Dear adventurous reader,
During the weekend, my husband and I decided to take the family on a trip north. The purpose, ostensibly, was to go caribou hunting. We packed a tent, sleeping bags, food, rifles, and warm clothes for all of us. For our youngest daughter we brought full snow gear — snow pants, parka, boots, mittens. Although it hadn’t snowed yet, we suspected it would be well below freezing.
We loaded everything into the back of our pickup truck, hitched our boat trailer, and drove north through river valleys and alpine tundra. Then we launched the boat into clear-running water, and headed up river.
When I say we were “ostensibly” going on a caribou hunting trip, I mean to say that hunting trips are rarely about only the hunt itself. We go in search of moose or bear or caribou. We hope, at the end of the trip, to have meat for the winter.
But more than anything we hope to grab some last bit of autumn. We go in search of surprises, big and small. An eagle feather caught in a spruce branch. Brown bear tracks in the mud. Grayling darting beneath our boat. A small group of caribou passing by camp at dusk.
A good book shared around the campfire. The sounds of the wilderness filling our ears as we sleep — coyotes yipping along the hillside, the river burbling over rocks and logs. Hot oatmeal in the morning, dotted with cranberries gathered from the tundra bushes behind our tent.
When we returned home last night, we brought caribou meat. But to say we had just been gone hunting doesn’t say enough.