09 Dec 07
Well yesterday was quite an adventurous day and went to prove that skills, training and the right equipment are essential for any task to be successful.
A friend of mine, John, and I went for a hunting adventure that will not soon be forgot. We started off at approximately 9000 feet of elevation at 1030 Hrs. on a windy, snowy day and ended up back in Eagar, 13 inches of snow later with quite a story. I won’t try to relay all of the adventures here because the purpose of this short story is to give you an idea of the conditions we faced and how easily and with how much fun we got through it all.
The temperature was 0 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind never got BELOW 40 miles an hour all day. We headed off the top of some ridges in search of Elk for my family, which includes an Elk dinner for the conference attendees. Now if you weren’t aware, when the wind is howling and fresh storms move in, the animal’s bed down and hold out until the storm ends. This makes the scouting all the more difficult and the conditions don’t help that point at all. We headed first to the top of a ridge and as expected the binoculars were useless because they magnify the snow just as much as everything else. Within the first hour we had only covered 2 miles and were the wonderful recipients of 4 inches of snow so far. We then stumbled upon some elk tracks to add to the already discovered deer and turkey and were on our way. We traversed four more ridges and three valleys to get to the top of a knobby peak we knew was to the North that would give us a vantage point if the snow stopped. We did all of this through terrain feature navigation and the position of the sun because we had done our research and studied the area on maps beforehand. Also, by using the terrain features effectively one can travel with a lot less exertion and keep the wind to their back most of the time.
Once on the knobby peak we were faced with even higher winds and more aggressive snow flurries and still useless binoculars. Needless to say, the decision was made quickly to build a fire (if something as large as what we had can be called a fire) and hold out until a break in the storm. Remember, we are building a fire on a mountain peak in 40+ mph winds and snow, which was now pushing 8 inches in depth. Through proper selection of kindling and wood types it only took one match and we had a blaze going that soon dried our clothing, lifted our spirits and had us sitting 4 feet away to keep from burning up ourselves. Just so you can fully get an idea of what a task this fire was to build with one match, it had rained the previous three days before this storm! While we waited for a break in the storm, we pulled some jerky from our “possibles bag”, melted snow with help from our belt survival kit and had food and drink. While we waited for breaks in the storm we ate, drank fresh water and visited about all manner of subjects. I know this is a foreign thing to much of the “civilized” world today but it used to be referred to as camaraderie, or fun depending on whom you are. When there was a break in the snow we finally got to put the binoculars to use and “glass” the ridges and valley’s for game, all the time reconfirming our position based on terrain. About 4:30 we decided to head down knowing the sun wasn’t going to last much longer (a moot point because of our belt kit contents) and proceeded to town. That’s right, we walked through these conditions which culminated in 13 inches of snow, 9 miles of travel, enjoyed the day and were successful in all that we had ventured out to accomplish. Then just decided to go the rest of the way to town and catch a ride home.
The points I want to re-enforce in this story are these:
1) Not once did I ever fear for my life or even worry whatsoever.
2) We accomplished everything we had started out to do.
3) I had a ton of fun and strengthened an already excellent friendship.
This can be attributed to: skills, training, proper selection of components, ease of use and carry of those components while utilizing the tools around us in our environment.
One more point to stress here is that all of this has been taught at HOTT Conferences and will be re-enforced and expanded upon during our HOTT Conference 2008!
John Doyel, Shamley