Ridges, ravines and rimrock
November 2, 2009
When my husband Doug asked me if I’d like to spend a few days tracking antelope in Wyoming in anticipation of his fall hunting trip, my answer was pretty much the same as in previous years: “Why would I want to do that?”
As a writer married to a hunter for almost half a century, my thoughts ran more toward spending a week or so in blissful solitude at home with the computer.
Noting my obvious lack of interest, he added, “Afterwards we could drive up to Thermopolis, visit the dinosaur museum, take a dip in the hot spring pool, maybe stop at the petroglyphs on the way over to Cody.”
Now we were getting somewhere. We had visited the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, home to five museums in Cody, several times before and there was never enough time to take it all in. When he said further that we could spend a few days in Yellowstone (another of my favorite places) on the way home, I gave in. So, with the RV packed and area maps in hand, we soon headed north to Wyoming in search of a trophy that would make Boone and Crockett headlines.
The first day out, Doug was up before dawn. “Not that we need to rush, but I’d like to get a head start before the antelope bed down in the afternoon.”
I stuck my head out of the covers. “Bed down? They’re probably not even up yet!”
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In the truck later with lunch in tow, Doug handed me his spare binoculars.
“What are these for?” I asked.
“So you can help me spot.”
Bumping through sage flats sprinkled with yucca and prickly pear cactus, we did see dozens of antelope within hours, but none that Doug felt were trophy quality. The best game we saw all day (besides a lone group of 12 bucks) was a gorgeous red fox on the crest of a gray-and-lavender rock wall. And the scenery was incredible! We had passed through narrow canyons dotted with cedar; jostled across steep-sided arroyos and up into sweeping multi-layered hills before descending to a valley creek lined with huge cottonwoods. After seven hours, we called it a day and headed back to camp.
The second day found us in another section of Doug’s hunting area, but the end of that day brought the same results – no trophies in sight. However, we did spot a mountain bluebird, and a mature golden eagle perched on top of a cone-shaped hill, no doubt in search of a snack.
Doug spent the third morning on his own while I did some cleaning and laundry. He returned for lunch, not exactly triumphant, but more optimistic that somewhere out there lurked the trophy antelope that would put him in the record books.
I put on my most sympathetic face. Yellowstone, here we come!