I could not wait to check the weather. I unzipped the fly and only saw fog - damn! But Jack reminded me it was just a surface fog and would burn off quickly. We are now like an old married couple, we both know what to do and there is little need for discussion. Every morning in the tent we eat pepperoni bread for breakfast (a replacement for oatmeal), get dressed, pack up our gear, visit the facilities, and then get hiking. Today we added one additional task. We needed to pack up camp and move it higher up the mountain. That meant an early morning grunt with a full pack but the pain was short lived. After setting up the new camp at the foothills of the north range we were ready to hunt.
This shale slide was the first of two major climbs on two different mountains. The climbs were getting steeper and more demanding.
Jack recommended that he should carry my camera gear again. I agreed it was more efficient but I still didn't like it. It made sense so no argument. Twenty minutes later I was thanking Jesus that I didn't have a pack. We were climbing a shale slide to get high above that knife ridge which held all the oats - and to the highest point in this range. The plan was to get far above the animals so we have a vantage point and can move quickly should they decide to head higher.
I won't belabor the hike. It was awful. But we made it and were on the top of that mountain in a few hours. The terrain was far different up here than anyplace we had been to date in this hunt. It was all sharp, crumbling shale. The mountain appeared to be disintegrating. You could literally break the rock with your hands and reduce a softball sized hunk to marbles just be pulling it apart.
The "freak" goat was bedded below us 500 yards away but there was absolutely no way to reach him without a death wish.
We found a goat immediately once we reached the top. It was our freak. His left horn was normal, but his right horn grew straight out over his right eye and at a 45 degree angle to his nose. I thought he looked cool. I have seen hundreds of goats in my 20 year hunting career but I had never seen a nontypical. Too bad there wasn't a category either cause this billy had great bases and long horns. If there was a spread credit in PY he would be world record - hands down. PY does not score for spread so he would be scored as a typical with little deductions. As Jack reminded me, any talk about score was premature. With that horn sticking out the side of his head the chance of it not snapping off in a fall were slim and none.
The View from the top of that mountain left me breathless.
The goat spent the entire day on a flat bench just 500 yards away, and below us. There was no way to get to him unless you had a death wish. That knife ridge was ridiculous. Our only hope was the goat moved to us since there was just one way off that ridge and that was in our direction. The goat had feed, and seemed content. I had my doubts, but it was the only option we had. We couldn't see any other goats except for a few on distant mountains. Changing locations was no longer an option, something had to happen right here - and soon.
The sun was going down. We had spent the whole day hoping the freak would move, or waiting for other goats to materialize. Neither happened. The day ended with us scurrying down that shale slide back to camp. I really have no idea what we will do tomorrow. I have a feeling it's going to be radical. We are getting seriously close to the end of the hunt. We need to force the situation, even if that means making risky moves. Jack is looking hard at that ridge. Just climbing the lower section scares the hell out of me. I am torn. I don't need a goat that bad, but the goats are there. This hunt is intense. I never dreamed it would be this hard. Neither did Jack.
Kent does it again - fills his bear tag!
My buddy is having a hell of a hunt! When we called in to confirm the weather Lloyd told us the good news. Kent and Lloyd had spotted a great bear in a cut block and made a careful stalk and shot. The bear squares over 6 feet! Kent was having so much fun they ran into Smithers and bought a 2nd bear tag. We were thrilled for Kent and couldn't wait to see the video which Lloyd shot in HD.
Lloyd packs out Kent's bear the Canadian way!
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