Rainy Spring Days in the Mountains 

View from the front porch of the cabin
Arriving at our cabin for a rainy-day work weekend, we count ourselves so lucky to have such a wonderful retreat.

View from the back deck on a cloudy evening.  Snow drifts are still quite deep!
Two pair of geese mating on the beaver pond, then the beaver makes a dramatic appearance as the rain falls heavily.

Antelope herd grazing in the front yard
New shooting gear!  Even the drizzly cold weather doesn’t dampen my excitement.  Getting prepared for my 2017 horseback elk hunt!  Labradar Chronograph and Lead Sled+ make shooting much more fun and setup much less time consuming.  Unfortunately, one Barnes round penetrated the steel plate backstop

A few of the early wildflowers in bloom.  Pasque flower and buttercup.  Due to the rain, I couldn’t get a good picture of the forget-me-nots covering the front yard.

In addition to the usual moose, elk and deer captured in the game camera, we found a few less frequent visitors: a marmot, a goose in flight and a coyote.

Rained all last night and all Wednesday.  It’s no hardship with a cozy fire and a good book.

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Elk Hunt 2017

I just booked a guided horseback elk hunt for Ben and I in 2017 with Lynn Madsen, at Yellowstone Outfitters, Afton, Wyoming.

Horse and mule pack trip to Hawk’s Rest Camp – 28 miles from the trailhead
Here’s what Lynn has to say about his outfit:

“Our Hawks Rest Camp is located in the Teton Wilderness northeast of Jackson…It sets off the southeast corner of Yellowstone Park between the Yellowstone and Thorofare Rivers (Area 60 on a Game & Fish map). It is one day-pack 28 miles, from our base camp at Turpin Meadows…The Hawks Rest camp holds the reputation of being the furthest spot in the continental United States from a road in any direction. Not only will you be hunting in one of the best trophy elk camps in the United States but you will also be hunting in country that looks the same as it did 100 years ago.

Our fully equipped camp consists of a large cook tent, shower tent, sleeping tents with cots, foam mattresses, and wood burning stoves along with plenty of fire wood. We are proud to say that our camps hold an excellent reputation earned by hiring reputable licensed guides, maintaining a clean comfortable camp, serving good food and supplying both good horses and mules and equipment.”

My brother Tom and I are considering a summer fishing trip with Lynn Madsen as well….

Post hunt cleanup

Sick all day Monday, so couldn't enjoy the warm, sunny weather. Better yesterday. I emptied the composting toilet, breaking the plastic drum catch in the process (no big deal, they will send me a new one for cost of shipping). I filled the water tanks – we were down to 25 gallons, and I emptied the grey water holding tank which was nearly half full. I estimated it had about 500 gallons of grey water which is nearly 1/2 of its 1,250 gallon capacity.

I Last pumped it out Sept 24th when Sal, Bill and I arrived to work at the cabin. According to the cabin calendar we have been up here a total of 25 days since last pump-out including Bill's visit, Sal with Lisa and recently Sal, Ben and I hunting. On average then, we use 20 gallons of water a day – hard to believe. Cross-checking, I last filled the water tanks when Bill was here and today added 525 gallons to the tanks, so the numbers tie out, given that Sal throws out the dishwater in the yard to feed the wild flowers.

Today I pack up and go home, tidying up in case Ray and Shirley are able to come to the cabin for Thanksgiving.

Elk hunt 2013 leaves many great memories. Maybe next year's hunt will also include bringing home the bacon (er……….Elk)!

 
 

 

Elk Hunt Day 9

Sunrise over Boulder Ridge (10,100')

Feeling that I may have finally gotten the best of my bronchial crud, I endeavored to climb to my favorite meadow at 9,700 ft to watch the sun rise and hopefully catch elk feeding. The sun kept to it's appointed hour, however the elk were not so courteous. I heard cow elk calling to each other in the distance, but before I could locate the source, they moved off northwest toward the peak of Bull Mountain (10,082).

Sunrise touches the Rawah Mountains

The sunrise was glorious!

Boulder Ridge & Jimmy Creek Valley with Rawah Mtns in background
Elk like steep meadows @ 9,600'

Pretty fresh elk sign in my meadow.

Elk skid marks in snow overlaying mud

The meadow was full of “skid marks” – elk sliding in the snow covered mud on their way down the mountain to feed last night.

Ancient Limber Pine grasping a boulder in its roots
Mid-morning snack: orange, jalapeño cheese sticks and M&M's

On my way down the mountain, 4 deer (all does) sauntered onto the meadow only 30 yards away. They somehow must have known I only had a buck deer license. When they saw me, they picked up the pace a bit, but when I didn't try to immediately eat them, they slowed to a fast walk and moved toward the trees. Pretty girls!
My truck needs a bath!

My neighbors David & Janet Lochman stopped by to discuss our Wood Duck Introduction Project and mentioned that he had frequently been seeing a big bull elk with a small herd of cows feeding on the Big Meadow above his cabin. So, of course, the evening hunt was at the Big Meadow. The temp has climbed to 51 degrees and most of the deep, crusted, snowdrifts had melted a bit, so getting up there was no problem with the chained up truck.

I immediately found the tracks of a small herd of about a dozen, crossing and recrossing. The sign looked to be a few hours old, from this morning or thereabouts, so after tracking a while, I returned to the Big Meadow for the last 30 minutes of the hunt.

Elk tracks in the forest east of Big Meadow

The meadow smelled strongly of elk, however, they did not deign to appear, so I returned home to drown my sorrows in Thai Green Curry with Shrimp and Broccoli.

This years hunt was quite exciting, despite getting sick a couple days before the start. We saw lots of elk (maybe 75 or so – but no clearly identifiable 4point legal bulls), I saw a few deer, we had 2 lovely falls of tracking snow, 30 mph winds, calm days, and the temps ranged from a low of 11 to a high of 51 degrees, so we certainly had lots of variety. Son-in-law Ben displayed great endurance and enthusiasm in improving his hunting craft and was rewarded with a plenitude of elk sightings. He is a fine elk hunting partner.

We ate well, got lots of excercise and enjoyed the peace of the Rocky Mountain wilderness. Can't get much better than this!

Self portrait in sunrise hot light!