…As cliché as it sounds, the drive up into mountains was like a dream. I sipped hot coffee from one of my dad’s Stanley thermoses as I huddled comfortably in the drivers seat in a fleece lined, camouflage, hooded sweatshirt my mom had bought me at the local hardware store on clearance.
Life was good right then and right there; I felt young and old, independent and vulnerable, lonesome and fulfilled. This was the closest thing to a grand adventure that I had experienced up to that time. The Pirelli tires I had recently purchased for Uncle John’s truck chewed the gravel of the country road that led to my mom’s new woodlot.
It was still dark when I got to deer camp, (I had basically left the night before and drove all night). And I grabbed some sleep nestled in the warm front seat of the truck. I woke up from my snooze well after dawn and immediately set up my camp. I backed the truck down to the little creek that meandered through the property and pitched grandpa’s old Army tent about 10 yards away from the bank. I chose to have it facing the creek so that I could sit in the front of the tent at night and look out over the glistening rocks and rippling flow of water as I drank camp coffee in the moonlight. I was going to be here a week by myself and had three deer tags to fill.
It was a little past noon when I had finally set up the tent and had cut enough fire wood to last me the day. I was hungry, so decided to make some oatmeal in my cookpot and sprinkled some brown sugar and almonds into it as I sat back in my camp chair and enjoyed the semi-warm weather. In a few minutes I planned to go find a likely spot to set up my tree stand and to throw a bag of apples and turnips out around it. As I was blowing on the steaming thick mass of chewy goodness I heard splashing.
I turned to see a good buck crossing the creek. He was about an eight point, not too big and young; maybe a three year old. His nose was to the ground like he was trailing a doe but he was in the water. He stopped and looked directly at me and huffed. I think he was commenting on the smell of my oatmeal. He didn’t seem overly impressed in any way. “it’s going to be a good hunt”, I thought as he meandered on down the creek line, leaving me to my oatmeal.