COVID Tales 2.0

neffa3

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Apr 17, 2015
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Wenatchee
I'll warn you this is no marmot story, but hopefully you enjoy it.

COVID Tales II – The Responsible Dog Owner

As a family man, full time +40-hr a week cog turner, and homeowner I can assure you my free time is about as bountiful as the parking spaces in Leavenworth. Now I will caveat that, when I say “free time” I mean truly free to do whatever the heck I darn well please all day free time.

Well it just so happened that a couple of weeks ago I found myself flush with this precious commodity, 4 ENTIRE days to be exact. My wife took our daughter backpacking (girls’ trip) and dropped our son off with her parents. With that amount of freedom there was no way epic stuff wasn’t going to happen. Heck, I figured my bear tag was good as punched.

I formulated a plan to focus on and maximize the type of fun you just can’t have dragging the ole family ball and chain around (trust me I do love my family, but I’m telling a story here).

  1. Bear hunting Thursday after work.
  2. More bear hunting Friday (if needed).
  3. Big day in the mountains on Saturday looking for golden trout.
  4. Sunday, relax and do just enough house/yard work before the fam gets home to keep my brownie points intact for future adventures.
I get off work Thursday, rush home, start grabbing all my bear hunting stuff but can’t find my bear tag… I look everywhere! No dice. Then it hits me. I already filled my bear tag this spring. Man, I felt dumb. Thankfully, we can now get two bear tags in WA. So, change of plans, I’d just pick up my second tag Friday on my way home, that just gives the bears another day of freedom. I put all my stuff on the couch and weeded the garden instead.

Friday, I get off a little early, pick up my tag at Sportsman’s, grab everything I left stacked on the couch, throw it the truck and off I go. I pull off the FS road, load up, go to grab the magazine for the .270 and can’t find it. I look and look and can’t find it. Dang! Must have left it on the couch, oh well, it’s just a slow reload now, no biggy. I grab the box of shells I brought, open the box and find an entire box of empty brass! Double dang it! No fear, I always keep a cartridge wallet on my stock with a half dozen rounds, that should be plenty. I pull the cover back and low and behold, there is a single bullet in the holder. I face the facts. I’m in the woods, dressed in camo, with a rifle, and a single bullet.

Now there may be some deadeye dicks out there who would be up to that challenge, but I’m not one of them. I know me and my abilities and I need more than 1 shot, so bear hunting is out for the night. However, I should probably go for a little walk anyway, you know, just to scout around, I mean I’m out there already. Wouldn’t you know but not 20 minutes from the truck there’s a bear! A nice medium sized bear feeding in some huckleberries. Triple dog DANG IT! But I held to my word and let him (or her) walk. No way was I going to be looking for a wounded bear without any ammo. I head home in the dark feeling rather defeated.

Saturday, this is the big day, the epic day, 15+ miles planned, some off trail, maybe bag a peak or two, it was going to be fun. This is redemption day for the failed bear trips. Last minute I decide to take our dog with me. She’s an older German Shorthair but still quite the go getter. We hit the trail early and the miles fly by, we’re jogging the flats and speed walking the climbs. I do what I always say I should do but never actually do and keep her on a leash the whole way thinking that she is getting old and I should conserve some of her energy, lest we need to turn back early (she and our previous dog both forced me to turn around on more than one summit attempt).

We finally get above tree line and I decide to take a short cut and go cross country to the lake. The dog is pulling at the leash, she wants to run, she was born to run. And I, all of the sudden, have a change of heart. She has been so good all morning she deserves to run! I unhook the leash and off she goes, and I mean goes. She’s tearing circles a quarter mile in diameter, but at least I can see her. I should point out I knew good and well that while her energy is still there, she’s also going blind and deaf and was never one for much cooperation to begin with.

After her first circle she checks back in with me, gets a quick pat on the head and is off again. The second loop was bigger and while she got close to me on her return I’m not sure she ever saw me. Mind you this entire time, I’m still walking to toward our destination lake. “I mean, she can see me, what could go wrong,” I think to myself.

Third or fourth loop (or maybe tenth), I honestly have no idea because I wasn’t paying any attention anymore. I look down and she’s now 400 feet below me, about where we broke out of the trees looking for me. I hop up on a rock and call and whistle and shout and wave my arms, and generally look like an idiot. She can’t see or hear me because like I said, she’s blind and deaf. She catches our scent trail and turns… downhill. Not good. “But I mean she’ll come back when she can’t find me, right?” I wait. She doesn’t come back. I start back down at a jog, hollering her name as I go. I hit the trail and there are her tracks sure as sh!t, striding out, heading back toward the car. We’re 7 miles in. We were less than ½ mile from the lake. I have a backpack full of fly-fishing gear. And now I’m running back down the trail without ever wetting a line!

I kept thinking I might catch up to her as I jog. Maybe the trip wouldn’t be lost. The first set of hikers I come to say they saw her about 15 minutes ago. Not good, she’s gaining on me. I keep going, next group says the same thing, good, I’m at least not losing much ground. I go another mile run into a third group. “When did my dog come by?” I ask. “I don’t know, 45 minutes ago,” they reply. My heart sinks, this trip is over, she’ll be waiting in the parking lot I already know it. At least she’ll be safe.

All I could think as I jogged back down the trail was how epic this weekend was supposed to have been.

When I get to the parking lot she sees me and comes running over with a look like “Dad, where’ve you been I had an epic run without you!” Damn dog.

Since I was home early I mowed the lawn…
 

neffa3

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Apr 17, 2015
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Wenatchee
So this was the second story I told in our local Sportsmen's newsletter this summer. Since our club had to cancel all our projects and weren't meeting to discuss anything, I had to fill space with something. This was for the August issue.
 

Tradewind

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Aug 19, 2015
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It don't come easy...
Got to pay your dues
if you want to sing the blues

 
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MarvB

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Apr 5, 2001
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₵tral Oar-e-gun
I think we’ve all had similar days... for some reason they are FAR more amusing when being recounted by somebody else lol... thanks for the laugh, good stuff there!
By the way, shot my first bear out off of Old Blewett Pass up there in my old forester days👍🏻

Edited as I was reminiscing
 

wllm1313

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Dec 9, 2015
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Manetheren
I don't know how I missed this when it came out.

@neffa3 I feel like these accounts of weekends gone sideways are as important to the forum as any of the "big ones".

Nice to know we all have these weekends.

... bullet debacle reminded me of a story.

My wife and I were hiking up South Cottonwood, during bear spring bear season about 6 years ago. 150 yards from the parking lot I found a .30-06 round on the ground... 50 yards more another... another... another... another... another...

Ended up with 10.

It was pretty late in the evening, we didn't see the hunter and it was dark when we got to the car. There was just one other vehicle in the lot, I left him a little pile of bullets in the wiper bay and a note.

Pretty sure he didn't kill any bears either.
 

Islander

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Jul 24, 2020
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Lowcountry, SC
For some crazy reason, after 36 years of blissful marriage, my wife has decided it's not only okay to follow me into the bathroom while I take a leak, but to pop in while I am on the John to retrieve something she forgot to grab before I started. No-knock raids on my private conversation-free zone are NOT OKAY!

EDIT: This was supposed to be posted in the Sh#t my Wife Does thread. Leaving it here since some have posted feedback on it.
 
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