"Are you coming? Or are you thinking of buying him?"
I soon forgot the
animal, little dreaming that in only a couple of days I would regret ever
having seen his ugly hide. Two creatures can unknowingly wait for years for a
predestined moment in which their lives will intersect with a resounding
The first evening
it snowed steadily, cushioning the raucous good-fellowship of the
first-nighters, and during the night snow buried all the camp gear
thoughtlessly left outside the tents.
By morning it had
stopped snowing and we started hunting. A few miles east of camp I knocked down
a six-point bull elk with a shot fired too hastily. He got up and I trailed him
for several hours, back toward camp. Below us an ocean of cumulus clouds,
pushing and shoving, blocked out all the green world below, leaving
snow-covered Fog Mountain stark and alone, like an iceberg. On the open
hillside below camp, a bombardment of guns, newly arrived, brought the bull
down. As I turned away I could hear angry voices debating the ownership of my
Again that night
the snow fell, leisurely, as if setting in for the winter. "We'd better
hunt farther down the mountain for deer," Lorin suggested the next morning.
"If the weather turns real ugly and we're marooned, we'll need one for camp
meat." Just before noon he shot a yearling whitetail buck, and I managed to
bag a fat doe, both legal and choice for a snowbound larder.
We climbed back
to camp in hopes of renting horses to carry them out. The packer had left,
taking most of his horses to bring in a big elk kill.
two horses left," the packer's wife explained at the corral. "And only
one of them will pack."
that?" Lorin asked.
little bay mare can be ridden but not packed," she said. "Joe has tried
repeatedly to use her, but when he goes to load the game she goes panicky wild.
He's given up trying."
the old roan?" I asked.