Outdoor Humorist Steven Paul Barlow, author of "I'd Rather Get Blisters" and "My Brushes With Death And Other Outdoor Blunders," www.briarhillbooks.com, comments on his ongoing attempts to add adventure to his everyday existence through outings of hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, canoeing and biking with friends and family -- the mini misadventures of an outdoorsman. You are welcome to add your comments to any of these postings. Click "comments".
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.