Great weekend around here. Friends spelled us from our default being together in our separatenesses, and they hunted with Leslie Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday I thought I’d head up the old dirt road with them until they started climbing, and it was wonderful to get outside in the terrain I adore. Fog hung around a little while, but we soon got out of it, about the time the dogs treed a large ruffed grouse, and set in baying like coon hounds. I tried to get it to fly from its hawthorn branch perch so that the dogs would give up the ghost on the grouse, but it just would not budge. Leslie fixed it by shaking the whole tree, and reluctantly it fled.

Walking back down the road alone was weird. It couldn’t have been more beautiful and temperate on January 26th, and I knew birds surrounded me on the ridges above. Not being permitted to pursue them is something I just haven’t experienced until now. And I’ve never walked in chukar country without at least one of my beloved Brittanys. Perhaps it’s a preview of impending reality.

Today I was all in. We walked up the same road, and Leslie wanted to hunt the opposite ridge. It was icy in the shade, but we made it up the slope without any of us falling, and eventually to a ridge containing some birds. Not having my gun or pack, but the Nikon, I had no trouble going up or down, and am thrilled nothing hurts, even now, hours later as I write this.

Enjoy the photos.

“It was up there not long ago where I swear I saw a Himalayan snowcock!”
“Yeah, right up there in those rocks. It was HUUUUGE!”
Gretchen didn’t fall for it, but Leslie’s still laughing.
Following in some other creatures’ feetsteps.
Evidence of Goodale’s Cutoff?
Lots of crossings today.
Wallowas, wow. If you look carefully, you can see Angus pointing, and Peat heading over to him.
Angus backed by Peat backed by the Wallowas. Not sure if Leslie realizes Angus is pointing.
Birds go, Gretchen shoots, Peat pursues, gentlewoman Leslie watches.
Kind of tricky descent with mud, ice, and snow.
Angus never stops. 20 miles yesterday, at least 10 today, on severe terrain. Marvel.

10 Replies to “Hurrah”

  1. Three miles southwest of the Rock Creek Station on the Oregon Trail, I hunted chukar when I was a kid. The Goodale Cutoff was well to the North. When the pioneers came through there were no chukar–only sage grouse and Colombian sharptail. My maternal grandmother gone thirty-two years, recalled Native Americans circa 1905, walking the trail past their farm. My grandfather had a collection of horseshoes he plowed up when grubbing land from the sagebrush. The horseshoes were shed by hundreds of horses carrying supplies to Oregon from the 1850s to the end of the century. When I hunted those birds and looked out on the Magic Valley, I was mindful of how temporary everything is. Generations come and go. I cherish those memories. The chukar were sparse. The better chukar hunting was north of Bliss and King Hill. I still remember every bird that I bagged, like trophies in the mind of a teen. Now when I go back at age 63, my knees squeak and my hips hurt when I hunt those canyons. The memories I cherish like they were yesterday. No moral to this story. Just enjoy those traills, Bob, as long as you can.

    1. What a wonderful trove of memories. Thanks for sharing, Mark. Leslie just figured out that Goodale’s Cutoff passed literally where our house is. It’s quite a serpentine route, with vastly more buried stories than we’ll ever know.

  2. What a great pictures! Angus looks like he’s going to take flight in that first shot. Interested in a gig as the official photographer for the Chuk*her Steens trip?

  3. I saw that Himalayan snowcock Leslie encountered, when I was elk hunting last year. Hes a big one. Notice the size of the tracks he left in the snow in your photo. 🦃 Glad to hear your recovering. I know Leslie can convince Gretchen there are BIG chukar on the top of the Steens next year. Keep improving, September 2019 is just a few deep breaths away.

  4. After your step-sister Alex went back to Africa I finally gave in and started reading what she posts and writes about on Instagram. I have felt inclined to be a better follower of you as well. Today I listened again to your video–“Only Connect.” I love allowing my younger counterparts teach me to be a better connector. Thanks Bob and Leslie, for the pictures, videos and spoken and written words. You make my world bigger and more beautiful. More full of life that is not my own. And more a part of your miraculous life and lives! Glad the surgeons are there and you are willing to stay healthy.

  5. West of town about a mile on BLM there is a marker for the Goodale cutoff with old wagon ruts still visible. Found it years ago while chasing a covey of huns. Glad to hear you are able to put boots on the ground, at least easy ground.

Chirp away

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