After thumping my chest at going out Friday and finding some nice land to take my daughter hunting on(and plenty of deer in the area), Saturday, it was my turn.
In my case, finding land to hunt on is not a problem...most of the area my cow tag is good for is public land. It's getting familiar with the land, and trying to find the animals on the land. This isn't the first time I have hunted on Umtanum Ridge, but it's been let's see...9-10 years, and in that time, conditions change. There are range fires, and some roads are closed to give the animals more space, and some roads are washed out...things are just different.
So, with the wife and kids out of town, and the season two months away, I figured it was a good time to go start doing some looking.
Things didn't start out good. My plan involved heading into the town of Naches and visiting the Forest Ranger Station Headquarters there to pick up an updated map. But hey, it's the weekend when most folks are out recreating...why have the Forest Service office open? Since I had already driven 2 hours, I decided that my old atlas was detailed enough.
I'll remove the suspense...I didn't get lost. I just didn't necessarily no where I was going...or how far down each road I was going to be able to get before things changed from the thin solid line, to the thin dotted line...which makes a difference.
Now...it doesn't translate well to due to the lack of scale, but trust me...these ruts winked at me and I swear they said 'we eat F-150's for breakfast, son'. And I believed them. When you worry about staying out of the ruts more than you worry about the sage brush growing along the side of the 'road', your truck looks like this at the end of the day.
It wasn't a wasted trip...I learned things, which is mostly that the roads up there are in much worse shape than they are on Bethel Ridge where I have been hunting the last few years. Luckily, I have time to prepare. I can either go try to find a used Hummer, or start doing some walking, acknowledging the fact that I'm going to have to put in some actual mileage on my feet this year.
I wonder what I can sell to put towards a Hummer?