Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Thrill of the Thrill

We (all my rowdy hunting buddies) decided back in the early Spring that we wouldn't go elk hunting in Colorado this year. The tight financial situation that everyone is in seems to be the biggest reason for each of us. While I don't have any EXTRA money, and while I'm trying to save for our BIG Winter-time vacation next year, truth is - I'd go elk hunting in a heartbeat if anyone would say, "Hey, let's go!" It never was something I could afford, it was something I loved and longed to do, so I made it happen. And here I am in August, just 3 or 4 weeks away from when we'd normally be heading out on I-70 for Colorado, and I'm watching all these elk hunting shows on The Outdoor Channel and The Sportsman's Channel, and, well - I'm going through some serious Rocky Mountain High withdrawal pain. I already miss chasing elk through the scrub-oaks, glassing mulies across the valley, and checking out the same white rocks that every year, from a distance, make me think they're a mulie rear-end. I miss riding my Artic Cat around the top of LO7, the highest mountain on the property, feeling those cool breezes on my face, smelling the sage, and seeing those spectacular vistas that I never get tried of seeing.
Having said all that, one of the things I also miss has nothing to do with not going to Colorado. I miss the thrill of the thrill - the passionate excitement about the "once in a lifetime annual hunting trip" that began each year the day after I got home from the last trip and built throughout the year to a fever pitch in the Summer, causing me to loose sleep, pack early, and practice fifty-yard archery shots. Our first trip was in 1986, and since then I've only missed it a couple of years, and after all these years, well, I still love it, but it doesn't dominate my dreams like it did a few years back. In fact, I'd say I love it as much now as I did back then, I just have a different perspective now than I did back in the "passionate-all-year-long" days.
A lot of what I use to feel was the excitement of being excited. I used to thrive on being excited about some future event or adventure - something new and different. It seemed to give meaning to life. I think that's a normal part of being younger. I certainly wasn't pumped up about always bringing meat home for the freezer. While I managed to take four elk and three mulie bucks over the years, you can do the math and see that most of the time I came home with memories not back-strap.
I guess, like anything that means a lot to you, you naturally mature in the way you think about it. Colorado elk hunting is more like a good friend and less like a wild adventure. If it was all about the mountains, the hunting, and the ATV riding, I wouldn't need to have anyone with me to share it with. No, it's always been about the fellowship with good friends and the shared memories, and that's why, without that, I'll spend all of September in Missouri this year.
Oh, deer season opens in MO September 15th - I can't wait! NOT ALL OF THE THRILL IS GONE!


elizabeth said...

I still love that picture! Sometime, I need to try and crop it for you to get the blind out of the picture. It looks like a magazine shot!

Deborah said...

Maybe the Colorado deer and elk will take a trip to MO in a few weeks.

: )