Springtime in the Rockies

It is now officially spring at 8,500 feet in Colorado.

I saw lots of American Pronghorn antelope and a golden eagle on the drive in to my cabin. Four elk and two antelope met me in the front yard as I arrived. Two geese appear to be nesting at the beaver pond, and I’m hoping for a new crop of “young ‘uns”.

Alpine Forget-Me-Nots, Hedgehog Cactus, Arrow-leaf Balsam Root and Western Pasque Flower are in bloom. Broad Tail Hummingbirds and Mountain Blue Birds have returned – the hills are alive!

Some surprises in the game camera keep things interesting ūü¶Ā

Lovely sunsets each evening . Wish you were here !

Xx
Alpine Forget-Me-Not
Western Pasquale Flower
Western Pasque Flower
Neighbor Deb’s Hedghog Cactus
Arrowleaf Balsam root
One of many beautiful sunsets
Mountain Bluebirds on the wind turbine
A cow elk vists in the early morning
January Moose
January coyote
Surprise!  A Mountain Lion visits the game camera on April 1st!

 

An “Old-Fashioned” Wyoming Horseback Elk Hunt

Grizzlies and Wolves and Elk, Oh My!

My son-in-law, Ben, and I recently returned from a guided horseback elk hunt with Lynn Madsen, at Yellowstone Outfitters, Afton, Wyoming.  It was incredible!

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.‚ÄĚ

Well, our experience lived up to Lynn’s promotional material and then some. ¬†We had a “once in a lifetime” experience. ¬†Read on, if you are interested in the details.

Ben flew in from California and the following day we made the 8 hour drive from Fort Collins, Colorado to Jackson, Wyoming, where we spent the night. ¬†You can fly into Jackson’s small airport, but it’s kinda expensive and you have to pay hundreds of dollars to ship your elk meat back home, so driving seemed like the frugal option. ¬†Besides we were able to enjoy each other’s company and the lovely Wyoming scenery as we motored along.

On Monday morning October 9th we rose early, ate breakfast and made the 1 hour drive north and East to Turpin Meadows where we met Lynn, our guide, four other hunters and were introduced to our horses who would become our new and closest friends for almost 10 hours today.

Lynn provided quality, well cared for horses that are a cross between big, strong draught horses (for strength and stamina) and quarter horses (to reduce the size).  They are still really big, tall horses and getting a leg up into the stirrup was my yoga/stretching challenge each time we mounted.  Getting off was no issue, but is was a long way down.

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The yellow marker highlights the beautiful pack trail into camp.  We cross the Continental Divide at Two Ocean Pass and gain over 1,300 feet in elevation over the 28 mile trek.
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Hunters “chew the fat” while pack mules wait patiently

Heading up the mountain, we were passed by Lynn’s string of mules bringing our gear and replenishing needed supplies. ¬†On the way in we passed several sets of grizzly and wolf tracks.

Nearly there! ¬†Riding through the Yellowstone Valley, soon to cross the Yellowstone River, Hawk’s Rest Mountain in the distance.

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