around in a "dark fog". The first step up the mountain and out of the "valley of despair" came in the form of a plain brown box, bound with Sitka packing tape. I had completely forgot about the order I had placed the following week for some solid colored 90% pants. (I love 90% pants!) You can imagine my "frown turned upside down" at this point, I just couldn't wait to go test them out!
Before the break-in had occurred, I had standing plans to get up early that Saturday morning and make the three hour drive to my favorite back country place; of which I plan to hunt over Labor Day weekend and put some serious boot leather down. I was not going to let some dirt bag ruin my plans and interrupt my life any more than he already had. Since I didn't want to leave my wife home alone all day, I decided to let her sleep in a bit (I had planned on leaving at 4:00 am) and scrap my day of scouting. Instead, I decided to drag her along so she could share in the beauty of one of my most favorite back country spots and let nature clear our minds.
Somehow I had forgotten how beautiful this place is, but soon remembered why I planned to make the 7 mile hike into the trail head once more this season (they shut the access gate mid August. This makes for about a 9 mile pack in but also for uncrowded hunting).
The mosquitoes were horrible and the elevation was really getting to my wife, but it didn't take long and we both had completely forgot about any previous woes and were content just to soak up some "positive vibes" from the mountain. It never ceases to amaze me how a few trees and a high perch has a way of completely erasing any tension you may be feeling at that moment....even if you are being devoured by mosquitoes!
Like I said before, my wife wasn't doing well with the elevation; we live at right around 1,900 feet and our little foray took us to around 6,000 feet. So we decided to stop and just chill for a bit. Since the Mosquitoes were just going to town and taking chunks out of us, I decided to build a small fire in the hopes it would keep them at bay a bit. What a perfect time to try out new gear! I've been carrying a "Swedish Steel" fire starter in my pack for quite awhile but had yet to try it out since I usually "cheat" and use vaseline soaked cotton balls and a lighter...hey, it works and I don't claim to be some kind of Grizzly Adams! (actually my legal name is: Jeremiah Johnson, but that's another story)
Anyhow, with one square of TP, some dry cedar and a few strikes from the fire starter and WHOOSH! We had us a nice little bit of respite from the blood suckers. After my wife felt a bit better and I had sufficently put out our fire, we continued on and had a nice little surprise. We hadn't gone far when we were about to clear the last bit of timber and got a good look at the ridge we needed to climb to be "on top of the world". I turned to look at my wife to see if she was "still with me"; just then some movement on the rock slide, a couple hundred of yards from us caught my attention. At first I thought it was a young Bighorn Sheep crossing the rock slide but after I hit em' with some glass I was thrilled to see that it was in fact a young wolf ! Now being a "predator" myself and hearing all the negative stories and seeing firsthand what these "reintroduced" wolves have done to our Elk herds...I won't lie, at first my thoughts weren't all that "warm and fuzzy". But after a few seconds I became mesmerized by the whole scene. I quickly forgot about this "nuisance" and soon felt a strong connection to this seeker of "the high and lonesome". I was in his domain and it was beautiful to behold.
Shortly after, as we were making our way up the last, almost vertical 500 feet or so, my wife said "no mas" so we turned around and started our descent. Even though I didn't complete my scouting goal that day, I chalked it up as a successful outing. Just getting to spend some time in the thin and clean mountain air, seeing a beautiful wolf in "his" territory and earlier in the day seeing the largest Black Bear I'd ever seen (he could have easily gone 400 lbs.) suited me just fine and went a long way in excercising our "break-in demons".
Now things are slowly getting back to what passes for normality in our world, it looks like the insurance claim should be getting wrapped up pretty soon and we don't get as many butterflies in our stomaches when we think about leaving the house.
Since I haven't had my compound around and I have NO idea if and when I'll be able to get a new setup; I've been shooting my longbow almost every night and I swear this is the best I've ever shot it! I've always been "Trad" at heart so it's not hard to fall back into the old groove. Of course my range has fallen back under 15 yards or so, but my confidence is coming back. Still trying to be positive and not "let a dirt bag" disrupt my life; I'm determined to be in the mountains come Labor Day.
Life must go on...!
Rockin' Sitka solids and starting fires!
Along this stretch of trail you experince a little vertigo...!
My wife; trying to pretend that "mosquitoes and high elevation" don't bother her one bit.
My dog "saxton" ticked at me for tying him to a tree.....hey! There's Wolves and Grizzly bears in these parts!
If you notice the rock slide in the center of the pic; you'll see where the wolf crossed. Of course I was too "stuck on stupid" to remember that I had a camera and was too busy gawking through my binos...!LOL.