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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Open Day rifle season.... success! Again!

The elk gods were on my side...... again! 3 years in a row I have been lucky enough to harvest a big beautiful bull elk on public land (last years was on sign-in block management so essentially public land with regards to hunting). This year was eerily similar to 2 years ago. I got them both on opening day, shot from pert-near the same spot and they both died within 100yds or so of each other. I have a great spot; its elevated so you can see and it creates a topographical funnel for animals to go through. Im a big fan of other hunters too. I didnt find this heard, someone else did and got them moving. I have patterned them enough in this area to know where they run to; right by my 'crows nest'. So thanks other hunters for being great bird-dogs! One thing that really struck me this year was a rainbow that I initially saw touch down maybe a mile away but it moved and touched down right in front of me! I could literally see the end of the rainbow touching the grass! I tried to take photos but they didnt capture it very well. But get this, my bull showed up (and passed away) right where that rainbow touched down! Its not quite a pot of gold but Ill take it! Luckily, down at the truck, we drank an extra beer or two and discussed how to get him out because extraction two years ago was a ton of work. We decided to walk up a possible new way down and thank goodness we did because we pretty much walked straight to him and had no uphill on the way out. No uphill is HUGE when you're hauling a mature bull out. Thanks Harry D, Wood B and Fat B. for the help getting him out. Again.

Heres the rainbow touching down right (~100yds) in front of me. Just past the large tree but before the tree line below.
One of 3 Black Bears spotted that day. Too small to tag.
He face planted in some little trees.
My first mature 6 point. Its amazing to see how much larger a mature elk is compared to an adolescent. Atleast 18" taller at the back and 24(?)" longer! His stomach could hold a whole square bail!

I have had that 30*6 since I was 12 and it has put atleast a thousand pounds of meat in to my families freezers.
Hunting is team work. Its something to be shared. When you hear 'elk down' without hesitation I start working my way there with any gear necessary and a little jealousy but NO animosity. I know one of these years ill be paying back these guys for all their hard work. But for now, Ill stick to the winning streak! P.s. that orange game cart with the inline wheels made in Libby MT is worth its weight in gold; we put the entire elk (minus guts, lower legs and head) on it and got it out in one trip!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Revenue Village: Proud Face; Climb day (Last of the season?)

Thinking that it could be the last day of the rock season (at least out at the Village anyway) Sam, Terra, Cady, Manfred and I braved the cold wind and got some climbing in. Trying to find the easy way up to the rock, took us of the normal route and Sam found an awesome obsidian arrowhead! Less than a mile from where I found the mortar pestle. Eventually, we got to the rock (which is the hardest and furthest to get to in the Village) in about an hour. With too little time to clean any of the routes, we deemed top-roping the fastest and safest way to climb. Leading unclimbed routes in the Village is not something I recommend. The rock has tons of feldspar(?) crystals which simultaneously makes for fun but potentially dangerous climbing. Some of the crystals will, and do, break. Breaking holds usually results in a climber fall. Therefore, I like to swing around on top rope and get rid of the bad holds and scrub off the lichen where needed. Not to mention get the dirt out of the cracks. The motto of my area is 'trust the crystals' and it is so much easier to do when you know the route has been cleaned. Anyway, Sam and I got to climb 'Proud Face' 5.10d(?) and 'Proud Face Crack' 5.8 while Cady only got PF Crack. Terra and Manfred opted to stay in the sunshine which we were all very jealous of. Sam moved the rope over to 'The Fugitess Crack' and we both got burned out real quick. I was hoping it would go at 5.12 and now Im pretty darn sure it does! The Village needs some hard routes and this one is worth the walk. I didnt want to dream about it all winter with no attempts so luckily I got some. I put that curiosity to bed. I grabbed everything out of the cache that I dont like to leave through the winter, loaded up the pack and we hiked out as the sun was setting. The views from the ridge in any direction at anytime of day are spectacular, but the sunsets are particularly beautiful.
Me post traverse on Proud Face
Me figuring out Proud Face Crack. The trick for this wide crack is to stay out of it!

Fugitess laps. Hard. Steep. Cold this day.

My cheer squad!
Sammy sailing through Proud Face faster than me.
Proud Face shares the splitter crack start but traverses left at the first bend in the crack. PF Crack finishes right (out of sight) of the upper arete.

If it wasnt for Hollowtop Mountain, I would say Ward Peak is the most iconic mountain in the Tobacco Roots.