Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series by members of TU’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project. For more, visit www.oursportingheritage.org, a site dedicated to protecting our backcountry resources.
By Corey Fisher
The weatherman kept going on about temps dipping below freezing and tomatoes in peril. I couldn’t blame him; after a couple months without rain, he was excited to give a forecast that didn’t include the word “drought.” I listened intently, not because I was worried about tomatoes (I gave up on watering the garden weeks ago), but because it was September and a frost warning meant that it was time to head for the hills.
There just seems to be something about bunchgrass sheathed in frost and wallows skimmed with ice that put bull elk in the mood.
It’s a little different every year: On September 15, 2006 I crawled out of my tent to six inches of wet snow. September 10, 2010 found me pouring boiling water on boots frozen stiff. This year’s frost warning was for September, 12 and I just so happened to have a few days of vacation scheduled.
The alarm on my ten-dollar-Timex failed to go off and the sun had already crested the horizon when I woke with a start. There was no time to fire up the stove for instant oatmeal and coffee. A rock-hard Cliff Bar and water thickened with needles of ice had to make do for breakfast as I threw on my pack and grabbed my bow.