Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Defeated in Colorado

     My recent backpacking trip in Colorado where we were suppposed to be bow-hunting for elk turned out to be a disappoint- ment.  We scrambled our internal organs over 38 miles of 4-wheel-drive, boulder-strewn dirt roads to access the Flat Tops Wilderness Area in the White River National Forest.  Then we tortured ourselves by strapping 70-pound packs to our backs to forge rivers and climb another 4 1/2 miles on foot.  We flat-landers decided to camp at about 10,500 feet of elevation.  Our reward included gasping for breath, headaches, nausea and bloody noses.  The consolation was that we saw some of the most beautiful country in the world.  The biggest problem after overcoming the physical challenges was that we weren't seeing any elk.  We had done our research, drawn a good unit, but the elk weren't cooperating.  We saw lots of sign -- old elk poop and tracks -- but not the elk themselves.  On day two, while still exploring the area, I did spook an elk out of its bed.  But that area was so thick that even though I was only about 30 yards away from him when he stomped away, I never caught even a glimpse of him.  After a few days of trying to hunt through an endless obstacle course of downed trees, we decided to head down the mountain to avoid the two days of driving rain and high winds that were next on the agenda.  When the weather improved and we returned to our mountain, the elk were absent still.  My hunting companions, all young enough to keep trying for the next 30 years or so, just chalked it up to experience.  I took things a little harder, perhaps, knowing that as the "grandpa" on the trip, I might not have the chance again. 

Now taking orders for new book

     We are now taking orders for my new book, "I'd Rather Get Blisters," at http://www.briarhillbooks.com/.  This is another collection of my hopefully humorous magazine columns that appeared over the years in Game & Fish Publications, such as New York Game & Fish, Pennsylvania Game & Fish, etc.  The book is scheduled to be shipped in early November, in time for holiday gift giving.  It includes 54 stories about trying to juggle my passion for hunting and fishing with family life.  Again I was able to coax artistic phenom Dave Harshberger to illustrate the book.  Unlike my first book, this one is initially offered in a more economical soft-cover edition.  Click on the link above to learn how you can save money on it by ordering it pre-production.  Order both of my books together and you'll save even more.