Monday, March 2, 2015

The Great Arctic Deer Hunt - Part 1

       In the summer of 2013, I turned 12 years old. And that is a BIG deal in our family. I was able to receive the priesthood, leave the bondage of elementary school – and hunt big game. Naturally, of course, I was leaning over the tailgate of the truck pulling the trigger within weeks of my birthday. This is the story of the - I shouldn't say “failed,” let’s just call it the “less successful” deer hunt experience of 2013. Hey, we did get 16 inches of snow!

       We always and forever will go hunting for critters at The Cabin. It is so great to be tromping through the snow or whatever searching for critters and then, cold, tired and hungry, to come back to the crackling fire and a warm meal. That is one sure darn nice thing about it. So, we drove up to The Cabin amidst a light snowy, rainy mix. We had seen the forecast previously, and although it did call for a little bit of snow, we weren't concerned. It was September, after all! It occasionally might flurry a tiny bit for a while but we never really get true snow at that time of year. So, as we drove along, climbing higher and higher through the mountains as the light drizzle turned to flurries, we weren't a tad bit concerned. We started developing issues when the pavement ended.   
     Yeah, it was a mess. Those dirt roads hadn’t any snow for the
past few months, and they were just as slick and icky as anything else. Luckily we had a 4-Wheel Drive three quarter ton
pickup and just sort of plowed on cautiously. When we reached the cabin, we unpacked, got everything prepared, and then fixed dinner. We had a pleasant evening, getting weaponry ready and formulating a game plan for the next day, while the snow continued to lightly fall. By now we had an inch or so, not entirely enough to hamper progress but we commented that it was a little unusual. So, we went to bed with tummies full, and ready to face the next day.
       We had planned to wake up at 5:00-5:30ish, so I was a little surprised when I finally rolled out of bed around 7:00. One look out the window told me the reason though: yeah, there was over a foot of snow and it was still falling fast. We were utterly aghast; this was absolutely the most snow ever recorded in September up there. We knew it would be folly to try and hunt that day, all the critters would just bed down and sort of wait for the storm to recess, so we wouldn’t have much of a chance at hunting.
     We spent the day just sort of hanging out. Now, I don’t know much, but this much I can tell you: sitting by the crackling fire drinking hot chocolate and playing board games while the snow falls outside the window, that is one of the better things to do in life. We watched the Iron Man trilogy, played numerous board games, and burnt through (it seemed) about seventeen tons of Swiss Miss. 
      We had a little incident with a falling tree. There is only one access road into our Cabin area, and that thing is like gold. It’s our only way to get in and out of there, so we were naturally were a little surprised when we saw that it had been blocked by a huge fallen pine tree. So, we got on like 15 pounds of snow gear, and headed out to try to clear this tree out. When we got there, we noticed that someone else had been working on it, trying to get in. So, we brought out the humongous tow rope, threw the truck into 4x4 low, and put the pedal to the medal. The tree didn’t budge. We tried again. There was a loud snap and suddenly our precious tow rope was in two pieces! So, we spent the rest of the afternoon with the chainsaw cutting the poor tree into little bits and tossing them to the side. With the mission complete, we headed back to the Cabin, ate a warm meal, and headed to bed while the snow continued to fall.

-The Ranger

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