My buddy and I arrived to the camp site early enough this year to get in an evening hunt, so we loaded up and headed straight back to the same spot I harvested the bull last year. We set up, hunkered down, and waited. From each direction we could hear bull elk bugling challenge calls. We even heard the occasional bark from a cow elk nearby. It gave us hope, but alas, nothing came out. We hiked up to the spot where we field dressed the bull from last year and founds pieces of bone, but I thought we would have found a lot more than just little pieces. After a little searching, we found the spine about 30 yards off.
We came back the next morning to see if we could catch them on the move again, but same story, nothing. I decided to hike back to our camp site by following a creek. I thought perhaps I could get lucky and catch a cow having a drink of water. Plus, we had heard more bugling in that direction. It was a good plan, but there were a couple of flaws and warning flags that should have stopped me. The first was the presence of a storm. There were heavy clouds in the distance, and it had already sprinkled a little water on us that morning. The second was the fact that I had never hiked that region before, and didn’t know what to expect. The third was the fact that I didn’t have everything I needed to stay dry in my daypack. The combination of these things should have warned me to try again another time, but I was stubborn and took off anyway. While I was rewarded by some awesome scenery, the error of my choice was about to become apparent.
After an hour and a half of hiking, it started to rain. It was light rain, but it doesn’t take much to get cold. Even more dangerous than the rain, was the thunder and lightning that was danger close. I kept plugging along hoping I would pop out at the camp site, but I had no real clue on how far away it was. I also didn’t know if I could hike the whole way back, if there would be impassable terrain, or what to expect. All rookie mistakes that I knew I was making, but still decided to go forward and hike. Stupid.
The rain kept up, and we made a decision to come down off the mountain before the dirt roads got ugly. It was a good choice because it continued to storm all day.
Apparently, the batteries in the camper I rented refused to charge on the generator. We ran the generator for hours, and nothing. By the time I got back from hunting that evening, my camping compatriots were scrambling to fix the damn thing. The batteries had run so low that nothing would turn on, and when we tried the generator, the LP gas detector would fault and alarm every 30 seconds with an annoying beep. We checked the breakers, the fuse box, everything we could think of, but no joy. After a trip to town for some tools, trying to charge the batteries with my truck (which worked, but not well enough), and looking into every possible scenario we could think of, we called it quits. While I had packed for warmth, I could tell that my camping compatriots had not and were cold. The thought of sleeping in a camper in the high Uintah Mountains in October wasn’t sitting well with them. So we packed up and came home early.