The Preparation and Anticipation Begins…Again

“The cut’s and bruises have healed, the emotional high remains…let’s do it again!”

The short note came from my father roughly two weeks after we finished one of the most challenging, rewarding and fun elk hunts either of us has ever done. Our mind has a funny way of remembering things. Over the epochs we have become programed with the unique ability to forget the bad and remember the good. It’s the only explanation for women giving birth to more than one child, sailing across oceans, climbing mountains and generally completing tasks that are miserable in the moment, yet we look back upon them with fondness.

My dad and I have hardly spoken about the 40 miles we hiked with 70-80 pounds on our backs. The aching muscles and hips rubbed raw from heavy packs go unmentioned. Instead we are optimistically focused on next year. My dad is already revising his equipment list. Hundreds of miles away I can picture him sitting in his leather arm chair late at night, with a solitary lamp for light. He will write and rewrite lists on a yellow legal pad for months to come. Occasionally he’ll call to get my opinion. I’m eager to oblige.

My enthusiasm pours over constantly.  Not much of a list maker, I’m drawn into or initiate conversations about next season at nearly every turn. Waiting to pick up kids at school, dinner with friends, phone calls from my brother, they all lead to one subject. I ponder topo maps, wondering where elk would be if we get an early snow. What’s plan B if rain makes the road impassible. If the stars aligned, is there any way we could handle getting two elk? I’d better bring a couple extra garbage bags just in case.

Thanks goodness I fish. It’s the only way I can make it the next 11 months.

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