Day 2. Sunday, Oct. 24th.
No such luck. Woke up about half an hour into the night on an entirely deflated mattress. I did manage to go back to sleep pretty quickly. The rain has cleared up, which is good because we're taking off on our first hike today, to get an idea of some good places to find elk. We piled into uncle Pat's truck and drove up a few different logging roads. Walking around on the top of Bone Ridge or something, we found a few different game trails to walk and check for elk signs (hoof prints, droppings, beds) I noticed Grandpa was walking off on his own in a different direction than uncle Pat and my dad, so I figured I'd sort of follow him. Something tucked in among the foliage on the forest floor caught my eye. Appeared to be the lower section of a deer leg. At first I figured it was a scrap that fell off of a mountain lion's table, but a closer look showed the leg to have been cut, not torn, which means that it must be human. What's more, the fact that it's still a few weeks before deer season around here means it's poachers. There are a lot of people who give hunters a bad name, but I think poachers might be the worst of them. They don't care about managing herd sizes, or maintaining healthy ecosystems, or any real sort of hunting ethics. They care about getting their trophy, their meat, or their payment, and not getting caught or having to pay. Uncle pat says a lot of poachers will sell their meat to local restaurants or the Indians.
We also saw what seemed to be the remains of a turkey, and some elk prints, droppings, and beds. toward the end of our walk I found a big pile of hair, and a hide that looked like a deer had slipped it off and left it on the floor, too lazy to toss it into the laundry bin. Further evidence that poachers just wanted to get in, get some meat to sell, and get out.
As the rest of the men stood around a little stock pond, I decided I wanted to do more exploring, so I climbed up on a rock pile and looked off in the distance with my binoculars. Uncle Pat took a picture of me, which I will probably put as my profile picture when I get back. I must say, I look like quite the adventurer.
Finally got to see the nearly full moon tonight as it crested the tree tops. Hopefully the skies stay clear.
Sitting around the camp fire, with the inconstant wind never making its mind up about where it wants to blow the smoke, is an exercise in patience/not swearing too much in front of your grandpa. It's ridiculous, and I'll probably have lung cancer by the end of the week. Going to try to sleep on a deflated mattress again. Wish me luck.