Months of planning and preparation all led up to our departure from the Carolina low country this morning. I’ve pegged the steering wheel west and will be racing the 2,200 miles to reach Nevada where Ultimate Upland will officially kick off the 2012 bird season. It’s times like this that I wish we owned a teleporter.
The drive affords lots of time to contemplate the upcoming weeks. It also allows the doubt to creep in: Have we put in enough training? Do we have all the gear we’ll need? Will we be able to find the birds?
Wyatt, my four year old lab, and I are headed to the Ruby Mountains in northeast Nevada in pursuit of Himalayan Snowcock. It is the only place in the country that you can find these birds transplanted in the 60’s by the Nevada Department of Wildlife. The hunt is fabled to be the most difficult in the lower 48 because of this bird’s fondness for altitudes above 10,000 feet. Though I’ve been cardio training seven days a week for the last two months, there is likely no amount of training to fully prepare for the grueling climbs that are on the horizon.
The plan is to take a few days to acclimate to the altitude while hunting Blue Grouse. Then hike to a location I’ve identified with potential, setup spike camp and hunt until we bring one of these birds to hand. We’ll see how long it takes to get 50 pounds of gear up the 4,000 vertical feet.
I’m excited. And a bit nervous.
A brief stop to get some inspiration…… for Wyatt.
I’ve been fortunate to have the advice and council of a few other Ultimate Uplanders with experience in this area and game. And if communications allow I’ll be reporting progress from the mountain tops and bringing you all along on the hunt.
Stay tuned for the updates. I’ve taken a nine hour bite out of the 36 hour drive. Wish I was already there.