Day 6, Thursday, Oct. 28th
The plan, I believe, is to take a break some time this afternoon to go up to the very top of the mountain, on the side nearest town, to try to catch a bit of a cell phone signal so that we can all call our others. I just hope the elk don't wait until then to come out of hiding. I'm looking forward to calling Erika if she's available, and if I can get a decent signal.
We're heading out early so we can try to catch the elk while they're still brushing their teeth and putting on their make-up. It's raining, and 40 degree's. Fortunately, I sprayed my jacket with water-proofing twice, so I should be well covered. My dad got this scent blocker spray called autumn forest or something... and it smells exactly like what I was talking about in my facebook status last month when I said, "Jacob Smith wants cologne that smells like the Sana Cruz mountains. Not Santa Cruz. The Santa Cruz mountains." I may just have to steal it, and wear it around town... that is, if I ever go around town.
On our way out to the stock pond, we came upon a clearing and stopped inside the tree line. Papa leaned up against a tree and looked one way, I stood between a couple of trees and looked the other direction. After about a minute of standing still and being quiet (my favorite game), I see some deer coming toward us. I say, "Deer, right behind you.". By this time, they were just a little under 30 feet away, and a few of them stopped when papa turned around... but most of them just kept on like they were going to run right through us. I hesitate for a moment, deciding whether I should reach for my knife on my right hip, or my camera in my left pocket. I decided on my camera, and when I reach for it, the rest of the deer stop and look at us like, "Holy crap! You two were trees a second ago!" The five does bolted off, and were out of sight almost instantly, but the buck stuck around and posed for a few seconds. Long enough for me to get a profile shot of him. He wasn't anything too impressive, just a forked horn, but considering he almost trampled us, I was happy to get a picture. I hope I don't have to be content with that being the only thing I get this week.
We got up to the stock pond, and it seems just a little too late. The water was cloudy, and there were no elk around. We sat out of sight for a while, with the rain dripping down, hoping the trees would do a decent job of sheltering us... but it seems they were all too eager to be rid of the water collecting on them, and all too willing to dump it right on us, so we decided to hike back to camp. Along the way, we saw the tail ends of two more white-tail deer bouncing along through the forest about 50 feet ahead of us. Too bad it's not deer season.
Mark showed up around lunch time. Papa and Grandpa went up to make calls, but there's only room for two in Grandpa's car, so I'll wait around, and hope Pat goes up to call Jeanine this evening, and I'll be able to go and call Erika. I like being out here away from everything... but the one thing I miss more than anything else... more than a soft bed, more than tv, more than all my internets, is being able to contact her whenever I want.
The good thing about rain is that it disguises some of your noise. The bad thing is that my water-proofing didn't work. Second excursion, two more white tails and no elk. Seeing all this sign, and putting forth all of this effort, but not even catching a glimpse of what we're hunting... it's a little hard not to get discouraged. There have been so many near perfect opportunities for us to shoot an elk that only lacked one very important thing.
I nearly threw my phone off of a mountain. "More bars in more places" is great, provided that all those bars don't disappear as soon as you hit send. Standing on the top of a mountain, on top of a rock, in the rain, trying to call, or text... holding the phone up above my head, looking like a crazy person. Nothing. As soon as my jacket sleeves were wet enough to wring out, I decided it was time to give up and go back to the camp fire. I'll have to try again later. As miserable as all of that sounds, I really am enjoying myself. The only thing that sucks is that the one person I would most like here with me probably wouldn't enjoy it us much as I am. Really, after a long wet day like today, I'll take a covered campfire over a heated house.
By the way, since I wasn't able to call you: Happy birthday, Mama, I hope it was a good one.