High winds and rain pounded our little tent all night. Both Jack and I stayed in our sleeping bags all morning despite the fact that both of us had to pee badly. It was that crummy out! We would roll over and try to fall back asleep and when it sounded like it would let up, we'd unzip the tent's rain fly and peek out. At 11 AM both of us had enough of it and convinced ourselves that it was good enough to get out hunting. We dressed in our heaviest storm gear and buttoned up the camp as best we could.
At our lower elevation we could see about 500 yards. Not bad. But at the higher elevations the visibility sucked. We had about 50 yards on average - but that would change by the minute. This went on for hours as we hiked into the higher elevations. Why? I don't know. We are feeling some pressure - I guess. It is looking like this weather may really mess up this hunt.
Now I have been hunting a long time and coming home goatless was not going to bother me too much. It would bother me far more if my friend Kent was having similar difficulties but that worry was behind us. I was sure that while we were being roughed up by the weather, he was sipping a mocha in Lloyd's truck while hunting black bear - as dry and comfortable as you could get. Envious? Maybe a little as I stood there shivering.
It was now late afternoon and unless there was a goat within 80 yards of us there was no chance of seeing it. It was then that I started to question the logic of being up here. Sure, I could take the nasty weather. I have been confined to a tent (due to weather) more times than I care to think about. And while my creature comforts are a strong motivator, I also know that if the weather broke it was better to be here and not at the lodge. If this weather was going to stay this way for a few hours it made sense to tough it out. If not, it made no sense to stay. Jack called the lodge for the forecast.
This is what it looked like when we reached the top of the mountain. We had zero visibility.
When the fog receded, the visibility improved slightly. This picture was taken during one of those occasions.
I could see him nodding. I saw the look on his face and knew what that meant. He turned off his radio and moved closer so I could hear him over the howling winds. Weather was bad and possibly getting worse for 2 more days. Then clearing only for the last 3 days. At that moment, it made no sense being here. We stood the risk of blowing our scent all over the mountain. Jack had a suggestion I liked very much; he told me we should leave the camp behind and that included my pack. He would carry my camera gear so we could move fast (both down, and back up the mountain when the weather cleared).
A few hours later I was back at the lodge and personally congratulating Kent. When I saw his goat horns I was blown away. That thing was unreal. I had never seen more mass on a goat. Impressive! Kent was now bear hunting and having a ball. My hunt was rough so far, but seeing how much fun he was having made up for it.
Not sure what we're going to do tomorrow, but we won't be goat hunting.