Articles / Spring Hunt -2008
Category: Camps, Treks & Adventures
This years SMM spring-trek was kinda short, but nevertheless filled with contentment, learnings and surprises.
On Friday evening we, (Mike, Char, Richard), arrived at Charlies place, where we once again, were served the most tasteful supper together with afters such as specially imported Danishes totally covered with chocolate! What a way to start! After spending the last 2 weeks in cutting down on sodas and various other sugar drenched edibles to lessen the cravings whilst on the trail, Mr. Sweet-Tooth himself (Charlie) filled my depots in an instant! Well, if ya ever tasted specialties such as really warm chocolate covered Danishes, you'll understand that the word: "No" can/must/will/should not ever be combined with the word: "Danishes".
After this treat, the remainder of the evening was spent trying to get everything together gearwise; throw in a mixture of jerk, whisky, guitarplaying and hopefully you get the picture.
Early Saturday morning we got up just to find our brigade captain, Charlie, already tuned in to his packing-mode. We hasted to the breakfast table, tucked a few biscuits in our shirt, and then started tending to the horses. Finally, Anders, the 5th member for this trek showed up and we could proceed with the packing. Due to the lack of continuity regarding horsehandling/riding/packing, at least in my case, we listened, watched and learned as Charlie guided us through the procedures in packing. We had a total of 7 horses of which 2 where packhorses.
Cloudy, cold, wet and windy day.. Here we come! Our minds were set for a cold weekend experience in wet mocs. The woolen socks made it all bearable however. After riding some 2 hours or so, we came to what would be our campsite. We began putting the camp together; A-tent and a flyer with an engineered ground
preparation: spruce twigs. Can this solution be patented? Just as the tent and flyer had been erected it started to rain. We made a fire, filled our pipes and rested. The horses had already been tended to and their spirits were just as high as ours were, as we sat and just listened to the wind.
We decided, due to the rain, that our planned afternoon ride had to be cancelled from the agenda. Later on Charlie, who by this time had taken on the appearance and task of a camp-cook, started making a fabulous supper which we enjoyed highly. How come everything tastes better whilst in the woods?
The night passed comfortably warm and the decision to NOT dry the soaky wet moccasins in my bedroll was a good one. What's the use in drying something that's gonna get you wet as soon as you step into the wild? AND what's the use in having cold, wet mocs inside yer bedroll when you're trying to get warm? The solution is to take off what's wet and step into that EXTRA pair of dry wool socks. Get dressed and NOT undressed while planning to meet Sandman.. That's my extra two cents worth of experience upon handling the conditions during the trek; high humidity (rain) and chillfactor at and below 0 degrees celsius.
The next morning after breakfast preparations and coffee making we began packing and making our way home. Why do we have to leave? Why can't we stay? Why are there days such as Sundays and Mondays? Such are the thoughts that always occur when heading homeward. I know the answers, but constantly try to figure out a way to combine the modern way of life with the life of the backwoodsman. No success yet though. If I find the perfect solution, ye be the first to know!
Upon getting back we left the packhorses and rode to check the traps that Charlie set during Friday. With some of Char's lure we sincerely hoped that our luck was made. After an hour of hard wind causing serious threat to our hats, we finally got there. The scenery was like that of an old journal. Must've been some giant beaver causing all that commotion. First trap turned out empty and while moving to the second, Charlie uttered some undiscernible words.. Speak up we said, and he shouted: Waugh! We looked at eachother and while wading out, we filled in: Some beaver that! A great plew indeed! Couldn't believe such a thing could heighten our spirits as it did. Finally our virginity was taken.. firstly wet and cold due to wading in freezing cold water and later in blood and grease. We spent a couple of hours skinning and fleshing.. carefully letting each other (Mike and Char) having exactly half of the job each. Wouldn't wanna miss out on anything! Finishing the tedious task by attaching the plew on the drying hoop, we realized the trek was over for this time. What an experience! Who could've believed there would be such an ending to this highly time-compressed trek.
What are we going to do next? What can possibly beat this experience? Maybe a day of hitting jackpot with 6 Standish traps and having to spend a fortnight skinning and fleshing!
Learnings? I, for one, have a WAY greater respect for the western mountain man. Romantic? Hell no!