Thoughts from a Hunting Journal
In the beginning there were no trails, just field. There were no bathrooms, just a shovel. There were no showers, just a creek. We set up camp under the sun in the middle of the field. We built a fire pit and mowed out a campsite. We bought pick-up loads of firewood and trucked them four hours to camp. Months passed as we camped each weekend and carved out ATV trails that moved our camp out of the middle of that field and into a more sheltered "upper" campsite.
The first deer season found only my dad and I freezing in the sleet and snow, hunkered down in little spots we had found. The freezing rain coated us like popsicles. By lunch time we both had a pretty thick crust of ice coating our hunting jackets and we couldn't move without crunching and cracking. Lunch was peanut butter and jelly as we found solace in the capped back of Dad's two-wheel-drive S-10. We spent the night 30 minutes away in a Holiday Inn that smelled like an ashtray with the vent fan squeaking away all night.
That next spring found us building homemade tree stands at pinch points throughout the property. The ATV trails were expanded and a campsite was put in the valley. I met what would be my wife and she quickly put in for her Hunter Education card. Our first bid at property management was in full swing. A place in the woods was being built, established, grown. It would be the fertile ground that gave root some great memories. It would be a family gathering place. It would be Stress Mountain.
With opening day of deer rifle season right around the corner, it is time to once again open the hunting journal and blow the dust off the old deer camp stories. The next couple of installments to the Gravel Road will continue the "Thoughts from a Hunting Journal" series and allow the fond memories made pursuing wild game to have their day. Thanks for traveling along with me.