Training is underway and going really well. I'm down 17lbs and looking to drop ~20 more. The diet is in place and even though the calories are lower than lizard piss I've still got good energy.
For now the stairwell and the treadmill have been getting most of my attention. Wednesday will be my first trek up Old Rag here in VA. I'd like to get 10 up and downs in before I leave for AK.
I'm beyond excited for this one so let's hear some goat hunt stories or see some success photos to keep my motivation going!
Stone Glacier Sky Archer 6400 w/water cover, Kuiu Yukon Rain Gear, Kuiu Guide Jacket, Kuiu Guide Pants, 2 pair, Kuiu Ultra Merino 125 SS shirt, 2, Kuiu Ultra Merino 125 LS shirt, 2, Kuiu Merino Base Layer pants, 3 pair, Kuiu Merino Hoodie (MAYBE), Kuiu Merino Beanie, Kuiu Bino/Rangefinder Harness, First Lite Gloves, Leupold Binos/Rangefinder, Kenetrek Mountain Extreme boots w/extra laces, Kenetrek Liner sock, 3 pair, Kenetrek Alaska over sock, 3 pair, Kenetrek Gaiters, Kifaru 0 Degree Slick Bag, Leukotape Blister kit, Mathews Traverse, 12 arrows w/broadheads, Stan release, Water bottle, Video camera, Anker Battery pack, Chest waders, Wading shoes.
There are masks that replicate O2 deprivation. But holding your breath is free.
This is a cheap way to replicate leg burn and Oxygen starvation.
Learn the “Rest Step”
On a good day of goat hunting you'll be so tired and sore you will be afraid you are going to die. On a tough day of goat hunting you'll be so tired and sore you will be afraid you are not going to die.
Ned, for chest waders I went with White River and Frogg Togg wading boots. I didn't go "top shelf" since they'll only be used briefly at the beginning and end of the hunt. They met Dennis's approval so they should be good to go.
On my second trip, the rain pounded again on the first day and I was thinking, no not again! Archery exclusivity was not important to me on this trip. Before I even started I told myself I was coming home with a goat, rifle or bow, but was first going to try with my bow. When the weather broke I found myself at 41 yards again at full draw from a huge B&C Billy. He was quartered to me and I just needed a step. It never came and he blew out of there. He was the only mature goat on our side of the mountain that we could tell. He was too big for me to let him get away. When we caught back up to him several hours later, I shot him with a gun. No regrets. Had great experiences both times, even despite the weather.
Hunted bears with Dennis in 2019 and needed sunscreen. It was downright hot! So be prepared for anything. No bears but my cousin shot a nice Billy.
I’m curious as to why you would need to lose muscle, Eric?
Good luck on your hunt, but as I seem to recall on a few of your recent hunts posted on here, you were tagged out pretty quickly! ;-)
Once upon a time I had a bad habit of bodybuilding. Turns out getting the muscle off is just as hard as putting it on.
I'm currently a lean 250lbs but move much better at 230lbs. That's where I was on my last goat hunt and things felt much better at that weight. Plus it gives me a goal to work toward. I feel like I work better if I have a clear cut goal to try to reach. That being said 230 is the number I've gotta see on the scale. The idea of lugging an extra 20lbs of dead weight up the hill doesn't sit well with me so it's gotta go!
A Sherpa Went back down to camp 2. got some adrenaline came back up and he was given adrenaline with CPR but it did not work. He seemed very healthy.
I firmly believe that archery goat is the most attainable new WR.
I agree with Ambush. That means they will be excited to get a client that can finally get to that spot where they think an 11” Goat is.
Speaking of the Mt Everest thing being a tourist trap....I remember this photo being in the news a few years ago showing the crowded pathway going up. I give folks alot of credit for attempting the climb.....I could not do it these days.
You are a big guy and I presume that you have your workouts as dialed in as your diet. I read that you are trying to cut 20 lbs. That should be no big deal BUT in my opinion you need more calories if you use your workout as your deficit you will have the same results or better than running a calorie deficit and workout deficit.
My data set is a cross section of people all with the similar goal and it is surprising who wins the challenges. It is always the people who have a balanced system not the cutters.
Get the hamskea 3rd axis leveler and practice steep shots if you can. GOOD LUCK !!
Another topic I’m sure your well aware of, is to train to your heart rate. Learn your resting , working and Maximum heart rates. Then when on the mountain stay under your max. Or don’t go above max too long. You will last longer day to day by wearing a heart rate monitor and following it.
Read this article. Runners World Heart rate training can make you faster. Here’s how
@Jake, the rest step method has been super useful. Typically I only have one gear when it comes to training and it's pedal to the metal, full speed ahead. Learning to actually slow down is taking some getting used to but it's coming. I owe you some Mt Goat hotdogs! LOL. If I get one I'll have to bring some by.
I really appreciate all the responses fellas. You guys are awesome. Thank you!!
But it sounds like a Eric has a lot of work out experience and enjoys the fitness lifestyle. So why not be 100% prepared. Or even over prepared. I doubt many guides say “I wish my client would have prepared less”
I LOVE goats! Easily my favorite animal. I’ll be pure giddy with excitement when I get there so the attitude will definitely be cheery.
@Nate. I didn’t expect to hunt along side Dennis himself. If so that’ll be completely awesome. I’ve heard nothing but good things about his guides so either way I’ll be in good hands.
I still remember sitting in my apartment in Colorado Springs as a young Airman around ‘98-99 watching Dennis and Tom hunt for his goat. It’ll be super cool to meet him in person and shake his hand.
Hope y’all are having a great Memorial Day weekend!!
The biggest win of that trip was the next morning I wasn't as sore as I expected to be and could have repeated the hike.
I did get crampy in the calves toward the top. I plan to supplement with electrolytes on my next trip. I sweat like a hog and by the time I got to the top I'd pushed out a huge amount of sodium.
I feel ahead of schedule diet wise. I was 243.8 Friday morning. As of now I'm down 25lbs. I'm still shooting for 230lbs. At that weight I'll be down to bare metal and not lugging any extra junk up the hill.
My confidence is high, I'm shooting well and moving well. Those goats are in trouble!
But at least you will be able to carry the whole thing down when you’re shoot one
Like you stated in a post above, “those goals are in trouble”!
And then on another note being able to lay in a tent for possibly days and wait weather out is another very tough mental task, sometimes worse than the physical part. I would have audio books, backup chargers for your phone and maybe even an old school, very thick book with small writing so it lasts longer as backup. I’ve had a few guys on sheep hunts use a break in bad weather to get the heck out they are going so stir crazy. They are afraid of missing flights home, they get home sick, scared. If there are bears around they can’t sleep at night and they just fall apart, even very fit guys sometimes. And I think my relaxed attitude about being weathered in and 8-9 hrs of solid sleep each night, not concerned about bears, made then irritated too. But I was getting paid to be there, not paying to be there.
Try to enjoy just being there and living the experience and that will greatly up your chance for success!
@ WV I totally agree and I'm being as cautious as possible. I've got way too much invested in this hunt to break myself 2 months out! I run fairly depleted most of the week but I'll throw cheats at myself here and there as my energy levels and look dictate. It recharges my metabolism and keeps my leptin levels up. The scale is moving in the right direction and I'm getting in good workouts. Right now I don't feel like I'm overdoing it to the point of injury but being cautious nonetheless.
My trip to BC was killer. My guide was great and we saw tons of goats but none that wanted to play along. I guess I just want to check out AK. For me this is about adventure as much as it is the hunt so I want to see lots of places. That being said Dennis has a rock solid rep with archery goats and as stubborn as I am about getting one with the bow I think it's the best option.
The other thing you can’t train for is walking with crampons strapped to your boots. Try walking in your wife’s high heels with sticks and muck stuck in them. They are miserable! But do not take them off. You may seriously lose your life if you slip without them on. And absolutely bring leukotape! Those crampons change the way your boots rub. Add in swampy feet from the saturation and blisters are a certainty. You just need to manage them. Care for your feet or your whole hunt is toast.
Crampons will be new to me so I’ll embrace the suck when the time comes.
@Mike I haven’t done much side hilling. I need to put that in the mix.
We'll start the story as I arrive in Cordova.
The quick hop from Anchorage to Cordova was amazing! The views were incredible. This being my first time to Alaska I was snapping pics like a tourist the entire time. We land to typical Alaska weather; cold, cloudy and wet. The airport in Cordova was easily the smallest airport I've ever been to. The bags come off the plane at almost the same time we do. Even though folks are wearing masks I recognize Dennis instantly. We exchange greetings, load up our luggage and off we go. My hunting buddy Sean and I load up with Dennis and the 2 other hunters load up with Wes. Dennis drops us off at The Reluctant Fisherman to get checked in and says he'll be back in a few hours to take us to his place for paperwork and dinner. I've heard about Alicia's cooking and was super excited to give it a day in court. We get all checked in and in a couple hours we get the call. We load up the bows and head over to Casa De Zadra.
Upon arrival there's ton of activity at Dennis's place. Guides are shaking gear out, guys are shooting their bows, going over their rigs and talking Goats. There was an energy there that got me even more excited about what was to come. After shooting my bow and seeing that it was still driving nails we make our way inside to get paperwork taken care of and have some dinner.
Alicia made pasta with a Moose and Goat meat sauce. It was INCREDIBLE!!! After nearly eating myself into a coma we wrap up the night and head back to the hotel. We're to be the second group to leave in the morning. Wheels up at 11am. My excitement level is through the roof!!!
The day is finally here! My morning started at around 6:30am. I tried to get a bit more sleep, knowing what the day had in store, but it wasn't happening. I got up, showered and headed over to Baja Taco. Their breakfast burritos with Reindeer sausage are ridiculous! I washed one down with a cup of coffee and two waters and back to the room I went. I nearly walked a hole in the carpet waiting for the call. About 11:15am the phone rings.........
Wes is on the way to pick us up! We grab the gear, check out and met him out front for the ride over to Dennis's place. Once we're there it's on! We get changed into our hunting clothes, dump any gear we don't need, swap out field points for broad heads, grab an ice ax and gloves and to the lake we go. When we arrive Dave is there getting the float plane ready. At this point I'm so excited that I feel like dancing! We get the gear loaded, get well wishes from Dennis and then Adam, Caleb, Sean and I get onboard.
The flight to base camp was gorgeous. Cordova from the air really shows how quaint of a town it is. We're off to Goat country!!!!
Keep it coming, I'll stand on my head to view the pics, if I have to ;^)
Adam leads the charge uphill. The walking is super easy at first and we stop briefly here and there to grab a handful of wild blueberries. The weather isn't terribly cold and there's a light drizzle coming down. I'm still giddy with excitement and every step gets me closer to Goats!
Treeline! Once we make it through the meadows we hit the first set of trees. Walking uphill through the wet, thick blueberry bushes and devil's club was like walking uphill through a car wash. Picking my way through it was the toughest challenge. Once we broke through to the next meadow we stopped to put on our cramp-ons. The next set of trees was twice as steep and twice as long. I'd never used cramp-ons before but they went on fairly easily and made a huge difference in regards to tractions. Onwards and upwards! This is were it got tough.
The hill was steep, really steep! I was using the cramp-ons to walk uphill on my toes. This turned out to be a bad idea, really bad! Over the summer I experienced cramping during my training. Anyone that's hiked in Virginia during the summer can tell you there's no shortage of sweat. On my hikes I'd sweat really bad and get cramps near the top of Old Rag. I knew I was pushing out too many electrolytes and started replacing them with a powder supplement. It fixed the issue and I never gave it a second thought. I packed 8 days worth of electrolytes in ziplock bags and had them in my water bottle as we went up. Apparently my calves hate cramp-ons. About 3/4ths of the way up through the trees I felt that squirrel in my calf that always precedes a cramp and my heart sinks. This can't be happening! I'm not halfway into the hike up and my calves are quitting on me. I downed the rest of my water bottle, refilled it with more electrolytes, pounded them, ate some corn nuts and took a breather. I wasn't tired but on the verge of cramping. This isn't good. Sean and Adam keep pushing and after a few minutes Caleb and I get it back in gear.
100 yards later it happens. My right side calf locks up hard. I go down immediately. I can't believe what's going on! I felt like the entire hunt is falling apart and we're not 2 hours from camp. I make it out of the trees into somewhat level ground and start to stretch my calves out. I drink more water and salty food and we keep pushing. I had to be careful not to over use my right leg which in turn put more stress on my left leg. Before long the left calf went too. I had to stop, drink more water and try to get more food in before going further. By now we're soaking wet and it's getting cold. We're out of the trees and into the more mellow terrain but the damage was done. I assume my technique was the issue. Walking uphill on my tiptoes just put too much stress on my calves and they couldn't take it. I should have walked up on the sides of my feet. In hindsight this would have been a much better way to go about things. About halfway between tree line and spike camp the cramps moved to my quads. I've got a pit in my stomach by now. I felt like I was letting everyone down and questioning everything I'd been doing the last 8 months. We set spike camp about 45 minutes from where Adam wanted it to be. At that point every step I took caused something to cramp. Once the tents were up Sean and I go in, changed into dry clothes, had a cider and a Mountain House and tried to warm up. I spent most of that time rubbing and stretching my legs hoping like hell they wouldn't let me down the next day. The anxiety of feeling like I was slowing the team down kept me up all night. I dozed off here and there but practically didn't sleep.
I heard Caleb unzip his tent around 8am. He got us some water boiling for breakfast along with more cider. I threw back more electrolytes and rubbed my legs. They still had that weak feeling like muscles do after they cramp. Caleb brings over our breakfast and says "there's 3 billies on the hill about 400 yards away." This threw some life back in me! I got dressed, hoping I wouldn't cramp up, and crawled out of the tent.
It was raining, windy and cold but my legs weren't cramping. The more I moved the better they felt and my excitement grew! In the back of my mind I knew my legs weren't 100% but at least I was moving. We packed up camp and moved to where we were initially going to set up. If they were going to cramp now was the time. When we got to the new spot my legs had warmed up and felt less weak. I was back in the game!! We set camp and put a plan together to get on goats.
We hiked up to the top of the hill and could see goats in several different spots. It was incredible! We picked the hill apart for a few hours before deciding to make a play on the goats we'd seen from the first spike camp. Of the 3 goats one had no horns. Adam said they'd seen him for years. One was immature but one was a shooter. We slowly made our way around the back side of the hill. Once we made it about 3/4th's of the way around Adam told me to drop my pack and to take my bow out. As of that moment I was actually hunting goats! At this point I'd totally forgotten about my legs. I was moving fine, had a bow in my hand and we were peaking over ledges looking for billies.
We picked that face of the hill apart for hours with no sign of the goats. With a pretty good walk back to spike camp ahead of us we started to head back. It had been raining and windy all day and a hot cider and a mountain house sounded killer! On the way back to camp Adam suddenly hits the deck. There was a young billy 92 yards downhill on the same path we had used early in the day. The assumption was made that he was the one young billy in the group of 3 and the others were behind him. After 45 minutes of sitting the wind and rain began to take it's toll and the shaking started. Adam made the call to go back up the hill and work our way around in the hopes that we could stalk in on the other goats if they were with him. As we made our way around the wind took a switch, the young billy caught our scent and off he went. With no sign of the other 2 goats day 1 was a wrap. Back to the tents we went.
I just wanna go on record and say I like Mountain House meals! They really hit the spot. Kinda light on calories for a bigger guy like me but very tasty!
With the 3 goats nowhere to found and multiple goats further away the decision was made to move camp again. The weather that morning was pretty crappy. Driving wind and rain and there were a few times in the night that I thought we were getting blown off the mountain. We wound up getting a late start due to the weather but got camp moved and made a plan to work into a bedded goat early the morning of Day 3. He had been in that spot all day on Day 1 and was still bedded there at the close of Day 2. He was only 800 yards away! After a half day out of the tent we got camp moved, made a plan for the morning, had more cider, more Mountain House and called it a day. The next 3 days called for decent weather with maybe a bit of sun. After spending the last 3 days fairly cold, wet and miserable the thought of a little sunshine sounded great. Day 2 was in the books.
I woke up the morning of day 3 to a bright tent and no sound of rain. This was going to be a great day! We peaked around the knob we had camped behind and the goat had moved...up hill.....of course. After breakfast, lots of water and my morning glory we laid out our wet clothes on rocks, got our packs on and headed off.
The goat had gone up the peak and bedded on a snow patch. 3 other very nice billies had bedded on a ridge line waaaay off in the distance. It took us about an hour to get to a point to where we dumped our packs, got out the bow and started stalking. We had a pretty good feel for where the goat had bedded and the path we needed to take to work in on him. After another 45 minute we were close. As we were creeping along I could see the landmarks that we made note of before the stalk. It felt electric! Knowing where I was, what I was stalking and having a bow in my hand was surreal. Every step took me closer to the goat. The loose rock made the stalk slow going. Eventually we made it to the area below the goat that had about a 30 yard gap in the rocks. Adam peaked the corner and said "he's right there." I had my sight dialed to 35 yards, I stepped into the opening and drew. All I was saw was the goats ass as he trotted off the snow patch, around the corner and onto a sheer ledge about 115 yards away. We were busted! That was officially the closet I'd ever been to a Mountain Goat.
Next we turned our attention to the other 3 goats on the far end of the ridge. From camp they looked impossible to get on but from where we were it wasn't awful.....except for the Devil's Backbone! It was this razor thin ledge that was right above a bowl with about a 400ft drop. For me it was scary. I'm a bigger guy and I'm not nearly as nimble as I used to be so getting across that was like walking a tight rope. Once we crossed that it was smooth sailing. We get to an area close to where we saw the goats bedded and Adam goes into stalk mode. After a couple hours of looking with no luck we spot them on the back side of the hill where we had just came from. Basically we came across the face of the hill while they went the opposite way across the back. They eventually came down the ridge and into the bowl that the backside of the mountain was overlooking. They bedded in a terrible spot for a stalk. After briefly discussing the situation we agreed to head back to camp. It was around 4:30pm. The logic was that since we'd pushed the first billy it wasn't in our best interest to booger the other 3 without good reason. Back to camp we went. We got back to camp with some light to spare, our clothes were dry and we'd been in the sunshine all day. I can remember how fortunate I felt to have had the opportunity to spend such a gorgeous day hunting what I consider to be the coolest animal in North America.
The weather looked awesome for the next 2 days. We had goats spotted, my legs were with the program and we still have 3 more days to hunt. I had 2 Mountain House's and some cider for dinner and called it a day.
We wake up to more sunshine, hot food and a plan to get on goats. After everyone is up and moving we head out. It's around 8:30am. It takes us a few hours to get back to the ridgeline overlooking the bowl where we last left the goats. The hiking is going really well and all the issues I'd had with cramping had thankfully gone away. After crossing the Devil's Backbone we got into stalk mode. We dropped the packs and started peaking over into the bowl. About 750 yards away we spot a billy.....in a perfect spot!!! He had positioned himself on the left side of a little knob facing away from us, looking into the wind and with rocks on his right side to cover our stalk. If I could get to the edge of the knob he was behind I'd be inside 40 yards. That's bad news if you're a goat. The plan was to walk down the ridgeline, drop into the bowl, make it down a ~400ft scree slide as quietly as possible and stalk in from there. Let's go!!!!
We cross the ridgeline on the back side of the hill as to not skyline ourselves. Once we make it to the scree slide we sneak over slowly and start making our way down. Quiet isn't really doable. Nearly every step sends rocks rolling. As I make my way down I look up and see Adam giving the universal hand gesture for "Get the f**k down" and I freeze. I'm stuck on the side of the hill like spiderman. I hold tight for a few minutes and then slowly turn my head to see what all the fuss was about. A goat had come up and over the ledge in-between us and the first goat we were stalking. He was walking right at us! This just got super interesting. Goat move in a very deliberate way. They never seem to be in a hurry and this big ol boy lumbered toward us at a snails pace. The fact that I was stuck to the hill in such an awkward way made time drag on. Rocks were digging into my knees and I had a death grip on a small rock to keep myself in place. The goat made his way to a small snow patch and bedded with his butt at 7 o'clock and his head at 1 o'clock. He'd occasionally look back toward the other goat. When he did we'd try to slowly cover ground. After 20 yards of so he heard us and looked over. WE froze again. He'd look off and we'd move. He'd hear us again and look over. The 3rd time he looked over he stood up and stared us down. I figured he'd seen and heard and was leaving for good. This seemed fine at the time since the initial goat we were after was in a better spot for a bow shot. Ever so slowly the goat turns to walk off, takes a few steps and beds down behind a rock putting himself in a worst spot to keep and eye on us and a perfect spot for a stalk. Unreal!
As a kid my old man used to tell me that anytime I looked up and saw a Hawk it was him looking over me. I hadn't seen anything but Ravens this entire trip. As that goat bedded I heard a scream and looked up an saw a Golden Eagle. Now I'm not the superstitious type by any stretch of the imagination but looking up and seeing that Eagle at that exact moment sent chills up my spine. Something was about to happen!
After inching down the scree slide a bit more we'd gotten totally out of the goats view. We planned a route to him and took each step as easily as possible. My heart was banging so loud I could have sworn Adam could hear it. About 150 yards away we dump the packs and boots, I gave Adam my range finder, I nocked an arrow and we push forward. Our steps are totally silent. I'm in socks and Adam is in neoprene boot liners. As we make our way to the rock Adam starts calling ranges. 65 yards to the back of the snow patch, 20 yards to the front, 35 to the middle. The rock the goat is behind is angled up slightly. I anxiously put my foot on it and ease up an inch at a time. After several small steps I can see his tracks in the snow. I hear Adam call out 26 yards. I spin the Landslyde sight, come to full draw and inch up slightly. I CAN SEE HIM! He's bedded and looking dead at us with his head at 7 o'clock and his butt at 1 o'clock. I've got his vitals in my sights but with the angle of the rock I want to insure that I have clearance and that I don't send an arrow off the edge of the rock. I take an easy step up and I'm laser focused on his chest. It his point my heartbeat is deafening and I've got severe tunnel vision. As I'm looking at the goat an arrow simply materialize in an absolutely perfect spot tight to his shoulder and disappears into his body. I can see blood before he leaves his bed. I have no idea what happened but my brain must have hit the autopilot switch and sent that arrow. It was a fatal hit! The goat gets to his feet and runs back in the direction he came. We have no idea what's over the ledge. It could be cliffs or more mellow ground. Adam busts out "I've gotta go" and runs after the goat.
I need to take a second to mention what an absolute machine that man was. I'm convinced that he runs on 93 Octane.
If I'd have ran across those rocks with socks on my feet would look like I put them in a blender. Meanwhile Adam sprints over them, full speed, in neoprene booties. He's gone for what seems like forever and I'm just frozen there. I'd just put a perfectly placed arrow in a Billy at 26 yards. I can't believe what just happened! Adam finally sticks his head up and motions for me to come over. No thumbs up, no real excitement, just a casual "come here" gesture. Now I'm nervous...
I slowly make my way over to where the goat had gone. Adam whispers "he's right over that ledge looking at me but he keeps putting his head down. Take a peak." I can see blood on the rocks as I take a look over. As I ease over I see him. He's bedded with his head down but still breathing. At this point emotion grabs me really hard. I've wanted a goat with a bow since I'd gotten into archery and now I have him. The moment was overwhelming. Seconds later the goat expired and took a small tumble off of the ledge he was on. I had officially killed a Mountain Goat with a bow!!!!
Caleb and Sean had watched the entire thing from the scree slide and were on the way over to us with all the gear we'd dropped. I couldn't wait to get my boots on so I could go see my goat!
As I suit up Caleb goes to my goat while Adam and Sean make there way over to see if the other goats were in the area. Sean was bowhunting as well but would have no issues using the lead launcher if needed.
I can't really describe what it was like to walk up on my goat. Even though he monkeyed up a horn in the fall everything about him was perfect! I couldn't have been happier with him. I take a few minutes to really look at him before I recruit Caleb to take pics of me for 45 minutes straight. lol.
As we're sitting there talking the stalk over we hear a shot........then another.........then another. We look at each other and Caleb says "We aren't getting back to camp until midnight" and we wasn't far from wrong. Shortly Sean comes back and sounds off with "We're all tagged out!!!" What a freaking day. Sun on our backs, goats down and now the business of breaking them down starts.
Goats are big....like really BIG!! I was 235ish and my goat made me look small. I still can't get over how big he was, just a tank of an animal. Once the goats are skinned and deboned the trek up back to spike camp starts. It was dark, we had that steep scree slide to get up and the Devil's Backbone to cross. Wes was packing up food from basecamp that day. He agreed to come back to where we were and help us pack the goats off the mountain.
The climb up that slide was rough. It was the first time as an adult that I'd actually been scared for my life. One wrong move and it was all over. That feeling was quickly followed up by the second time as and adult being scared for my life on the Devil's Backbone.
We had left camp around ~8:30am and we got back at ~1:15am. 3.5 miles of the 8.5 mile pack out had been done in the dark. That walk was one of the hardest things I've ever done.
After a short, restless sleep we're out of the tents around 9am. We wake up to another gorgeous day! After a solid breakfast we break down spike camp, repack our bags and get ourselves ready for the walk back to base camp. This was the hard part. Full packs and 5 miles ahead of us. Thankfully the weather was nice. Doing this in driving rain and cold temps would be awful. We have about an hour hike up hill and once we're over that it's all down hill. All went well until the freaking cramp-ons go back on. Now I know why Adam says he has a love-hate relationship with these damned things. In certain spots they're a must-have item. Going down there were these spots of wet moss that look dry. If you stepped on them without the cramp-ons you'd lose your footing and fall. With the cramp-ons you'd be fine. We hit the same spot of treeline that I was cramping on the way and the cramp-ons went back on. My body just doesn't like them. The stresses on my calves makes them very unhappy, even the downhill portion.
After the slow paced trek through the thick bush we hit the swampy area and Adam called the pilot. Dave said he'd be there in an hour. Our other packer Wes went ahead and beat us to camp by 20 minutes. He's Adam's nephew and those guys have something special in their blood. He was 23, weighted maybe 150lbs and had no less than 125lbs on his back. He and Adam walked down the hill like it was a stroll in the park. I would second guess every step I took and used the ice ax 85% of the trip down. Those two looked like they could run down the hill without any problems. It was one of the most impressive displays of physical strength and ability I've ever witnessed. Our packer Caleb was just as good! This was his Caleb's first hunt on Dennis's team and he did an outstanding job. My hat is off to those three gentleman and I'd be honored to hunt with any one of them again.
The sight of the base camp tents in the distance was a welcome sight. The day to day hiking of the hunt was fine. I wasn't prepared for the heavy hike down. It was tough, really tough. That being said putting one foot in front of the other was pretty easy when I'd stop and realize the weight on my back was a 9.5 year old, 10" billy and that I was earning the ability to cherish him in my trophy room with every step.
Once we made camp we dumped our packs and helped Wes break down the rest of camp. Before long we could here the buzz of the float plan in the distance. A hot shower, dinner and a good night sleep was just a few hours away!
In closing this was the trip of a lifetime for me. I got a goat that far exceeded any expectations I had and I couldn't be more pleased with him.
Dennis and his team are complete professionals. All the logistic of the hunt were executed perfectly from transportation to and from camp, the gear we used, the in-camp meals and snacks, the hunting skills of the guides and trophy and meat care. No stone was unturned and Dennis took us into his home like family. Alicia was amazing and her cooking will curl your toes under!!
As always the support from all the fellas on Bowsite was incredible. A huge Thank You to all the folks that chimed in with well wishes and pats on the back. You guys are alright!!!
But in reality, Thanks for the entertainment, the fantastic write up, the adventure in words and pictures. I was luck to have killed a Mt Goat here in Colorado and always thought I would go again some day, but after reading your account, day by day and inch by inch, heart pounding, cramping legs; your hunt was my next and last Mt Goat hunt. Nicely done. My best, Paul
But seriously..............FANTASTIC story and write up! Congrats! I’ve always thought sheep/goat hunting would be cool, but with my fear of heights, I probably would not enjoy it as much as y’all!
It’s got an altitude training room which simulates working at altitude. Rock and ice walls. To train the proper way to use of Aces and the toe points of crampons.
It’s as addictive but better for you :^))))