Fleeting as they are I am glad I got to see them, even if it was from a distance.
Hunting season is going on so there are many traipsing the trails, some possibly blazing their own, through those vivid colors.
I recall views from the ridges.
I miss the smell! Oh the smell! There is just a smell that can not be duplicated, and one would be hard pressed to adequately describe the magnificent scent of the mountains.
Don't spend your nights tossing and turning with worry that I did not hike the old trails or sit on the ridge, or sit on a side hill with my eye's peeled, watching for the wild beasties that live in yon range.
I have done those things in my life. The most memorable was the first trip...
I was from town, young and in love.
He was from the country, young and in love. And, he hunted.
We asked all the appropriate guardians for permission for me to go along. Permission was granted. Plans were made.
We would be taking the motor cycle up as far as the rock slide, then hike the rest of the way up, joining his brothers and friends up by the mine.
He was so strong and confident, I trusted him completely.
He coached me in what to wear, to bring, and to leave at home.
The designated night came. It was dusk when we were finally adequately bundled, packs tied closed, we began lugging everything out back by the 'killing tree', where I waited while Honey went to retrieve the motorcycle.
I waited. Then waited. Then waited some more.
The sun was completely to bed, the moon not quite ready to make its appearance. The chill turned to down right cold. Then I saw him, walking down from the barn, pushing the motorcycle?
We moved close to the back porch where he could use the light to work on said motor bike.
Soon it was cold enough to see your breath, his fingers were numb, the light was to bad, so he did something I still to this day can not believe he did!
We went to the newly formed plan B, loaded everything into the car and he put the motorcycle...in the MIDDLE of his mother's kitchen to get warm!! So that someone would be able to work on it later?!
By now it was after eleven at night. We drove to the first gate, unloaded the car, harnessed on the back pack's, broke out the flashlights, but didn't turn them on. No. Because mountain man Honey said that the Moon would be "Poppin' over the rise in just a few minutes". And so we began the six hour hike, in the dark, to the mine.
I was not a hiker, I was no Mountain Mag, this was all very foreign to me, I only had one sure fact replaying in my head. "Mountain loins eat the slowest and the weakest".
I was going to either be eaten by a cougar, or fall over a cliff to a gruesome death, in the dark! He would not even know I was gone! Because he told me not to talk so I wouldn't scare off any deer!
I freely admitted then and I do even more so now-Honey was great with me. He hiked much slower than he was used to, we took breaks so I could rest very often, he let me use the flash light to get over the rock slide, He gave me pep talks and held my hand as much as he could.
Six a.m. we arrived at the camp. Everyone else was just getting up, so Honey tucked me into one of the still warm sleeping bags while cold lunches were made cold breakfasts eaten, talk was all of the problem of the motorcycle and where everyone would be hunting.
I was exhausted. No denying it then or now.
We had to leave the warm confines of the sleeping bags and tents behind us way sooner than I wanted. But we had to be on the side hill as close to sun rise as possible. So off we went for another mile or two. He found the spot where he wanted to be, and I sat down.
Ok, it was more of an I tipped over, but I was not moving from that spot.
Honey took pity on me and built me what he said was a fire. It was about as big around as my hand and it warmed my fingers, I could have cried with happiness.
He told me to keep my eye's open and watch the side of the mountain facing us for any deer. I was to engrossed in getting my hands warmed up, and my watching skills were tired too. I looked up, pointed across and said like that one with the four points on its horns?
He said, "That right there is why I brought you".
I did get to take a good nap in the morning sun while he was away.
We headed back down at about ten, the motorcycle was warm and running so he was able to drive it back up...I went home and slept!
I hunted twice after that. Not in a row. Not for years now. And we are good with that.
I have been blessed to hiked the trails, have mountain air fill my lungs, sat on the tippy top of mountain ridges and seen some of the beasties.