Fun time is over. Jack and I were up early and ready for our final push. We both agreed, even if there was a hurricane, tornados, blizzard and a freaking volcano on that mountain we were staying. I had three helpings of breakfast. I knew, the next couple of days were going to be physically and mentally brutal. Unfortunately, the weather still sucked.
This was far steeper than it looks on the photo. Our path led us right through the saddle between the cliffs straight to the top.
The hike to high country made me feel guilty. If you recall, I left my Mystery Ranch Pack on the mountain back at camp. Jack was carrying my camera gear. He is an absolute animal, and so is his brother Lloyd. Here I was with nothing but the clothes on my back, a pair of binoculars, a bow and a little video camera clipped to my belt. He had a pack loaded with clothes, food, fuel, and my camera gear and still he was waiting for me to catch up. We did leave the rifle behind as this was a bowhunting only mountain for goats. I could kill a wolf with a rifle here but we opted to leave it behind so we could move faster. It's not like I would sit it out, if we saw a wolf I would be flinging my Muzzy-tipped CX arrows at him at ranges that would ignite an ethical debate on our forums for weeks.
Once at the top Jack was still smiling. He loves guiding no matter how hard the hunt is.
We got to the top in record time. In fact, not one time did we stop to sit and rest. I am getting stronger. The constant up and down along with my previous weight loss and exercise is paying dividends. Where I once saw a distant mountain range and cringed (when Jack would say "we can be there in three hours") I am now thinking to myself - "I bet we can do that in 2.5." I was also optimistic. Sure, the weather was lousy today, but the next three days looked great and I was feeling good. Jack, on the other hand, was feeling pressure. No goat hunter had ever gone this long without a shot. He has enjoyed an unbelievable success rate on goat bowhunters with most tagging out their very first day. This year was tougher than most and it was bothering him. Mind you, no pressure came from me. I already considered this hunt a success and was blown away by the hard work and attitude displayed by everyone at Babine Outfitters. They were all first class. Not every hunt goes as planned and we both know that. In fact, I told him if a hunt goes sideways on him it was far better that it happened to me. Lots of guys save up years to go on a hunt like this but my situation is different. If he was going to have tough hunt it was better that it happened with someone who was not freaking out. He agreed, sort of.
We were both anxious to start glassing the cliffs. On this mountain, you are above all the action. You can also run around and glass several cliff faces easily by ridge running from East to West. The terrain on top is gentle with grass for the most part. So long as the goats were on this South side we were golden. If they were North, we were in trouble.
Can you guess where they were?
We spent hours glassing the cliffs on the south side of this range. Nothing. Not even fresh sign was spotted. Jack was disappointed. I could see it in his face. I was too. I knew what this meant and it wasn't pretty. We moved to a north facing cliff. It was the last cliff face on this range and it gave us a great view of the first set of cliffs on the north range. The mountains were far different there than here. More massive, all rock, jagged and terrifying. I spotted the goats first and Jack pulled out his spotter. Sure enough, there they were. We found 7 goats in one bunch and what appeared to be a freak-horned billy by himself.
There are seven goats along this knife-blade ridge however only four appear to be visible from this angle. This is where the goats are hanging. Not good.
I asked Jack what it was like up there. He didn't know. He never got that far before. In fact, this had become his most difficult goat hunt - ever. Both in terms of the physical requirements, time, and a sheer lack of any real stalks. It figures. He knew all about my former elk curse which I joked about. But no curse on goats, I had killed two before on different trips. Not sure if that made him feel better or worse. Probably worse.
Click the video above to watch a compilation of clips shot on Day 10
We spent the rest of that day sizing everything up. In addition to the 7 goats we spotted others on the range beyond. That hike would take all day and require us to move camp. I knew this was tomorrow's play. I didn't like it. The weather turned sour again but it was the final battle between the low and high pressure and the highs were winning. We could see red sky to the west. Good weather was on the way.
Strong wind and rain. The weather was going to change but the low pressure was not giving up without a fight.
We climbed into the tent wet yet ready for a world-class push. We needed a good rest. Jack made his signature dish - Mr. Noodle with a cut up stick of Pepperoni topped off with a cookie. He then fired up his daughter's I-Touch which we hung like a movie screen from flagging tape tied to the top of the tent. While we digested supper we laughed while watching episodes of curb your enthusiasm and 2 and a half men. A nice memory despite the fact that both shows are the product of quasi-liberal leftist garbage.
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