Flat Tops Rain Forest: A weeks worth of pictures
The past week was an eye-opener for the Bayou Bushmen. We THOUGHT we were Great White Hunters and adequate Mountain-Men but, we bit off a little more than we were completely comfortable chewing. In fact, there was nothing comfortable about the experience. Don’t get me wrong, it was very fun, just also very hard. First off, the outfit that rented us horses forgot to bring us the pack bags so, we had to rig up our gear on the saddles real Clampett-style. We packed in the day before the season opened and, of course we had elk all around us. Unfortunately, it went downhill from there. Even 8 miles deep into the Wilderness Area (no motorized vehicles of any kind allowed) and 12000 feet above sea level, there were plenty of hunters and worse, granola crunching hippy hikers. I didn’t see the hikers haul the keg in but, they definitely had a keg party every night smack dab in the middle of elk country. Hooping and Hollering until they finally passed out.
Opening morning we glassed the area and the herd that was a quarter mile from camp at sundown was on the complete opposite end of the valley and as far away from the Hippy Camp as they could get. Being Labor Day Weekend, there was no shortage of hunters either – DIYers and Outfitters with clients.
My brother who was hobbled by a nasty blister and I made our way up to the top of Derby Peak on the horses and glassed the valley below the morning of the first day. We spotted a nice herd of elk almost directly below us that had to nice shooter bulls. We tried our best to make it the 1,500 feet down to them only to hit a sheer drop-off at the last 100 feet of the decent. We had no choice but to head back up the steep draw back to camp. 3 days later we finally made it to the spot we had glassed the herd only to find weathered tracks and sappy rubs.
It was a hard week for us lowlanders. It rained & hailed with thunder and lightning every single day making it impossible to keep our gear and more crucially our feet dry. The mountains, although one of the least rugged areas we could have chose to hunt in Colorado, were more than we could stomp around on for 8 straight days. By day 5 we were physically drained and could only muster one good hunt per day.
After that first weekend, all the hunters successfully turned most of the bulls nocturnal. Even after the weekend was over and a camp change, we still ran into 10 hunters in one day on Tuesday. I don’t mean to complain. It’s just that we had read article after article that claimed that we could avoid other hunters by getting miles and miles off of the trail…Not-the-Case.
All in all, we had a great trip and alot of fun. We were definitely disappointed with the way the hunting turned out but, we learned a thing or two and will be back at it next September. Here are some pictures and a few stories from the hunt. On a better note, my sister, Jessica, killed a bull in Idaho this week and we can’t be more proud of her. Stay tuned for the article on that adventure.