Saturday December 13, 2014

It snowed all night, heavy at times. When I climbed out of bed and peered out the frosty window I could see the snow was still hanging on the trees. All week I had waited for this morning and nothing was going to hold me back. This would be the last day of my 2014 hunting season and I wanted to enjoy it. Late muzzleloader season closes tomorrow at sunset. Due to other obligations I will be unable to get into the woods. I can’t complain because I was able to spend a lot of time doing what I love to do the last few months.

My dad and I got a late start due to the weather. The roads weren’t good at all, which slowed us down. This morning reminded me of the day I killed the Ice Buck that I wrote about in my first book.

As I made my way up the front of the mountain the trees sagged under the weight of the snow. Shortly after the snow stopped the rain pounded down from the sky and left the woods full of ice coated trees and bushes. The beauty was mesmerizing with the sun glistening through the ice and reflecting off from the blanket of crusty snow on the forest floor.

One foot followed the other and my journey required all the strength my legs had in them. I can usually walk long distances without sweating, but not on this day. The physical work to get through the snow and around the ice covered trees and branches was a lot more than I expected.

When I arrived in the area where I wanted to pull a camera I couldn’t find it. Nothing looked the same as it did when I strapped the camera to a tree a few months ago. I aimlessly wandered around for a few minutes before deciding to sit down and study the situation. While sliding the backpack off my shoulders I noticed the camera a few feet off to my left. I guess I was closer to it than I thought.

After pulling the three cameras out of the woods I began the long journey back to the truck. Since I was accompanied by my father we slowly trudged down the mountain and enjoyed the walk. We’ve been through a lot together and every season we both get older. I guess it makes you appreciate the present and long for the past at the same time. I’m not sure why, but I still feel like a 16 year old kid on my first hunt when I walk next to my dad in the woods.  He will always be my hero and I’ll always be his little boy. There’s something really special about that to both of us and inside we know we’re well beyond the halfway point of a 12 inch ruler.

I encourage all of you to enjoy every single moment you get in the woods whether it’s with your best friend or a few family members. Tomorrow is never a guarantee and too often we don’t recognize that until it’s too late.

Here are a few pictures from my last day in the woods. This was a fantastic season for me. I like hunting all over the country, but every year I love the Midwest and the Adirondacks more and more. Both places now have a place in my memory that I will return to many times in the next nine months.

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