Saturday, April 15, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 94th Installment

Russ asked Victor, “Do you deer or elk hunt?”

Dad won’t let me yet. He said that if I got a job and bought my own gun and bullets, then I could go,” Victor told us, “although,” he added, “Dad and Richard have taken me along to bird dog the last two years.”

Casey and I have hunted and shot our deer the last two years, and before that, we were taken to bird dog for the Old Man and Uncle Chick.” Russ explained.

Hunting I like – bird dogging, maybe.” I said ambivalently.

I had my reasons for disliking bird dogging. One time, when Russ and I were quite young – nine or ten – they took us to the mountains above Medicine Lodge. The trust was liberating, but the Old Man just sent us out, like he wasn’t that worried that we might never come back.”

We stopped on a snow covered dirt road going up a canyon, “Get out you knuckleheads, and let me show you what to do. Ascend this mountain to the ridge line,” the Old Man pointed as we strained to see where he was pointing. “Follow the ridge through that next canyon, climb back on the ridge and follow it until it splits there,” still pointing this time with both hands. “Hold right and continue until we find you and pick you up.” We set out as the truck, our ride home, disappeared into the trees. We had stepped out of the pickup into about four inches of snow, and it was getting deeper as we went up the mountain causing us to struggle a bit. We followed the ridgeline for what seemed like hours, but it was probably only an hour. We dropped down into the first canyon, and at the bottom it appeared like there were two different ways to ascend. We held right, making the ridge again and kept moving. 
Maybe this is the right ‘right’ ridge, maybe not, but don’t you think we should be there by now?” I was starting to get worried. My feet and jeans were wet and in the deep trees without sun it was real cold. Russ was also worried, but said we should soldier on, although he looked as wet and cold as I was. Sometime later I was scared because we started dropping into another canyon and this was different than what we’d been told. However, at the bottom of the valley we could see a thin stream of smoke not far away.

Fire!” was all I could muster and we both knew we’d go for it. We found a road and followed it toward the smoke. “Why is there a road, the Old Man never said anything about a road?” I asked with a bit of fear gnawing at my gut.

We arrived at a campfire where two other hunters had made their late lunch. “Hello?”

500 more words tomorrow

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