The day you leave for any trip is the most unorganized and in some cases stressful day. No matter how organize you try to be by making list, planning out when things to be done and trying to leave at a decent time.
Matt and I were leaving to meet up with friends in Burns for our very first turkey hunt. We bought the sportsman pack which includes Spring turkey, bear, and cougar. And yet every year those tags go unused. So this year we decided to at least try to get a turkey. Who knows we might not have to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving this year.
Anyways, I had the day off so I could get my things together. Also, the cat had a very important date with the vet that morning. 🙂 The night before I had almost everything done and ready to go. I just a couple of things to do plus take the hour and half to take Emma to her date. I get back and finish the last couple of things before loading up the car. I head out to Matt’s house and take a detour to clean horse stalls really quick. Forty-five minutes later I am unloading my things at his house.
We initially decided not to take the canopy, but after looking at the weather report for Burns we ultimately decided we should take it in case. So, I grabbed the trailer keys to go get the canopy and some ice for the cooler. Just after I get back and start making something for lunch Matt shows up. After eating lunch we start loading everything up. We left around 2 PM…well so much for leaving at a decent time… Oh well.
We slowly made our way to Salem. Detroit. Sisters. Redmond. And in Prineville we decided it was time for some dinner. A nice hamburger and fries and end it with a large swirl cone. When we made the plans for going camping we decided that we would try some fishing on the way to Burns, so we stopped at Prineville Reservoir to try our luck at bass fishing. Lets just say our luck wasn’t good, but I did get some nice photos out of it.
By the time we gave up it was nearly 6 PM. Again we started making our way to base camp. It was getting darker and visibility was getting lower. Turns out, we missed our turn off. Crap. We finally get to a spot and stopped to look at the map. Well, we better just keep going. We were getting low on diesel and it was getting late. We get to the 395…do we go into John Day to get diesel? Or do we try to go find base camp? I voted for base camp, since I don’t remember if John Day had access to diesel at 9:30 at night. Well we spent a good 30 minutes trying to find base camp. No luck. It was 10 PM and we were both tired and wanted some sleep. We ultimately decided just to find a good spot where we can pitch our tent and sleeping bags for the night. The plan was to get some sleep and head into Burns for some fuel before heading to find base camp. That’s exactly what we did.
We woke up about 7 AM after hearing a couple of trucks drive by. We both thought it was our camping party doing a search for us. We get dressed and start to take everything down to head into town.
After the truck was happy with some diesel we start our long trek of base camp. We made several stops to look at the map seeing many antelope and sage rats.
Come to find out we were 20 miles on the opposite side from base camp. Camp! Thanks for the great directions Nick! We arrive and no truck was there. We figured they had a search party for us. As we were unloading our stuff, one of the other guys shows up. We started talking to him and explained what happened to us.
He got a good chuckle out it. Figures. We were planning on going to a 3D archery shoot in Burns that day with him. We decided that we would still go. We quickly unloaded our things and got the tent set up…good thing that thing is a quick set up. Matt and I gobbled down some lunch, and we loaded our bows and packs into our friend’s truck.
We get to the shoot which is about 15 miles from camp, and there was barely no one there. We get signed up and started our way through the many 3D targets. The wind on top of the ridge was not playing in our favor. By the time we got done with the first half, I shattered one and lost two arrows. I wasn’t very happy. Also, when we got done my arm was beat. The week earlier I had pulled a muscle in my neck, causing it to be sore.
We took a break, ate some snacks and drank some more water. I decided that my arm had enough for the day, so I thought I would sit out the second part of the shoot. I did hike along with the two guys to keep them company and keep track of Matt’s score.
Both guys did well and placed in the tournament. After prizes, we drove back to camp to catch up with the others. We spent some time catching up with them, explained what had happened to us. We then decided that we would do an evening turkey hunt, plus it will give Matt and I a chance to explore the area a bit.
Matt, Mike, and I drove around for a couple of hours and saw no turkeys. We did see some deer and a good sized herd of elk.
BRRRRRR!!!! It was a cold morning. I didn’t want to get out of my -30 degree weather sleeping bad. Eventually, we get up and have breakfast, and everyone was debating on what they were going to do. Matt and I decided to pack up the truck and then go for a drive around to do some more exploring. We ended up only seeing some deer and found a good area to check out for next time. By the time we got back to camp, the weather became even colder and had a slight hail/snow mix. I was glad we had already loaded everything up.
After saying goodbye to our friends, we slowly made the trek back home.
In the end we had gotten lost, explored some new hunting grounds, and made memories. Although we didn’t see any turkeys, I’m okay with that. We had a good time and now have an entertaining story to tell everyone.