May 20th 2021 rolls around like any other day. I had no idea it was even a special day... that is until I walked over to my desk and glanced at my phone. The number was one i didnt recognize, but the name in the text....caused my hands to shake Trevor Embry. I quickly got on the radio and called my good friend Chad over. I handed him my phone and made him read it.... He looked at me and said Luke you just won the Goat raffle! I was in shock for an hour. Nothing like this had ever happened to me.
We had an antelope hunt scheduled for mid August together. Dad new my vacation time was going to be tight and instantly told me to skip the antelope hunt. Gentlemen facts are we do only get so much time and I wasnt about to miss my hunt with dad. I'll save a little more money, pinch a few more pennies and refuse to take any vacation time I didnt NEED and make this all work.
Within a few weeks I had a target set up on top of my Dad's 90ft grain leg and dug my old bighorn ram target out of the grove. The ram got a make over with some white paint and popping his horns off. Presto changeo mountain goat! I quickly learned why they make angle comp rangefinders and that shooting up was way harder than shooting down. My target on top of the leg was 8" by 15". After a summer of shooting at that target 90' in the air i can honestly say i never missed once shooting up. And only missed one shot down do to some really strong winds (shouldnt have been on top of that leg that day).
Over the summer I shot a 3-D shoot almost every weekend. I extended my shooting range out to 93 yards (farthest my sight would allow). I trained 1-3 hours daily with a combination of an 8 week Next level extreme fitness class, lifting, running and pack training. Many days doing a combo of 2 or 3 of those.
My legs felt good, I felt good, I was shooting great....Life was good!
And now..... The Rest of the Story.
Everything goes smooth. My bags make weight and TSA is a breeze. 2 hours to kill before the flight to Seattle. Knowing what I know now I would have taken a later flight to Seattle. My layover there was 6 hours. They had 2 options, 1.5 hours or 6 hours. Flight to Seattle went perfect and so did finding my way around the terminal.... took 30 mins to find my gate. There I sat for 5.5 hours...
Ed's house is filled with a lifetime of trophies.I'm in awe of the size of goats he has on display. I just had no idea how big they really were. Several sets of horns and mounts allow me to really see and feel what I would be after.
I should also mention it is gorgeous out! Perfect bluebird day.
Not long later Ed, TJ and Cole show up. i have to do a double take with Cole as its obvious Zack and him are twins. Cole is not as quiet though, The guys bring news of plenty of goats. It was really good news and they were ALL SMILES. Mark took Ed, TJ and myself out to dinner that night down town. We joked and laughed and honestly just had a great time. I owe Mark dinner and hopefully one day get the chance to repay him.
Today we start gear prep. Cole has me set out 10 freeze dried dinners and breakfasts. Along with that all the snacks I will need/want for the trip. There is every flavor of meal you can imagine. I'm positive Ed has stock in Mountain house and Peak. Snakes galore. Anything I wanted as long as i could carry it. Tj and I later talk about what I will actually NEED in my pack when we go up the mountain. I repack as I have time to do so. One thing I should mention is this hunt is probably slightly different than what I would feel to be a normal goat hunt. We will be setting up a VERY nice and well supplied base camp and then spiking out of that. Ed told me to bring plenty of clothes. Don't skimp. We could leave everything we weren't using in base camp. WHEN (not if) we got soaked on the mountain, someone would come down and grab dry gear. That said I had 4 sets of rain gear packed. I was told to bring at least 2. 3 would be better. Ed and Tj make us fantastic meals all day. Eating like kings. I was made very clear that anything in the house was mine to use and enjoy. The weather was beyond beautiful again. I got some shooting in with my bow. It was 55 yards from the end of the doc to the corner of the house. In previous conversations with Ed, I talked about having a rifle with us. He told me to bring whatever I wanted, the guides would carry it in for me. In the end I really just wanted to bowhunt and asked if he had one I could borrow if need be. That turned out to be no problem(and saved me a couple hundred in baggage fees). We shot 2 rounds thru a Kimber 84 .300wsm with a 4.5 - 14 leupold on it. She shot just fine and called it good to go.
Great thread so far. Looking forward to more!
As Luck would have it....we woke up to rain and fog. This day would have us chilling at base camp. A beer here and there. The boys were fly fishing for cutthroat trout in between rain showers. We had a wonderful camp set up that gave us a view of the mountain (when it wasnt rainy and foggy). I was able to do a couple little hikes checking out streams and waterfalls. We gathered enough wood to start a nice little fire and enjoy that under the protection of tarps. We had 3 folding chairs with us, about 21 days worth of food and enough gear for 2 complete camps. Other than not hunting, life was good.
Once again we wake up to rain and a foggy mountain. Every time it clears hopes get high to go. Cole and Tj tell me we have to wait to make sure its not a trap. They tell me the weather will clear just long enough to make you go and then dump rain again. This day is filled with traps. Our hike up to spike camp is supposed to take 6 to 6 1/2 hours, so every day if we are not up and going by 11, we are stuck in basecamp. "stuck" is a bad word too. Base camp is fun, relaxing and beautiful. We have fire, all the fish we can catch and eat, apple pie with cool whip....Whats not to love? We continue to monitor the weather with our Inreach (we actually all have our own) and Ed continues to inform us of whats coming from town. We knew BAD weather was on its way and simple facts were, we knew we would be in basecamp all day tomorrow as well. Somewhere during thes day TJ and Cole are apologizing to me for what feels like the 10th time for the weather. And thats when we have a "talk". They need to stop apologizing. My options in life are 1) back in Iowa working at the plant where I supervise 23 guys. Listening to them bitch and wine (they arent actually always that bad), constant stress to make quotas and temps in the 90s 2) up on the mountain stuck in a little 2 man mountain tent for days unable to hunt or 3) basecamp and all the wonderful things I've mentioned so far. I'm so happy to be sitting in basecamp its not even funny.
I'm glued to this one! The pics are great too.
Rain again. More weather coming. BAD weather coming. Between rain showers we work on straightening up camp. Tarps get tied down better. Almost to the point where you can walk around camp with ease. Big ripping winds come through tearing our most of the grommets on my tarp. Tj and Cole fix it up. Together we really tie things down and stack up fire wood. Reports say Hurricane force winds are going to hit Ketchikan late in the afternoon throughout the night. They did. Lady Alaska pounded us with wind and rain all night. We were REALLY lucky to be sitting down on the lake and not up in the Alpine. All afternoon and night we would hear trees snapping and falling. Winds topped 84 mph in Ketchikan at sea level. To be at 3500 ft in the Alpine would have been insane. Cole was in constant contact with his brother Zack and Ed. Zack, Kyle (another guide) and their client were on another mountain, higher up and more exposed. They were in for a long day and an even longer night. I felt like we were at the Hilton compared to what they were going through. We were tucked in a nice little cove with the mountain behind us blocking most of the bad wind.
Rain fell all day. Heck its rained most of the time I've been on the lake. The quiet waterfalls of day one have turned into roaring steams. You would be surprised what those roaring streams can do to the lake. It was mid afternoon when I had noticed a log that I had walked across earlier in the day, was now 2 inches under water. By evening that same log was a LOT deeper. We started using the ax handle to measure the depth of the log. By dark we started calculating the lake was rising 1.5" per hour and we 20" on the day. Using the good old eyeball method we figured my tent had about 16 hours left at best. They may have 20 hours on theirs.
That night I slept with all my clothes on and all my bags packed incase I got flooded. Earplugs in to not hear any trees that were going to crash on me and kill me in my sleep. They helped but it was a very loud night.
I wake to a nice calm day. The sun is out and bright. Tj tells me theres snow on my tent. Sure enough I walk out to see several piles of snow. The lake is now high. If it goes out 8 more inches it will be in my tent. The water that was 15' away last night is now only 4' away. Cole gets word from his brother as to just how easy we had it and how rough they had it. They moved camp 3 times yesterday and all through the night. The river they were camping beside overflowed its banks. Their hunters tent was floating in 6" of water. Zack and Kyle only slept a couple hours that night and that was under their tent as they could not find flat enough ground to set it up in the night. It was a rough night for them.
We finished off our taco meat we had made the first night in, having breakfast burritos. Then start gathering gear, today we climb. I rolled up my basecamp bag and sleeping pads (Ed gave me a 2nd down bag and 2 pads to use in base camp). All our extra gear went into Coles arctic oven tent. It was higher than my tent and if it was to flood, maybe it wouldnt reach their tent.
We throw out 3 days worth of meals from our packs. (think we all had 4 dinners and 3 breakfasts) I strap my bow to my pack, throw and my waders and we take the dingy across the lake. Once on the landing we strip off the waders and throw on our corks and gaiters. Things are about to get real. For the hike up everyone is in helly hanson rain gear. They do this all the time, yes we will be soaked inside and out by the time we get to the top. I dont believe that there is any rain gear that would not have gotten soaked through. Looking back I wish i would have work my Kuiu Chugach. There is no way it wouldnt have saoked through , but I would have been able to vent heat better. I pry would take swim trunks to wear under them too.
I have no pictures of the hike up. But will include one from the first day of what I like to call the LEAST steep portion of the climb.
Lay Alaska was just about to give us her next big FU as well. Within an hour the rain started. It's now raining, everything is soaked, I'm sweating like crazy and I can't look up ahead of me very far as my pack in Sky mode wont allow my head to tilt back to look up hill. (my pack was loaded!) Part of me is happy I can't look up. This part of the trip is a blur. Just ungodly hard steep climbing. You would use one hand to grab vegetation and the other to push off with your hiking stick. Gloves continued to fill with water. I was hot, wet and exhausted. I just kept thinking what had I gotten myself into.
At this point of my story I should disclose a personal issue I have dealt with my entire life. i talked it over with Ed before the trip and my guides as well. My entire life I have struggled with Raynauds syndrome. Simply put the blood vessels in your extremities shrink up causing ungodly cold fingers and toes. Before my trip our temps in Iowa dripped to 40 degrees one morning. Inside our building at work i took a digital thermometer and checked my finger temp. My finger tips were 60 degrees vs all my guys who's were 85 degrees. Facts are I easily suffer frozen fingers and toes.
Ok back to our wonderful hike and old Crabby Lady Alaska....
Remember that rain!? Well its time to welcome sleet. We continue to hike up. At some point TJ and Cole are moving so fast I lose sight of them (they are maybe 30-40 yards in front of me). The tracks look to go left so away i go. 50 yards later I can't see them and I'm positive I'm not on the right trail. I turn back around and go to where i know I lost them. I sit and rest and call out for them. Its sleeting hard and the vegetation is thick. A minute or 2 passes and TJ is there asking if I'm all right. I told him I zigged when I should have zagged. At this point I think TJ slowed down a bit. He was continually checking on me and I'd smile and give a thumbs up.
Remember that Sleet!? Well at some point its now pounding snow. Remember those wet gloves....and cold hands....they have been really good to this point. Surprisingly good actually. At about 2300' (we started at about 400) my fingers cannot take it anymore. We are at our first rope climb and my hands are numb. Toes are pretty well frozen also as at some point I've been in enough deep water that my boots are soaked inside. Oh and all my clothing is soaked as well. I set my pack down and try to get some warmth to my hands. Things get ugly fast. In 30 secs Im shaking uncontrollably. TJ and Cole call down (they had already made the climb and we 30 yards up). They ask if I'm alright. All I can muster is "no". TJ asks again, again my response is "no". Now he asks if I need help. Yes is all I can get out. The cold sets in deeper, the shaking harder. I just keep looking down the mountain side thinking I'm gonna die. This is worst case weather for me. Literally everything I had prayed wouldnt happen, was happening.
TJ gets back down to me and i direct him as best I can to what i need from my pack. I can't even open zippers on my own. Just stand and shake. He helps strip my top layers off and get my puffy and his puffy on me. I have about $800 worth of Kuiu puffy's on and my superdown mitts, handwarmers and stocking cap. I shake for what feels like 30 mins. I can see Tj start getting cold. Those guys are tough as nails but even they are not immune to the wet cold. Cole says we are close to spike camp. We need to get going and i know it. BUT I can't. Soon the choice is made for Cole to go up, find camp and drop his pack. He's back shortly (no idea how long) He says we are close. I tell them I can go but need help with my pack. Cole takes it up for me. I start up the rope climb with TJ pushing my ass up the hill.
Let me assure everyone reading this, this was a very serious situation and I owe my life to these guys. I have no doubt I woulda died right there had I been alone.
Within 30 mins we hit spike camp. I'm doing much better now. I help as much as I can and we move 4" of wet heavy snow. We put tarps on the ground then others up. Sandwiching our tents in the middle. I am finally able to get my soaking bottom layers off and into dry clothes with down pants and then crawl into my down bag. We eat mountain house for supper. I have a cup of coffee they made me in my tent. At some point while putting on new socks, that tips over and spills everywhere. So now my sleeping pad is sitting in hot coffee, my dry clothes are sucking up the rest and I don't realize it. As luck would have it not much is compromised before I figured out what was going on. I sopped up the rest with my already wet clothing and everything else dried out really well inside my sleeping bag that night.
That night I slept in my wool long johns and shirt, the only 2 pair of dry socks i had, in my down layers, with my hand warmers and gloves, a stocking cap, inside my bag liner, inside my 0 degree bag, inside my bivy sack, in the tent. Slept pretty well too.
I woke up to Cole or Tj knocking snow off the tarp. I peak my head out to see more snow. This will be our day. Tent bound. Cole and Tj are sharing a Kuiu Storm Star and I'm 3 feet away in a Kuiu Mountain Star. We slept a lot that day. Lot of Inreach messages home. More weather checks. Stories from the other group. Naps. And then there was that nagging soaking wet boot issue. I had stuffed the 2 handkerchiefs in my boots and those soaked up a lot of water. But they are now saturated. I dig in my dry clothes and find a light merino shirt and shove the sleeves in my boots. Later that day I start cutting up my sleeping bag liner and add a couple hand warmers to my boots. In my head I was wishing for a couple maxi pads. Though I'm not sure if I need them for my boots or myself at this point. It was a cold night. And I slept poorly after a day of rest. There was just enough incline to feel yourself sliding down the sleeping pad. Oh and then there was that stick that would wake you up, jamming into your hip as you neared the bottom corner of the bag....
Today we awake to one foot of snow....but bright sun and clear skies. Today finally, we hunt. Getting out of the tent took some work. It was a really rough nights sleep and its cold as hell out of my bag. My boots were "mostly dry". Finger tips going numb as I was attempting to put on my gaiters. Grabbed my bow and filled the quiver.....here we go!
It didnt take long to know I was in trouble. Holy crap that first short little climb was steep! I swear we went straight up a rock face. As we go farther I'm getting hot and wisely stop to strip off my fleece shirt and my vest. TJ and Cole tell me "be bold start cold". Oddly I did start cold! But it didnt take long for my body to get warmed up. We have one more big snow covered face to climb and Cole tells me we are in the goat zone now. They look over the lake and another steep face. Nothing. To much snow and looking for white critters isn't working out as well as hoped. They tell me they've never hunted in this much snow. It just doesn't get this way this time of year. Wow Lady Alaska is just slapping the crap out of me on this hunt. My toes at this point are absolutely frozen. Enough moisture in my boots is making things very painful. My fingers aren't functioning right. The rest of me is doing good though.
We walk another 100 yards or so up the hill and Cole peaks around the corner. Bam! He sits right down and says there's a goat right over there bedded. They look him over a bit. Ask if I want to see him. Obviously I do. I sneak up to the spotter and all I can see are eyeballs and horns. Pretty cool sight. They're trying to size him up. I'm saying who cares is he legal? TJ swings down low to get a better angle as he is locked in on us and wont turn his head.
This is where some of you will question me. All I can tell you is I know my limits and what my body can do. I had played the shot out 10,000 times in my head before this hunt and never once did I envision this. But here we are....I looked at Cole and told him the truth. "Cole , my hands can't do this, We have a short window to get this done. If you decide he's big enough I will use the rifle". It hurt to admit. I spent my entire summer watching an arrow go through a goat, I drug my bow all the way to Alaska, all the way to within 200 yards of a Billy .... but in my heart I knew it was the right choice. All but one little part of my dreams had been fulfilled. Fingers and toes are more important than stubborn pride.
TJ comes back and tells us he can't get a better look. I tell him what I told Cole. Both guys are understanding and completely agree with the choice. Probably a little relieved . Both were so supportive of getting it done with a bow and now both were ready and willing to make it happen however we can. Tj is a hugely successful bowhunter and he tells me he thinks I'm making the right choice. We all agree and start smiling. WELL, we shoulda shut up and shot first...Cole move the gun into position and I go to get on the gun. The Billy had stood up and walked outta our lives before I ever even saw him again.
We move east up the mountain. They feel the billy went to the west and down. We cant see anything as we slowly and quietly creep through the alpine. Goat tracks are everywhere and we can see where they have been digging through the snow for food. We peek over every hill. Maybe 45 mins later we walk over a hill and Tj in the lead is looking northwest. I just happened to glance back southeast and there is a billy standing 25 yards away popping back over a hill. TJ tosses me the rifle and I run up over the hill....Turns out it wasnt meant to be.
We continue northwest after that and soon find a loan goat 800 yards away. Could as well have been 10 miles away. No good way to get to him. No good way to kill him and if we did he would have rolled down the mountain for sure. 300 yards later Tj drops to his butt. Goat over the hill. Cole comes up for a look. It vanishes for a bit. We are pretty exposed and out in the wind. Both guys are constantly asking how my hands and toes are doing. Theyre froze, lets be honest here. Toes are currently the worst. Walking actually becomes difficult (though I never let them know). I had changed my socks earlier but that did little to help. I let Cole know I'm not above shooting a nanny. He laughs and say WE ARE NOT SHOOTING A NANNY! I laugh and tell him I'm a shooter. I love hunting and being there. No part of me would feel bad for shooting anything that is legal. As it would turn out, it was a nanny and a kid over the hill.
We end up hiking within 80 vertical feet of the mountain top. Cole asks if I want to finish the climb and go to the top. Honestly normally I would in a heartbeat. On this day, I was good. We hike back down to a much flatter area to get into a better glassing area and to overlook the lake that the goats are normally at. On the hike down Tj tells me to get ready. Hands me the gun and we hike over the hill, he was sure he just saw a goat. We walk over and see nothing....we chalk it up to snow falling off the trees. Later after sitting at the glassing spot i walk back to get some water out of a running mountain stream, while doing so I like down to see goat tracks in our tracks. Sure enough TJ had seen a goat. They were following our original trail up the mountain. We were breaking the path for them....
I should also mention that up on top we had noticed a billy back by where we first hiked up. On our way to the glassing spot he walked out of our sight. With nothing in sight and it getting late now, we made the choice to head down for he day. Down was so much faster than up...about an hour later we were back at camp. Finally time to eat. We had skipped both breakfast and lunch that day. Chicken fettuccine was on the menu that night. It was good.
Off to another cold winters nights sleep. I froze that night. Feet get worse. Cant keep them warm. Hands still not much better. I had about 5 pairs of gloves with me for the trip including kuiu superdowns. Which where the only thing keeping me going. I also brought 5 pairs of hot hands, toe warmers and body warmers. The toe warmers never did any good due to the moisture in my boots.
Great write up and pics so far!
I was the first one ready today. My legs were under me finally. I wished Cole a happy birthday. He turned 30 on this day. We again skipped breakfast and got up the mountain early. You will never guess what what waiting for us!!!!
Nothing. Nothing at all. We hunted hard, working several benches all while looking for fresh sign. No fresh tracks, everything looked to be from yesterday. Did I mention it was cold? Still cold, just with more wind. I actually left my bow in camp today. We glassed and hiked, glassed and hiked. Kept coming up with nothing. Hard creatures to spot in the snow. We really felt they had slipped off the side of the mountain and gotten into the trees. Once there with the snow, they were impossible to see. We finally make our way to our glassing spot from yesterday and decide its time to sit. I'm on the north side of the hill for about 20 minutes with wind pounding me before I decide its time to move to the south side. There is less snow in spots today and there on the south side I see a nice clean patch of ground. THAT is where I will call home. Completely out of the wind, in the pounding sun! Heck at one point I actually got warm. It was SO nice. I could actually take my mittens off.
I talked with TJ and Cole about how long we have on the mountain. (not long, today...couple hours tomorrow). Send some inreach messages to Dad about changing my flight to a couple days later. Turns out he had no luck. I tried turning my phone on and you'll never guess what happened. I had better service there than I do 2 miles from my days house back home. Well heck I'll just change that flight right now! And it worked! Buying us a little more time.
Cole comes over to talk to me at point. Basically tells me they have no idea what to do and since we have a good spot outta the wind to glass, we were going to stay put. I couldnt agree more with the choice. a) I was warm. b) there was no better option, blindly walking around could do more damage than good. I shoot my Dad a couple more texts and pics. I'm thirsty so I suck down the last of my water. Which wasnt much. I really wanted to make up some Gatorade in my coffee cup.... So I settled on filling my cup with fresh snow and dumping the dry Gatorade mix on it, stirring it up and making a snow slushy. AND IT WAS AMAZING!
Sent Dad a pic of it....His response was get off your phone and start paying attention. HA! I am Dad....5 minutes later I'm half asleep and a bulldozer comes ripping through the trees. TJ who was 20 yards to my right, over the hill, is in a frantic state.In my half asleep daze confusion sets in. Either Tj can hardly talk or I can hardly hear. He just keeps running at me and muttering something.....
He's telling you to hurry up with this story!!
Also more detail about this piece please! "We are at our first rope climb and my hands are numb."
I feel like i want to do a goat hunt, but if i am being honest, i am not sure i have what it takes for deailing with the heights/cliffy areas...
Loving the write up
The heights weren’t bad. These were low mountains, just very steep. Good news if you fell was there were plenty of trees to fall into. I’d say everything is mindset. If you want to quit you will. If you want to make it you will or die trying.
The temps dipped into the 20s some nights. 30s on the worst days. Those guys didn’t struggle as much as I did. Coming from iowa and temps in the 90’s. And New Mexico just a month before my body wasn’t ready for cold. Throw in my raynauds and well parts sucked. As bad as the cold sucked…. How many times in my life will I ever be in Alaska on a goat hunt? I was living a privileged life at the time. So I kept smiling.
I look thru the scope and its all blurry. A quick focus and there he is. Broadside just turning his head to look our way. The rest was a light squeeze and a big thud. Both guys are telling me to shoot again before i can even work the bolt. The goat made it 4 feet before round 2 knocked him off his feet. 2 schools girls screamed out in excitement and I yelled Happy Birthday Cole! Cole yells back to put another round in and stay on him. I knew he was done though. I stayed on him for a minute before we walked over. Those 2 school girls started screaming again. Never seen 2 people so excited. No one knew it yet until we got right up on him....that's when we discovered he was huge. Not in body but his horns were 10 1/2". Those guys were excited! I was like....so he's good!? He could have been 8" or a new world record, to me the feeling was just the same. Just unbelievable. Never in my life did I imagine I would be on top of a mountain in Alaska hunting goats.....What a feeling.
After the shot
I was lucky enough to kill what turned out to be a huge goat out in the open....easiest place in the world to work him up and guess what now? Tj says its time to take pictures...but not here....he looks around a sec and Cole says "you want to take them over there dont you" 60 yards away (uphill) is a perfect spot. Goats are heavy. Snow makes them heavier. But the pics were worth it. After pics we worked him up. "we" meaning Cole and TJ. "I" was on deboning duty. I did almost a good enough job for Cole. Right away he told me to remove all the fat and gristle. Seemed odd for a second until you realize there is no sense carrying weight you wont eat down. For the hike back to camp TJ takes the hide, Cole 2/3s the meat and I take the last bag and horns. I had it easy. It only took 30 minutes to get back to camp today. We flew.
That night in camp we made a goat fire. They only start a fire in spike camp after a goat is down. We enjoyed a couple cups of Russian tea with a bit of whiskey in them for a celebration of life for both us and the goat. The sunset was beautiful that evening. I'm not sure what is in "russian tea" but whatever it is involves not sleeping. Good lord I was up all night.
This was our actual scheduled day to fly out and as luck would have it, we were going to make it. i knew we were going to base camp that day but the choice was made we would not spend the night and would pack up both camps today and fly to town. Thursday would prove to be a no fly day.
We are up at first light getting things packed up. Cole and TJ for sure with heavy packs. Mine was maybe 20 pounds heavier than on the way up. 20 pounds turned into 200 as we walked down the mountain. Those guys legs were so strong. As we got to the first real speed part, I looked down and again thought, what the hell did I get myself into. I asked how we get down and the answer "one step at a time" comes out. Which was true. One step, one fall, one tuck and roll....whatever it takes. We made it down in record time. 2 1/2 hours i believe. Cole was the first down and TJ stayed back cheering me on. He was a great cheerleader. Cole inflated the dingy and took his pack over. He came back with rubber boots, gatorade and a Miller high life for us. I drank 2 gatorades before i ever touched that beer. 3 hours later we were packed and loaded on the plane heading back to town. Our tents never flooded. In fact the water that was so high when we left was now almost down 2 feet farther than when we first flew in. The flight back to Ed's was beautiful. Vance made a perfect landing on every single flight. Simply could not have asked for a better ending.
Over the next couple days we prepped gear for me to be flown home. I wash all my gear at Ed's and slept in a comfy bed for a change. We cut all the meat up and vacuum sealed it. We welcomed the next hunter Dan. Dan is a HUGELY successful bowhunter. And a motivated man. We all swap hunt stories and just enjoy life. Ed, Cole and Tj work on a plan for Dan. The weather was looking terrible for the next ten days.
I did the best I could in that airport but I just couldnt hold those damn tears back. Thank you ABA, Ed Toribio and Primo Expeditions, TJ Bertek and Cole Greene. All the wonderful people that contribute to bowsite every year and take me on their trips and of course my family and friends that had to live with me daily, dreaming this impossible dream.
what did you end up doing with the horns, cape and meat?
Thank you ABA for the opportunity you guys put out there for all of us!
Crazy how cold feet and hands can take you out of play!! I am not sure if I have what you have, but when my hands and feet are cold, it's brutal, and it doesn't take much!
Looking back, what would you do different to help with that? Better boots? More Socks? Just curious!
Thanks for sharing, and Congratulations!!!
In that last pic with you and the guides...who's who left to right?
I made a goal of losing 20 pounds before the trip. I ended up being down 25#s before the hunt. Yes this is great. Less weight up the mountain, BUT it came at a price. Definitely less....insulation and for sure less strength. I would approach my fitness different next time.
I had piles of chemical hand warmers with me. For some people that is a luxury. For me it was necessity. I should have taken MORE up the mountain with me. I had a hand muff with me as well but I dont think I carried it up the mountain, LIKE A FOOL.
2 pair of super down mittens rather than one. They weigh nothing and WORK.
My feet, man thats hard. I want to think my boots leaked or I was in to deep of water (which I was) but part of me questions wearing 400 gram insulated boots rather an just non insulated. The other part of me wonders if on the hike up between sweating to death, the rain and moisture wicking, if those didnt contribute to my wet boots. All my clothes were wringing wet by the time I got to camp.
Should have took more pairs of dry socks. And a pair of goretex socks. Maybe an extra pair of insoles?
I question if I should have worn shorts then boots and gaiters, Then put my lightest rain gear over that. I could have opened the vents to let heat out when needed and any moisture getting in would run down over my gaiters and out. In my head anyway that idea works.
Honestly to any one considering a hunt like this, 11,000 lunges a day and 2 ft box step ups and downs with a pack, in a walking cooler, with 4 garden sprinklers going. Do that for 5-6 straight hours and you'll be ready!
I probably should have talked to the doctor about meds. They do have some that can help Raynauds. Pretty sure one is an antidepressant which I dont want or need to take and another is viagra. Im positive Cole and TJ didnt want that.
I would never take my point and shoot camera up again. I never got it out, either to cold or to wet....or both.
I would take the smallest Binoculars I could comfortably use and carry. Those guys had big binos and a spotter. Plus we were only looking a couple hundred yards at a time.
Im sure theres more, but thats all I can think of.
All your answers seem very well thought out and good advice for somebody in a similar situation or condition!
Overheating on hikes is something I am very guilty of! I am from Mesa AZ and it's always "warm" here... I have become an absolute cold sissy!!
Thank you for the response, and again, Congratulations!!!
Question Luke: the previous weeks hunter , was he from Pa ? If so I will let him know about this thread