Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Life and Death on the Mountain

It is less than 4 hours till I leave with my 15-year-old daughter on one of the most important trips, to date, of our life. We will spend seven days in the mountains hunting bear and elk with just what we can carry on our backs.

Now I know many adults will think I have lost my mind. The idea of being in the wilds for nine days (we have to be there before hunting season starts to set up and get ready) without running water, electricity, email, cell phones or anything else, well to some that is just nuts. I tell you on some levels I think it may be.

Seems there are more than a few of my daughter’s friends who think she is crazy. Not only all the outside elements she will be faced with but what about being with just your dad for that long. They question the idea of the long drive up with just me, no hair care products to speak of, no texting.

But as I look at the gear I believe we have what we need. A Katadyn Vario water purification system, Jetboil cooking system, Coleman tent and sleeping bags, Mountain House dehydrated meals, Bushnell Backtrack GPS and an Icon Rogue flashlight. Some of the finest gear available. We have trained over the last months at the gym and running. There is really no way in the flat lands to prepare completely for the altitude and the weather. This summer in a test run we did really well at 7 & 10,000 feet, acclimating pretty fast, this is crucial.

I know the area pretty well and my oldest brother knows it real well in case we don’t report in on time. He has property just a half day horse ride below and he taught me the way of the elk and how to hunt them. He is a great elk hunter. He completed the “holy grail” of elk hunting several years ago when he packed back into the national forest on horseback and killed a monster bull elk with his bow.

I have put on a nice layer of fat to keep me warm. The temperature this time of year in the mountains where we are going averages about 20. It can get up to the 50’s during the day but for us, in the dark hunting the timber, it will remain cold. The snow has come in plenty of times on me there and can slow you down but it helps a lot when your tracking so there is some give and take.

The real test here, the real motivator for me is the time with my daughter. She can be tough and has proven herself worthy of this trip with high grades, no discipline problems, hard work and she is a great hunter as well.

I have a lot going on right now – lots of emails I can send out or reply to, lots of phone calls I can make, lots of things to get done. The problem is that will always be there. I have never had a day when I did not have something I could do. I have a few moments in my life where I heard God speak to me and tell me to invest time into something, go somewhere, talk to someone, do something and this is one of them.

I have plenty of times already in my life I regret. I have times I have laid on the couch and ignored what I knew I should be doing, went hunting when I needed to be home or shopping, or drinking or getting into trouble. Life is full of regrets and so many of them are ones we elect to bestow upon ourselves.

Today I will embark on an adventure with my daughter. It may fail, we may get run off the mountain by weather, not see any big game or worse. But God is going to lead us and bless us in this time together. William Wallace (Braveheart)once said something like, “ Will you not fight for your country’s freedom? Will you leave and return to the comforts of your home as your neighbors and countrymen die here today? Will you wake up one day, living a life of regret, regret you did not fight the fight and die with honor? Today I choose to fight, I choose freedom.”

God’s Speed –

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