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.