Heyo! It’s been one month exactly since I last posted . . . oy! A lot of that time I spent finalizing some design details around here, but I was also exploring Colorado wildlife for a couple weeks! I miss the air way up the there already. Anyway, I’ve been catching up on all the things one catches up on after a long vacation, and that includes a TON of garden work.
I will admit, my anxiety levels were quite high at the thought of leaving the garden at the very end of August and beginning of September, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. Matt guides hunts out West during the archery and rifle seasons, so I usually go with for at least part of his time out there. However, the past couple of years were during the rifle season in October/November—much less busy for this gal.
But alas! I found myself out West at the peak of harvesting season. And I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Another great thing about this trip is that Matt’s brother lives in Colorado, so we’re able to catch up with him, and he graciously let’s us stay at his place. It’s something I look forward to every year. Last year, we drove out together and hunted where Matt works. This year, we checked out public land close to his brother’s place. We drove out together, then I flew back home, and he headed up to the ranch house for work.
Although we had every intention of gettin’ us an elk while we were there (to feed us over the next year), BLM is a bit of a different experience than the private land Matt works. You have to contend with: other people. So, admittedly, we spent the majority of it scouting, hiking, hanging out downtown, and simply relaxing. He’ll hopefully get a few more chances to hunt on break.
Also, admittedly, I didn’t take nearly as many pictures as I promised myself that I would. This is certainly not surprising though. When I’m out there, I really try to be more present and less focused on getting in some good shots. It’s a time of reflection, introspection, and relaxation for me. I figured I’d compile the photos I have from the past 2 years for this post.
For me, it’s all about experiencing nature. The Colorado mountains are breathtakingly beautiful and unendingly expansive. Especially at the ranch house, the vastness of it all undeniable makes you question your significance. The crisp air smells refreshingly of fir trees and sage brush. If I could bottle it up, I’d be a gazillionaire.
Perhaps one of my favorite experiences happened last year. We were going on an all-day hunt. Matt let me know there’d be a lot of hiking (which, when he says that, means off the trail), so I opted to leave my camera at home. You’ll understand why this was a bummer shortly.
That morning, the cutest fox crossed our path, about a hundred yards away. He stopped briefly to check us out, then swiftly vanished into the pine and aspen trees. I really cannot get enough of the Colorado wildlife. A few days prior, we watched a fox hunt a mouse in a field of sage brush. He (or she) was in our direct path back to the truck. I had hoped we’d get close, but Matt said as soon as he catches wind of us, he will take off. And he did.
This fox seemed no different, but I was happy to get a glimpse of him.
We hiked until dusk. The sun went down, and that’s our cue: the hunt is about over. We start making our way back to the truck, when who do we spot, but that little fox again. He’s walking directly toward us. Matt whispers to hold still and see how long it takes him to catch our wind. He gets closer and closer, and I’m sure, to my detriment, he will spook and run off. But he doesn’t. It’s become clear: he knows we are here. He walks right up to us and circles around us.
I can’t believe it. Matt tells me later that night that he’s heard hunters describe similar situations with foxes, but I’m convinced I’m a fox whisperer. Or more likely, Matt is. Remember, we are on private land, so it’s not like this fox is used to seeing people. At one point, Matt reached out his hand and d@mn near pet him, but not quite. He ended up walking with us for over a mile back to the truck. He’d run in front of us, splash in a puddle, then quickly circle behind us, like a playful puppy. At one point, he caught a mouse, tossed it up in the air, and caught it (seriously, this really happened).
And of course: I didn’t. have. my. camera. C’mon! I snapped just a couple of cell phone pics, *right* before my phone died, so I do have proof :). But it was d@mn near dark, and we didn’t want to turn the flash on and scare him, so there’s much to be desired in the images. He didn’t even seem to mind us talking, though we usually only whisper while in the forest anyway. While we packed up the truck, he laid down and just watched us. He stayed there until we drove away.
I’ll never forget that.