Thursday, April 5, 2012


Spring air has a way of awakening long dormant desires to cover new ground and stretch out your legs. It is funny how the first stretch of a long walk can invigorate a wilderness wanderer. Yet the last legs of a high mountain climb can leave even the most seasoned hiker gasping for air and wishing rubber legs would quit. Somehow every spring I find myself covering large pieces of realestate in search of adventure, clean air , sunshine and elk sheds. I am not sure why but the prospect of finding a shed antle for me is like finding some secret treasure. A treasure left in the wilderness just for me, hidden in secret places by the creator hoping I will take the time to search. I have walked thousands of miles over the years searching out these treasures. It seems to me the rubber legs come on sooner and last longer than they used to and the mountain air is somehow completely without oxygen. Places where I once ran up steep slopes have become steeper. Where I used to trot across broken terrain carrying a hundred pound pack of shed antlers. Now I have to crawl up the last few yards hoping for some sort of emergency response personell to revive me once the summit is reached. The antlers are heavier too and gain weight with every mile traveled. I carried two six points that weighed fifty pounds. Yet when I weighed them at home they had shrunk to a total of twenty pounds. In my youth I spotted a shed from nearly a half mile away through my spotting scope. I ran through the wild lands, giddy with anticipation as I finally laid hands on my newfound treasure. Today I see a large six point shed across the valley and begin my track on wobbly legs through unforgiving and often hostile territory. Three hours later I finally arrive at the sight of the giant shed only to find someone has replaced it with a stick that slightly resembles the actual antler. My legs burning and my chest heaving with the last of the oxygen on the planet I retreat back up the mountain, I carry a piece of paper in my wallet, a will telling who should receive all the treasures I have accumulated in my life. And what to do with my remains should the climb back up run completely out of oxygen. This spring I finally made it back to the truck, I crawled the last few yards. I managed to suck some hidden oxygen from near the ground and rise to my feet. Three elk sheds attached to my pack weighing nearly five hundred pounds. I take the pack off and wait for the dizziness to pass before finally loading the heavy burden into the truck and driving toward home. Yes this is no place for the old, weak or faint of heart, the wilderness if there to enjoy if you have the strength, stamina and a lions heart. And the creator will keep making sure that the antlers get dropped farther and farther back in every year. While those mountains will keep growing and the air will eventually be completely free of oxygen. Until then I'll keep coming up here and searching for the treasures nature has laid out for me. Hawk

1 comment:

sarina said...

LOL... Yep! This is the best ever!