I have been dreaming about this day for almost 30 years. This dream started at my Grandparents cabin when I watched Jeremiah Johnson for the first time on their brand new VCR. Jeremiah Johnson for those that don't know is a movie with Robert Redford and is the story of a man who leaves the East for the adventure and lifestyle of the Rocky Mountains. It is one of my favorite movies and has been one of the primary influences in my hunting and cooking.
From the very moment I saw the movie I have wanted to hunt Elk in the Rockies with a Hawken rifle, .50 caliber or better. I am finally going to make that happen. With one small exception, I am bow hunting and not using my black powder rifle. I don't know what has taken me so long to finally make this happen but last year I made a commitment that I was going this year no matter what. Along with 3 of my old Army buddies we are heading out to the Zirkel Wilderness area in Northern Colorado for a seven day backpacking Elk hunting trip.
I have been doing everything I can think of to get ready for this trip. Eating right, running a lot and becoming as proficient with my bow as I possible can be. I have studied maps and researched gear and of course have planned a menu that will be both nutrient dense and delicious. I know that the odds of getting an Elk are against me and that is ok. I am completely prepared to come back from this trip without an Elk. My wife just said to me last night that she is worried that I went through all this preparation and am going to come home disappointed. I don't think it is possible to come home disappointed from this trip.
I'm not going to lie and say that I don't care if I get an Elk because nothing would be greater on this trip than shooting a nice bull. But this trip isn't 100% about getting an Elk, its about heading off for the Rocky Mountains for an adventure that with or with out and Elk is going to fulfill a life long yearning. There is a line towards the end of Jeremiah Johnson when Bear Claw asks Jeremiah if it was worth the trouble and Jeremiah responds "What Trouble". No matter the end result of this hunt, all the preparation and time and money that have gone into it, I can already tell you that it wasn't any trouble at all. I will be back in 10 days and I guarantee you I will have stories to tell.