In 2016 I enjoyed a lot of new adventures. Every single one of them was amazing in it’s own way. My wife and I got to take an amazing vacation in February to Tucson where we got to explore the mountains and desert in that area as well as getting in some much needed relaxation. I did a spring bear hunt in Montana, this included time in the Scapegoat Wilderness Area. I did a Archery elk hunt, where I learned more in a week then I have in years. I ran my first Ultra marathon the Zumbro 50. I ran my first 100 mile race the Superior 100. I spent more time in the mountains then I have ever before at the same time I explored more of my own state then I ever did before. I made a ton of new friends and lost some too. Death poked it’s nasty head into my life over and over this year. Some times he got what he came for, others he had to leave empty handed. I took on new ventures like the Backcountry Dreaming Podcast.
I’ve been terrible at keeping up with my writing and even worse with reading. Books have piled up and my draft list on here is extensive. I want to end the year well so I am going to highlight all the trips I haven’t covered yet on here and I am going to share a lot of pictures with you all. Next year I will try to do a better job of writing more consistently.
Here our some of the highlights from this years trips.
This trip was all new to me and I was excited to enter the mountains in the spring for the first time. Right off the bat we spotted mountain goats. We saw a ton of grizzly sign and had an amazing time in the scapegoat watching deer and elk. Eventually we realized it wasn’t going to happen in the Scapegoat and decided to try another area that was close by. We broke trail on the road up to the trailhead and found a spot where bears were sure to hang out. After spotting for about an hour and enjoying some coffee I decided to take a walk. Mike was just as curious to see what was around the corner so we packed up and walked down the trail. About 200 yards down the trail we stopped, I looked up the hillside and then turned to start walking. That’s when I realized I just saw something so I stopped and pulled up my nockers. To my surprise there were two bears up pretty high above us. They weren’t the bears we were after but they were bears and I have never seen grizzlies before so my curiosity told me I need to get closer. I hiked towards them but they fed around the bend and I couldn’t see them. We headed back to glass from the trail and 45 minutes later they were back. One more failed attempt to get closer and they were gone. At this point we decided to stop that and worked back to camp. This was a first for me and one I will never forget. I was glad to have my friend along on this trip. He had never had the joy of spending time in the mountains and he fell in love with them.
The best story from this hunt would be from the first night. We hiked in about a mile and set camp. As soon as we finished my brother and I decided we should work the knob above us and find some glassing points. We walked around and glassed for a total of 3 hours. We got back to camp as it was getting dark. It was time to eat so we decided to get our lights out and start dinner. Our food was hung in a tree about 100 yards from camp. Whitey got his light out first so he went up to get the bag down. I fumbled around for another 30 seconds finding my lantern and headlamp. As soon as I got them I headed up to my brother, he was still dropping the food so I turned around and to my surprise there was a set of eyes next to the tent glowing in my headlamp. My brother didn’t believe me until it blinked. Right off the bat I could tell it was a cat but we weren’t sure what kind. So we walked closer(again my curiosity). As we walked closer it came to me that this cat was standing on my pack, seconds after I was digging through it. I was being hunted… Once we got closer the cat disappeared behind the tent. It came out the other side, 10 yards from us. We were talking trying to figure out what kind of cat it was, eventually it started to move and I told my brother to watch the tail. “If it’s big it’s a lion so I’ll fire some shots.” Seconds later I heard “OH Sh!%” then I fired one shot off to the side and we never saw the cat again. Needless to say, dinner was quick that night. We slept with the lantern on and a radio playing on a phone.
There was more that happened throughout the year. I did my rifle hunt in Montana as well and we got caught in a nasty wind one night in my Teepee. It was a fun time being out in November with family but it was also filled with a lot of disappointments. Like archery elk, it was way to warm and there was very little snow.
Sorry I am not getting in more stories or detail. I haven’t been writing much this year. It’s been busy around here, but I am now trying to finish up some of my drafts that I never got to. Soon I’ll be adding a write up on some products as well as some other great stories, like the one of the bear on my new cover photo.