As the pitch black of night gave way grudgingly to the gray of dawn and the first hint of color began to show in the East, we spotted our first coyote of the day. He was hunting his way across the snow covered pasture, looking in every nook and cranny for breakfast. Two feet of snow had fallen over the weekend with 50 mph winds driving it across the flat and through the mountains, making life miserable for man and beast. Now, 3 days later, conditions were ideal to catch coyotes on the prowl. Continue Reading
The idea of a winter backpacking adventure had borne so much promise, excitement, and intrigue while hatching the plans back home, next to a piping hot, cast iron wood stove with a steaming cup of Seattle’s finest at hand.
Two weeks later, hunkered in a flimsy tent, tied off with 550 cord to multiple trees, bracing against 50mph wind gusts carrying chill factors far below zero, the challenge was no longer theoretical, but palpable. In retrospect, I did almost everything wrong on that trip. I brought a tent that wasn’t up to the task, carried too much food and clothing, and learned the hard way how ineffective melting snow as a water source can be. However, I walked away from that first adventure with a desire to get it right and the sense of satisfaction that comes from passing Mother Nature’s impromptu, high consequence tests.
Several years and many trips later, I’m still no expert, but I’ve been deeply bitten by the cold weather camping bug, have the memories and scars to prove it, learn something new about myself and the process every trip and embrace the solitude and breathtaking scenery that comes with exploring the backcountry in Montana’s most unforgiving season. Sound like fun? Read on… Continue Reading
I’ve been carrying a gun around the mountains long enough now to remember and follow the “expert advice” to wear two pairs of socks inside my elk hunting boots for comfort and to prevent blisters. Continue Reading