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The Process

Hunting.  The natives call it making meat. For me it's a process.  The kill has always been secondary.  For some that's all it is.  Pity.
Years ago, I'd take weeks of vacation to pursue elk.  I often hoped that I wouldn't be successful, just so I could continue the hunt. Hiking, climbing, sitting, waiting.  Alternating between sweating and freezing.  All, part of the process.  Most days I returned to the car with clean fingernails and a light pack.  But I was happy.  I could go out again.
Then I burned out.  I quit hunting.  My rifle was replaced with a fly rod and camera.
I uncased my rifle a couple of weeks ago.  Just out of curiosity.  Was a flame rekindled?  I wondered how I'd react when I saw game?  Better, how would my back respond if I completed the task?  I saw a few elk, some deer.  A buck.  Interesting.  When I got home, I left my gear in the car. A sign.
Two days later I went again.  I saw no game. Got soaked.  Again, the gear stayed in the car.  Well …

The Great Beyond

There’s a land where the mountains are nameless,     And the rivers all run God knows where;  There are lives that are erring and aimless,     And deaths that just hang by a hair;  There are hardships that nobody reckons;     There are valleys unpeopled and still;  There’s a land—oh, it beckons and beckons,     And I want to go back—and I will. 

From The Spell of the Yukon by Robert Service.


In continuing with the recent slide scan theme, this is one of my all time favorite images.  Nothing fancy, but oh the memories!
Twenty years ago my wife and I hunted the interior of Alaska.  It was mid-September, and for all the world, could have been the middle of winter.  The previous group of hunters had endured summer like conditions and biting flies.  Conditions changed overnight.  The landscape, now stark, was cloaked under a deep mantle of snow.  We arrived in camp and were greeted by the outfitter and our native guides.  One, an Athabaskan kid, guiding his first hunt, the other, an elder Inupi…