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Author Topic: Headin' West  (Read 812 times)

Offline R.V.T.B.

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Headin' West
« on: August 11, 2014, 12:14:00 AM »
This may be a little long but I figured I would let you guys in on what I am looking forward to...

Going with a group of PBS members to the Wasatch Wilderness area in Utah...900,000 acres of wilderness, just south of the Wyoming border. I am going to set up my wall tent and we will use that area as base camp and then do two and three day bivy hunts up the mountain. Each of us are going to go our own way and do it solo, meet back at base camp every two or three days. These guys have been before and are a lot more experienced than I.

In the interest of keeping weight down I am planning on taking a bag, pad and tactical tarp in with me. Trying to keep my pack weight with stove, camping gear food and water down to 50 pounds or so. I weighed everything and with enough meals for three days I am at about 42 pounds right now. Surprising how little gear totals up to 42 pounds. I will have my two man tent in the truck so after the first foray I will have that option if I think I need it. This trip has been a good excuse to upgrade some of my old equipment, rain gear, etc.

This looks to be a 33 hour drive from my house to there. I am leaving August 15 and hope to be set up and be up at timberline on the 17th. I will get back to Va. on Sept. 3. That is a soft date. If I fill my tags I may be back earlier. If I haven't and haven't had enough of the mountains I may be back later.

I am taking two Bear takedowns, both A riser with #3 limbs. One is 61 pounds and the other 63. I planned on shooting wooden arrows for hunting season this fall but am taking aluminums on this trip. I have a dozen in the arrow box. In a change that I am sure will shock some of you who know me... I am leaving my Snuffers at home. My arrows for this trip will be outfitted with 160 grain VPA's.

I hurt all over. Seriously.... Been pushing myself hard. I am down twelve pounds and would love to lose another ten plus before I leave. I am alternating... riding my mountain bike one day and hiking with a weighted pack the next. Sometimes doing both in the same day. I loaded my pack with 40 pounds of steel weights and then been hitting the trail for a four plus mile hike. Twice I have done almost twelve miles in the afternoon with my weighted pack.(Having the Appalachian Trail a mere five minutes from my house is a real advantage)

I got all of my topo maps in and have spent  hours going over them with a guy who has been in there before, plus done some phone calls with others who have been up there. It is going to be a lot of work but if my body holds out, should be quite the adventure as well. I have picked out, or rather been shown, a couple of good spots on the map to make a camp and scout for elk. After that it will be up to me. The most promising looks to be about 3.5 miles in from base camp. I have a couple of different drainages that I can choose from if I run into other hunters or recreational hikers. This is a Wilderness area and no wheels are allowed...ATV's, game carts, wheel barrows or bikes.

One of the down sides is that if I do kill an elk, I will probably be on my own. We are stopping in a little town in Wyoming on the way in and picking up some blocks of dry ice for my big coolers and once I get an elk back to camp and in the coolers I can drive out to get more, or if it is early enough in the trip I can drop it off at a processer.

Shooting a lot and doing it all at about 50 yards. I have no intention of shooting an elk that far but I want to be comfortable with a 25-30 yard shot so stretching it out a little bit right now. I am actually planning on the eight yard quartering away shot. My shooting is about the only thing that is on track with my departure date. Shooting pretty good.

Water is a big concern as there isn't any up on the mountain. I have to drop down to hit the trout stream. I took the 1.9 liter bladder out of my pack and installed a 3 liter, plus I plan on taking two good Platypus collapsible water bottles with me. I am taking three 7.5 gallon jerry cans of water to base camp with me but that won't do any good when I am 4 or 5 miles back in there. I have a new Katadyn Vario that I will press into service.

Packing and planning meals now. Unless I am back in base camp, with all of my cast iron and stoves, I plan on going pretty light. Oatmeal and pop tarts for breakfast with a cup of coffee. Lunch will be trail mix, an energy bar, etc. I am doing Mountain house, instant mashed potatoes, Spam and the individual packs of tuna for dinner. I purchased a fishing license and I am taking a small 4 weight four piece fly rod in with me. I hope to supplement some of my lunches with fresh native trout. I am taking four dozen homemade chocolate chip cookies and plan on rationing them out as a sweet and energy builder during the trip. I am taking a journal and plan on writing a daily log each night at dinner time.

I am taking my Badlands Diablo as a day back and taking a Badlands 2200 as my overnight bivy pack.
I also have a dedicated meat packing frame in case I happen to get lucky.

A couple of concerns...Altitude. Going to have to acclimate slowly and I am going to take a beating until I do. My wall tent will be at about 9,500 feet and it looks like I will be hunting at about 10,500. Cold..... temps are generally 60, maybe up to 70 during the days and in the low 30's and into the 20's at night. Going to take a few days to get used to that. Water.... I am a sweater and I tend to drink a lot of fluids. I don't want to spend all of my time up and down the mountain filling water bottles but, I can only carry so much.

I should have my boots on the ground and bow in hand for 13-14 days. Hopefully that will be enough. I am taking two different digital cameras with me and hope to have an interesting photo or two to post up when I get back.

A hunt like this has been a dream of mine for awhile. Might as well get on with it before I get too old to get it done.

Online Tom

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Re: Headin' West
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2014, 06:13:00 AM »
Good luck Randy, looking forward to the rest of the story. Stay safe.
The essence of the hunt for me is to enter nature and observe+ return safely occasionally with the gift of a life taken.

Online Nook

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Re: Headin' West
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2014, 10:55:00 AM »
Have a great adventure Randy.  Can't wait to hear all about it.  Sounds like you've got It all mapped out.  Good luck.  Jeff  :thumbsup:
"After all, it is not the killing that brings satisfaction; it is the contest of skill and cunning. The true hunter counts his achievement in proportion to the effort involved and the fairness of the sport." Dr. Saxton Pope
PBS Regular

Offline David Bartholomew

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Re: Headin' West
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2014, 09:39:00 PM »
Best wishes.  Think safety!
WTCS(SW/DV)  USN Retired

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