The morning dawned nice and clear with a forecast of a hot afternoon as Doug, Dylan and myself headed up Brownlee Reservoir for the opening day of chukar. We beached the boat and proceeded to head up the steep mountain. Unfortunately, as we started up we heard shooting above us - someone had beaten us to our secret spot. Turns out there were half a dozen guys up above us. It was very discouraging since they were doing all the shooting and we had yet to see any birds.
After Shadow found a bird that someone else had wounded the action started to pick up. I shot a couple more chukar before the big moment. Dylan flushed a couple of birds and dropped one with a nice passing shot. His first chukar! We continued to walk that mountain side and he flushed a couple more and shot another.
As the morning turned to afternoon it started to really warm up. Shadow was starting to get hot and it was time to head to water. As I dropped over a rise to a spring a large number of birds began flushing from below. I shot three times and dropped three birds. A triple! At this point we decided to head back down and take our chances on the birds that were below us. I picked up a few more on the way down and after reaching the boat the final bird tally was: Me - 5 chukar and 3 huns (Hungarian Partridge), Dylan - 2 chukar, and Doug - 1 chukar. Another great opening day.
Once home I changed out the bird hunting gear to archery elk hunting gear, took a shower and headed out for the five hour drive to Leadore, Idaho.
Sunday - Thursday September 20-24 - Archery Elk Hunting
My old college buddy Phil Gray and I have been archery elk hunting for the last 5 years in the mountains on the Idaho/Montana border. We have yet to have success but have had a great time listening to the bulls bugle and chasing them around. This week was more of the same.
Up early every morning, listening down drainages for bugles, bugling back listening for a response and then heading down to see if any elk wanted to play. Yes, headed down. We finally have reached the stage in our lives where going down is much better than going up.
Every day we were into the bulls but could not get close enough to to take a shot. They would respond to our calls but not come in for a look. Oh well, seems to be the story of our elk hunting episodes. But like always, Phil and I had a great time.
Friday Sept 25th - Wine Making
I got home early Thursday with a plan to pick grapes and start making some wine first thing Friday morning. I have been tending to a small patch of Syrah grapes for the last four years and this was to be my first harvest, albeit a small one. Since my grapes did not provide enough fruit to produce the amount of wine I wanted, I went out to Parma (about an hour away) to pick both Syrah and Malbec grapes at the University of Idaho extension field. They have an acre of these grapes and I had them all to myself. I spent a couple of hours picking grapes and ended up with several hundred pounds. After picking, I headed over to my local home brew supply shop to use her de-stemmer/crusher and now have 30 gallons of must happily fermenting at home.
Saturday Sept 26th - Hiking/Climbing Mt. Borah - 12,662 feet
Dylan has been after me for the last few weeks to get out and climb Idaho's highest peak. I figured with all the shit that had been happening this week that what the hell, another trip couldn't hurt. Tam decided that she should hang with us just in case, so the three of us piled into her car and headed to Mackey Idaho to spend the night in a motel. I was tired of camping.
We woke at 5AM and Dylan and I were on the trail with our headlamps by 6AM while Tam went back to the motel to sleep in. The Mt. Borah trail gains 5100 feet in a little over 3.5 miles. It was nice to be hiking in the dark so we could not see how painful the trail above us was going to be.
We slogged up the trail for four and a half hours and made the summit by 10:30AM.
The weather up top wasn't too bad. A little windy and cold. But what do you expect at 12,662 feet? We had a nice lunch and chatted with some of the other seven people on the summit. Two wild men had actually come up the night before and slept on top! After 45 minutes on top, we started down and came upon this sight at Chicken Out Ridge (COR).
COR is the only technical aspect of this hike. The trail becomes a maze of smaller trails as you climb up a couple hundred feet and then you have to down climb 30-40 feet to get to across a knife edge ridge. Apparently it's called Chicken Out Ridge because quite few people turn around here and head back down. There was over 20 people waiting on top of the ridge on their way to the summit. It was a good thing we started so early.
We skirted this traffic jam rather than wait a half hour for it to clear.
The 3 1/2 hour trip back to the trail head was hot and painful. Nothing but steep and dusty walking that was torture on the knees.
Here you can see the summit to the left of Dylan.
All in all a great time was had by Dylan and I as we conquered Idaho's highest peak.