Who we are changes every day- the situations we are in, the people we surround ourselves with, they help make us grow, help develop who we are, where we’ve been and where we are going.. These things may change us minutely or in a large way.
I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about this lately, especially with 2016 rolling to a close. Where am I? Where was I? I look at the people and the life around me that has formed who I am, and where I am going. It’s kind of scary when you sit and really think on it-what if those people, this life wasn’t there? What would I do, who would I be and who would I become?
I couldn’t imagine life without the people I share it with, the hobbies I have, the places I have been, the shit I’ve seen and the beauty I’ve witnessed. Life is precious-because of the people you share it with, the memories you make and the impression you leave on this earth.
Enjoy 2017, enjoy each day, each memory. We don’t get to leave much when we go; so let’s make the most and choose to leave everyone smiling, laughing and seeing the beauty within and around.
This summer was full of life, filled with adventure and fun. We fished throughout Nevada and Idaho, we mountain biked, we hunted, we hiked, we camped and we backpacked into the Jarbidge Wilderness. As summer draws near a close, here are a few photos from it all.
Oh how I love summer, but I am ready for fall!! Chukar seasons will be here in 3 short weeks, and we couldn’t be more excited.
It’s hard to come up with words about recent violent events, events that stretch back to my early teens and are as recent as today. I don’t understand how a world can be so hateful, how emotions get taken and turned into a violent act. I mainly don’t understand where this hatred comes from within our souls.
We (the USA, the world) have defaulted- we turn to violence, to hate and to anger. Humans have become materialistic, obsessed with drama, obsessed with who is doing what. I fear that this trend will continue, lives will be lost and souls will be darkened; we will become hardened and will recognize this violence as normal.I get an overwhelming feeling of sadness, shame, grief and heartache from the thought of this.
The human spirit however can recover; it can be freed of the hate, the anger, sadness and grief and be rebuilt. But for now I cry-I cry for soldiers, for cops, for firefighters, for paramedics, for innocent civilians and families. I cry for my future children who will be exposed to a world like this.
Some may argue the violence comes from our differences, and that triggers our souls to hate. If we all focused on improving ourselves more: our personality, our kindness, and our happiness we wouldn’t have TIME to focus on others differences, we wouldn’t have time to hate. So let them be different, let yourself be different! When you eventually leave this earth and your soul leaves your body, being different makes no difference… and it makes none while you are here.
The wilderness is my place, and my time to relax, to enjoy the natural things, to survive and to thrive in a place with no contrived distractions. I will continue to go here, I will continue to be my “different” self- because I honestly don’t know what else to do.
I LOVE this recipe. It is full of nice flavors and is super quick and easy! Got 30 minutes of less? This recipe is for you!!
6 Chukar breasts, cut into cubes
1 bag “steamfresh” veggies (I like broccoli, carrots, peas and cauliflower)
1 cup of white rice (cooked per package directions)
1 clove minced garlic
1 Tbsp. Olive oil or coconut oil
1 tsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. soy or Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Salt and Pepper to taste
Sriracha to taste
In a large skillet, add oil, garlic and cubed Chukar breasts. Cook on low. In pot, cook rice according to package directions. After Chukar has browned on both sides, add rice vinegar, Worcestershire, Sriracha, and seasonings. Continue to cook on low. Steam veggies according to directions (they usually only take 5 minutes, so do this very last).
Mix rice, veggies and Chukar together in a bowl and serve with Sriracha (or favorite hot sauce). Enjoy!
The phrase “the first time is for fun, everytime after that is for revenge” is a common sentence amoung chukar hunters describing the experience to a non or soon to be chukar hunter. -Let me tell you the real description-
Chukar run uphill and fly down hill-makes sense right? -nope! But if they did the opposite, that would just be too easy.
Essentially what your going to experience during chukar hunting is the following: your legs will eventually (or right away) be screaming profanities at you, your lungs will be straining and feeling like a old/ over full balloon, your arms will become numb from carrying a gun for endless hours; and your brain will be asking itself “why are you doing this?” But you keep pushing-because ahead of you is a pointer, who just got birdy.
So you trek on; then all at once it happens- the dog goes on point. Now your holding your gun like a badass, your legs have become bionic and your lungs have quieted their threats of bleeding.
All this happens in an instant, and within seconds birds are in the air and shots are being fired. Many chukar hunters black out at this point (no, not because they finished the liquid in their flask) it’s the type of black out where you don’t even have to think about what your doing- it’s second nature. Your brain carries out the task subconsciously.
Why do it if you aren’t guaranteed success? -you may ask. Well, you do it not to feel all those things: tired legs, overworked lungs, numb fingers and arms, but you do it to feel them go away. Even if you don’t kill a single bird, you are still successful- if you get to feel that moment, you’re successful.
That my friend, is my description of chukar hunting.
*When we cook Chukar, we always “Breast them out” or filet the breast meat off the cavity. This meat can be tough; we generally tenderize the meat before we cook it. It’s also important to not rush the cooking process, I’ve found the lower temperatures I cook the meat, the less gamey and tough it tastes.
Keep in mind a lot of gamey taste can depend on how quickly you field dress your animal (birds or large game)
1 pkg fettuccini noodles
Cook per package directions
6 filleted Chukar breasts cut into 1″ strips
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt, pepper and garlic salt to taste
Add olive oil to non-stick skillet, add in chukar meat, and seasonings cook on low until meat is cooked through. Place cooked Chukar on plate and set aside until sauce is done.
6 oz cream cheese
1 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
1-2 cups milk (depends on how thick you want your sauce)
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt & pepper
In the non-stick skillet lightly brown garlic. Add in cream cheese and slowly melt; this may take up to 5 minutes. It is important to not burn it.
Add Parmesan cheese, stir until melted. Add in milk, half a cup at a time. As sauce cooks it will thicken. Continue to add milk until desired thickness is reached.
Add in seasonings and cooked chukar.
Once heated throughly, serve on top of noodles. This recipe is great with a side of greens! This recipe feeds 2 with leftovers.
Thanks for reading! Check in with us next week for our chukar stir-fry recipe.
Do you have a favorite upland game recipe? We’d love to hear it!
“I just have this compelling feeling I need to go” I told my coworkers as I prepared to leave for a trip I had no intentions on attending; we left that night. The truck was loaded with enough gear and food to last us two weeks for a four day hunting trip; being stranded sounded fine by me, there is nothing more I wanted than to be in the mountains. Our drive started at 8:00pm Wednesday night, and for the first hour we tested out the sound system in my dad’s new truck; we were alive and eager for the adventure ahead.
1:30 am we arrived in Eureka, only long enough to switch drivers; it was my turn. As Tim and my dad slept, I rolled the big dually and trailer down the highway. Between Eureka and Ely there are some alarming canyons with twists and turns, naturally I slowed down; I was uneasy. Both Tim and dad were awake at this point, “what’s wrong dad asked”, “I don’t know, but I feel like something is going to jump out” I said quietly. Almost instantly Tim yells “ELK!” There were elk everywhere, hundreds of cow-calf pairs, and beautiful large bulls. I stopped the truck not 10 feet from a calf; she was the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen, all fluffy with her winter coat. There we were at 2:00 am surround by a herd of elk, what a start to a riffle cow elk hunt.
We arrived to elk camp at 6:30 am Thursday morning and after a quick nap we unloaded the quads, our gear and changed into our camo. Tim instinctively started glassing and immediately spotted three nice bulls; a 4×4, 5×5 and 6×5 feeding up a mountainside. “We haven’t even left camp and there’s elk!” Tim gestured to dad. There were two problems however; dads tag wasn’t for a bull and his area had been reduced to less
than 10% of its original size. Dads unit was on the eastern side of Nevada along the Utah border, unit 113.
When applying for this tag, it was not made clear that the issuing party intended to reduce the hunt area to a few square miles and call it a “depredation hunt”. Regardless of the logic behind the decrease in the unit, we had no choice but to focus all our efforts in the few square miles. This area was low quality elk habitat, and only sustained an elk population because of the high quality forage acquired from the ranches. Adding salt to the wound, the area surrounding the depredation area was beautiful elk habitat, containing aspens groves and tall pines, constantly reminding us of how we drew the short stick.
The “new” unit was south west of ranches; it was thick with pinion and juniper pines. Tall bluffs of weathered granite protruded from the dry ground giving the area a half moon shape. To the north east ranches were scattered throughout a valley, producing lush alfalfa fields.
Needless to say we went out that morning with open minds; although my dad had spent 12 days in the area already this season without a sign, we remained optimistic. It was later in the season, and the rut was in its early weeks we kept telling each other, “maybe the cows are split up and moved off the mountain” I tried to emphasize. We quaded around until about noon when we decided time to sneak a nap in before the evening hunt. On our way back to camp, we came across a Utah hunter, camping in Nevada. This fellow hunter told us of a herd who crossed the road at night to feed on the ranch pastures and who went back across into the mountains in the early morning.
Luckily for us, those mountains were in dad’s new area. We had a plan now, sit up on a hill and wait for dusk.
We didn’t see any elk for two more days. These elk were “vampire elk” as I called them and traveled by night. By Friday afternoon, our hopes of even seeing an elk were fading, but we continued to explore the little unit we had. Almost at once we found ourselves on an old road winding through the juniper trees; we decided to continue on. The vegetation started to change as we descended down the road, a spring emerged and our luck changed.
Perched on a hill 80 yards from the spring the noon sun hit our shoulders as we prepared our “blind” made of dead tree limbs. The field of vision for the shot was perfect, a clear and straight line from us to the spring. Hours passed as we waited for evening and hopefully elk. As the sun dipped behind the mountains, I watched my dad grow excited, nervous and anxious. It was like waiting for Christmas morning, the anticipation gave us the patience of 5 year olds. We waited there, hidden in the
trees until dark without seeing any wildlife, much less an elk.
Saturday morning, the morning we were supposed to depart we decided to go out for one more quick hunt. We left camp at 4:30 am, bundled up and hopeful we rode the quads to the ranches. We were nearing the second ranch when dad motion us to stop and turn off the quad. There was an eruption of noise, a chill crawled up my back as I heard all the bugles ring out. I grabbed my flash light in time to catch a bull heading up the hill. We started the quads and raced for the road that would take us into dad’s area, but as the sun started to peak over the horizon we discovered that we were too late.
“We gave it our best shot” dad said as we got back to camp and began packing and loading up. It was not easy to pack up knowing we were going home to an empty freezer; but the chill and excitement of being so close to those bugling bulls was still fresh. Our souls were filled with happiness and peace, nature gave us what we needed.
We had one quad loaded in the truck and all our gear packed, all we had to do now was hook up the trailer and load the other quad. Dad hoped in the truck, gave the ignition a spirited turn; nothing, the truck was dead.
Luckily a rancher we had made friends with drove by shortly after our discovery. He offered to bring us jumper cables and would return within the hour. Tim and I ventured to the nearest cell service to call out, just in case it wasn’t the batteries that was causing the trucks issues. By the time we returned, the truck was running much to our relief.
As we got in our seats and prepared to leave, dad turns to us and says “we were asked to stop by the ranch”. We arrived to the ranch to be greeted by the rancher and his wife, he motioned us to come with him to the bunk house. There hanging from the rafters was elk quarters from the bull Jason (name changed) had shot earlier that week. “Do you enjoy elk meat John?” he asked “oh heck yes I do” my dad explained. Before we could say anything else, Jason began explaining that he and his wife would be giving us a front and hind quarter from this elk. We were all in awe and disbelief that someone would do something so kind, especially when they had just met us. They explained that they got an elk last year, and just had too much meat. As we thanked them over and over, Jason said “hey man, there might come a time when I’m in need of your help.” Jason’s words are a good lesson, and we took them to heart.
Hunting isn’t about whether or not you fill your tag; it’s about the experience, the adventures and the lessons. It’s also about the stalk, the hard work, early mornings and late nights with great food and great company. It’s being in nature, surrounded by all her glory and majestic creatures. Its feeling that chill crawling up your back when you hear a bugle or the feeling of every sense awakened on a stalk in an aspen patch.
We can tend to lose sight of what matters most in the everyday shuffle, being in nature provides that reaffirmation. I always bring back lessons from the mountains: a little mellower, more at peace and less concerned about the superficial. The mountains have a lot to say, we just have to listen.
What’s your favorite thing about hunting, camping or just being in the mountains?
Our first blog post comes to you just days after our return home from a six day chukar hunting trip. I am still day dreaming of the birds, dogs, and adventures we had during our time in Cornucopia.
The definition of Cornucopia comes from Greek mythology; a goat’s horn over flowing with fruit, flowers, and grain, also known as the horn of plenty. Our Nevada Cornucopia holds a special place in our hearts, and was named such by the first generation of hunters. Three generations have hunted and still hunt this wild land for those ever frustrating birds…Chukar.
We arrived to a muddy camp at 8:30 pm Sunday night, after two hours of struggling to get one of the trucks unstuck. Monday morning we woke to a foot of fresh snow and the bird hunting couldn’t have been more impressive. Tim shot his limit in an hour, his Benelli barrel never even got hot.
Tuesday we found ourselves walking into a blizzard. The wind and blowing snow was crippling as we hike to meet up with our family, who were further up the ridge. Lunch was a cold and fast one, I covered our shivering dogs with my Marmot windbreaker. That evening, we celebrated our arrival at the warmth of the wall tent and wood stove.
Wednesday and Thursday were beautifully sunny days, almost t-shirt weather. Trigger our 10 month old GSP was pointing a retrieving like a seasoned dog. I’ve never been more proud of a pup.
The fifth and last day, four of us hiked into what Tim calls Castle Bluff. If you’ve ever watched Lord of the Rings, it looks like the rocky lands of the orcs. Half way up the draw, as we stood there discussing our lunch location while the dogs ran around us impatiently; birds got up. The day officially started at this point and from there on we were unwavering on our goal.
What’s beautiful about Nevada, is you can pick basically any mountain range and it will be completely different from the one to the east or west of it. There is mining heritage and history scattered throughout the state, in the most desolate locations. The Santa Rosa’s, Toiyabe’s, Independence, Ruby’s are glorious mountains here in Nevada and what even better, is there are more… waiting to be explored.
Something happens to the soul somewhere between the accent and the peak of a mountain. Standing at 8,000 feet looking back at where we came from provided me with an overwhelming feeling of sanity. Probably one of my favorite quotes comes from Everett Ruess in his last letter to his brother “as to when I shall visit civilization, it will not be soon, I think. I have not tired of the wilderness; rather I enjoy its beauty and the vagrant life I lead, more keenly all the time. I prefer the saddle to the streetcar and the star-sprinkled sky to a roof.”
There is something about the wild that allures me, and something very special about the wild we always seem to find in Nevada. It fills our hearts with bliss, our minds with adventure and our freezer full of meat; we do our grocery shopping at 8,000 feet.