I always figured if I can’t beat ’em, join ’em. This was my approach with my husband when he asked me to go hunting with him for the hundredth time. Instead of bitching and whining about his absence, I decided I would spend some quality one on one time with him in the great outdoors. Besides, wasn’t the first thing that attracted me to this brawny man his sense of adventure and rugged handsomeness? Outfitted in my husband’s wool pants, 14 layers of polypropylene, wool, cotton, polyester, more wool, big winter barn boots with little traction left, hat, mittens, and don’t forget the blaze orange and rifle, I was ready for my plus size Cabela’s photo shoot. Out the door we went for our day of marital bonding in search of the elusive wapiti.
We met up with our friend, Jon, at the barn, loaded our horses and were on our way. (So much for the marital bonding. Adding another male to the picture assured me of a long, long, long, long, long day in the woods.) There was a fresh layer of wet snow on the ground that morning, so we headed for the high country. We unloaded the horses in the dark, tightened cinches, and mounted up. Well, the boys mounted up. Somehow, I ended up with the tallest horse, the most clothing, and the shortest legs which inhibited my swinging up into the saddle. Four tries later of stabbing the stirrup, grunting like a pig and now sweating like whore in church, I scoped the area in the dark for a stump, or something to assist me in the mounting process. Finally in the saddle feeling like a weeble wobble on top of my horse, we set out. The day was already starting out well.
As morning dawned, it appeared it was going to be a beautiful, crisp mountain day. Riding along, I took in the scenery, keeping my eye out for elk or deer. I loved riding, and reminded myself this was the reason I was here. It was cold, I couldn’t feel my toes or fingers, and I had frozen snot trails hanging from my nose, but dang, wasn’t it pretty! We rode most of the morning, not seeing much, and decided it was time for a lunch fire. Not just any lunch fire, but a “white man” lunch fire. The kind you build so big, you have to stand 100 ft. away just to enjoy. After the boys snoozed a bit, it was time to head out again.
The weather had turned and it was piling up heavy, wet flakes as we rode along steep sidehills and ridges. I was feeling soggy, cold, and ready to head toward the truck when the guys cut fresh elk tracks. Shit. Off we went chasing elk in the snow on horseback. If you have ever done this, you know this pursuit can last FOREVER. After two hours of circling and chasing, we decided to split up. Little did I know splitting up meant, “Here Heather. Hold our horses. We’ll be back in 4 hours.” Waiting, waiting… The guys reappear elkless after their foot pursuit. It was still snowing, and late afternoon was approaching. No more elk sign was to be seen, so we decided it was time to start back. All the previous chasing had left us on top of a steep, rocky beargrass laden ridge. My husband, Mr. Hunting Guide, says he knows a shortcut, and those words uttered from any man are enough to make all women cringe. I look at him eyeballing his shortcut, which was straight down the mountain. I felt the urge to deliver a swift kick to his groin. Now, if you have ever tried to walk across wet, snowy beargrass hills, you know what I am up against. We dismount, figuring it’s too steep to ride. Now I get to try to walk and lead my horse at the same time. All my hunting clothes are still on, only they are 50 pounds heavier with water, and my boots have no traction. Jon and my husband start down the hill, leaving me to slide and waller my way. And slide and waller I did. Every two steps, I ended up on my ass as my horse is trying to walk over the top of me. By now, the guys are out of sight with their horses, and mine begins to nicker and tries to run down the hill, pulling me off my feet yet again. Finally reaching the bottom, the men are no where to be seen. I have cussed my way down the mountain, called my husband every dirty name in the book, and am so mad I can’t see straight. To top it off, I have to pee like a racehorse. Now I get to hold my idiot horse, pull down fourteen layers of clothes, and avoid pissing on myself. Damn, this was fun! Job somewhat finished, I try to get back on my horse, whom by now is a nervous wreck at being left behind, and is trying to run away as I get on. At this point in time, words can not even describe my lack of good mood, so I punch my horse in the face, jerk him down into a ditch to mount up, and catch up with the guys. Upon my arrival, Jon looks around at me, and knows just by one glance, that I detest both of them. My husband however, rides along nonchalantly, not looking back. Jon pipes up and says, “I asked Justin if we were going to stop and wait for you at the bottom, and he said, ‘Hell no! Can’t you see how pissed she is? I am not waiting around for that!'”
I think two weeks later I finally spoke to my husband in a civil tone…. Who needs marital bonding when you own a rifle?
Baby, this song is for you…