The Mountains continued:
Day 19 Wednesday May 11th
Had a hard time getting to sleep last night and was a little tired this morning, I think yesterday’s walk was what caused the problem it was a slippery tough one. Ate breakfast and decided to try a little easier walk at least that was the plan, drove Betsy to the top of Royal Basin, through the snow, much of it had melted since I tried this logging road about 10 days ago. Left the 4 wheeler and walked down hill zig zagging in and out of the trees for a half hour or so until I came to a road I could see from the bottom, it led to several mines and had not been travelled on for a long time. I came to the mines and looked in them several caved in, timbers still visible and metal etc. I crossed over the canyon and wanted to get to a park across the way. I knew it had been walked by the PAH’s, but I thought I would walk in the trees up along the south edge to a place that looked like it had either been logged or burned from a distance. It ended up it had been logged several years ago, mostly for poles, there were not many big stumps. This was to the south of the park I had walked along, it was a bowl at the head of a big canyon (Royal Basin I would guess). I crossed a rock slide that ran for a quarter mile up the the hill it was only 50 yards across, I could hear something loud as I got near it, and as I crossed it I realized there was a good sized stream underneath the rocks, you could not see it anywhere, but it was big and loud. When I got to the south side of the canyon the trees thinned a bit and then it opened up into some small parks . I started zig zagging from where I hit the first one and worked my way up the hill, on the second turn I looked back behind me up hill, I had not seen it from below until I went by. Antler, yahoo, yippee skipee, and all those good things, I climb back over to where it is, record it on film, and pick it up, a nice five point with a small start of a sixth point. No chew marks, it is a year or two old, but I’ll say it every time as much as I would like a new drop, I’ll take these all day. So score one for the ole foggies, the has been’s, the retired by chance or choice, the limping, gimping old guys- score, score, score ones not a lot but we’ll take it; I had crossed a real tough snow field on a very steep, mossy slope, under thick trees, this was early in the walk and it about did me in, I also found a nearly new cabing back up in the one canyon, they must get to it on one of the many mine roads I had walked along. Beautiful place, obviously a summer only home. The shed had a metal cutout of a bow hunter, so the guy must bow hunt, the immediate setting was neat, as was the country to the north and east, but what I had crossed and what was above it a ¼ mile or so wasn’t so pretty. It doid face down into the canyo n and from where it sat it had a nice view, and the tall mountains of the top of Finley Basin far off in the distance, also beautiful. Anyway after crossing the snow field and the thick steep canyons to get to that point, wore me out, so by the time I had climbed along the park and up across the logged are and back into these small parks where I found the antler I was shot, I decided to walk only part of it and come back later, byt the time I got to the 4 wheeler I had walked 3 hard hours. When I go up there next I will start on top and cross the snow high up so I am right into the area where I found the antler with in the first half hour or so. Then I will walk the rest of it, these are small parks and not open very wide like some I had been walking, but I have run out of the big ones. When I found this antler, I became more interested in walking some of these other areas, probably fewer chances of antlers, but then one like I found today is pretty nice, and I have had several days with none, in nicer looking country than this was, but the elk are where they are when they lose them, just like they are where they are when you hunt them. So I have more hope. Again score one more for the gray and grumpy. Rest of the day, I read and studied, wrote on my book and I think I will take an Aleve tonight or Advil, see if I can’t get this knee to quit aching quite so much, my back aches on and off depending how tense I keep it while climbing on steep and snowy side hills, or if I slip etc, This stupid left heel, hurts sometimes more when I am walking and sometimes more when I am sitting without even any pressure on it. Sitting here I realizes that even thought I did not walk as far as some of the days – I did walk my but off today, oh wait, hold on, don’t get in a hurry, just a minute, I looking – hum seems I guess I didn’t walk my biut off it’s still there. Gutten Abend (spelling) for now.
Day 20 Thursday May 12th
Today was partly cloudy and was not to bad. Ate breakfast and traveled back to Royal Basin to hike around where I had found yesterday’s antler. Had 3 hour walk, starting about where I had found the antler and walking through and below the area, I never found the match or any other antlers. Lots of snow above had to work my way around, and sometimes through, some drifts were a good 5 or 6’ deep, it didn’t take long to back out and go the other way when I found this. Took a bath this afternoon behind the tent, didn’t heat the water , pretty chilly but felt good. Was going to wash clothes , but it clouded up and I didn’t want laundry on the line until a better day, read some, got carried away with a thought on my book that I had to quit on, but will follow up later. Two questions, 1st When your towel stays out in the rain is it washed? 2nd How in the world can it go from so cold to so hot and back to so cold in this tent so fast? Had to open the doors to let the heat out in a rain storm and then had to build the fire back up to stay warm 10 minutes later, someone needs to adjust the thermostat. Has rained pretty hard on and off this evening. Am contemplating where am going to walk next few days, I am running out of reasonable places to walk, there is a lot more like I walked in today, very few parks, quite a few trees and lots of snow. When I first found yesterdays antler in that type of area I got excited that it may be worth it to walk more of it, after today’s three hours, it is easy to think there has got to be something better. I will probably cross Boulder Creek tomorrow and try the north side again I have walked two days on that side to no avail, it looks great but either has been done in by PAH’s or the darn elk don’t know what looks good and have avoided it. I know that is not true cause there is elk sign there, so far just no antlers. Then again I have gathered antlers for years, sometimes with great success and sometimes with little or no results. I have found more elk antlers on this trip than ever before, but no deer antlers, then again I have been walking between 5500 and 6500 feet and the deer drop antlers whitetail 1st in mid January to mid February, then mulies into the end of March, Elk generally mid to late April. The truth is they drop them where and when they want that is pretty darn obvious. This next week Mark Tracy is going on the Smith River trip, I would have really liked to have gone, he invited me, it is by drawn permit only and you don’t ge the chance very often. I first told him I would go then things bunched up and I could see that was not possible. I would like to have Saundra go, they have a fall permit as well, maybe someday, supposed to be beautiful. I have thought about Saundra and my hikes here, she would not have liked them at all, cross country wherever , back and forth through trees, brush, open parks and across rock slides, over creeks and springs, not exactly a walk in the park, ior a well used trail, at the most an occasional so so game trail. No I couldn’t get Saundra to enjoy this I don’t think. I also thought if I could train puppy to look for antlers it would make my walks easier, then I even thought as I was walking about inventing and antler magnet, ha ha well puppy or the magnet would take all the exercise and fun out of it. I look back over the years and I have walked a lot of miles looking for antlers, certainly more than I have animals in hunting season and I have walked quite a few doing that. I have thought about pulling up camp and moving to Upper Willow Creek, there are some places over there I would like to walk, I would do it, but it seems too much trouble, it would take me a day to get out of here and a day to get set up there, plus the weather shows more rain and I have a fair supply of wood in the tent and under the tarp around the back, I would either have to pack that along or find decent dry stuff there and start over that would probably be another day – so I think willow creek will be a different time, besides the PAH’s from Pburg have probably hit it already, they have to know about it as I do since anyone who has hunted any of these areas gets a fair idea where potential antler drops might be. Well I still have a little scripture reading to do tonight, I have been faithful with my schedule of things I intended to do study wise so I don’t want to blow that now. I also need to go out in the dark, put the computer up and brush my teeth. It is now 10:56 pm.