Yesterday morning began with a 5:15 wake up. Dressed, enjoyed a Diet Pepsi to kick start the day, and then got ready to head out. Was a relatively simple trip, straight into Sid's back yard. Not really that far, but pretty well straight up hill. Despite all of the fishing hikes this summer, the straight uphill coupled with the cold mornings still sent a shock through the system.
Chest ached. Legs ached. And trying to keep up with Sid as well as be quiet while moving is a complete contradiction.
As we got closer to the top of the hill, you could see Sid switch gears. His pace slowed. He'd move measured distances at a time. He seemed to sense something was ready to happen. Just then, he noticed a forked-horn mule deer about 80 yds ahead of us. It was watching us, and would move when we moved, and stop when we stopped. It kept itself just safely out of shooting range each time.
At that point, it was just starting to get light, and I was pointed to a spot just off the trail to settle in to and wait for deer to work through. I quickly heard some snorting and huffing behind me, which I've understood to generally be an elk trying to announce it's presence and push something else out of the area that it smells. A few minutes later, I saw another forked-horn mule deer pop out of the trees near where I heard the noise, and bound up the hill over the ridge.
I was worried that maybe I'd spooked it out, but Sid later told me that he wouldn't have moved to my side of the tree line had it been me that scared him. The rest of the morning was very quiet, and we returned to the lodge around 9:00.