I move silently through the early morning darkness the thick timber surrounding me is a comfort, like a blanket covering my movements along the forest floor. Early mornings like this always make me feel as one with the natural world, no other humans stir at this time of the morning especially in this high country. The stars wink overhead in the darkness, thousands of magnificent shiny diamonds against a backdrop of blue black velvet sky. Daylight is still hours away as I make my way through the wilderness on moccasin clad feet. I have no destination in mind and no agenda to follow, this is a ritual of sorts for me, every year I come to this high country in search of elk. I also take the time to explore the wilderness, not hunting or tracking but just being wild. I enjoy the trails through high timber in the hours before dawn , high ridges in the middle of the night or maybe just laying on my back in an aspen grove on a lazy afternoon . Don’t misunderstand me, I will stay on an elk for days following like a wolf through the wild places, until the opportunity comes for the shot and a possible climax to the hunt. Sometimes we as hunters get so caught up in the hunting that we forget why we come to these mountains in the first place. We become so engrossed in the pursuit of a harvest that we fail to see the natural world and all it has to show us. This is why I take the time to roam the night, sit on a windswept ridge , or daydream along a rushing stream . Not to become one with nature but to enjoy all she allows me to witness while out there. The call of a wild creature in the night stirs our primal soul , the flight of a hawk high on a late afternoon thermal somehow soothes our soul and the feel of clear rushing water on our skin cleanses our souls in a way only nature can. So next time you are out in the wild places, take a moment to not only notice, but feel the wild world around you. I assure you that you will leave the wilderness with a better outlook and clearer perspective than when you arrived.
I sit upon the earth , the night speaks to me, the trees speak to me, the rocks speak to me, all around the creatures of the earth speak to me, not because I speak their language…. But because I take the time to listen….. Hawk