Thursday, October 18, 2012

-Mountain Woman-

Aaron grew up in Henefer, UT.  Henefer is a really small, cute town up Provo Canyon and is about 35 minutes past Park City and on your way to Wyoming.  It is a town where everybody knows everybody and everybody knows your business.  His grandfather owns some land up there so Aaron grew up playing in the mountains and is a rough and tough mountain man.  October 16, 2012 was one of the best and worst days of my life.  First of all it was our 10 month anniversary YAY!  So that made it into the BEST category.  Our morning started at 5:15 AM because Aaron wanted to be up in the mountains and waiting before the sun rose.  We put on layers upon layers of warm clothes and I felt poofy and uncomfortable.  I was wearing two pairs of socks (one being a wool pair) and my hiking shoes felt too tight.  We climbed into the truck with the trailer and 4-Wheeler attached to the back and drove up to the gate.  We parked the truck, hopped on the 4-Wheeler, and we were on our way.  The fringed air bit at my face and made my eyes water.  We finally made it to the hill were we wanted to wait for the sun to rise and for all of the animals to wake up.  We didn't speak as we watched the sky turn pink and the sun peak over the horizon.  As morning came our eyes adjusted and there we were, two orange blobs sitting on a hill.  The birds started to sing and we knew it wouldn't be long.  I pulled out my binoculars and searched the rolling hills for any sign of movement.  Aaron and I spotted something on the top of the farthest hill.  I focused my binoculars and Aaron looked through his scope.  To our disappointment it was just another hunter.  He was only wearing an orange hat which isn't enough to differentiate you from being a human or another animal.  We ignored him and continued searching for any other sign of movement.  Nearby where the hunter was walking I saw birds scatter and a deer prance out of sight.  We then saw a beautiful deer walking down the hill.  This deer was amazing to watch.  He was lighter than most deer and healthy.  I quietly asked Aaron if he was going to shoot at him.  He told me that the deer was only a 3 point and that he could do better.  We sat searching the hills for about an hour.  We then started to hike around.  We were hiking through a beautiful forest when we heard a gallop and a tree limb snap.  We found it's trail and followed it.  Adrenaline was pumping fast but we ended up losing it.  I was pretty discouraged after that.  Aaron told me that hunting requires patients and sometimes you can go all day without seeing a deer.  We were lucky to have seen so many.  We then took a 4-Wheeler ride to cover some ground.  Aaron thought a great place to go sit and wait was by a pond.  We walked there and the pond was bone dry.  It was depressing.  We sat and waited on a nearby hill anyway to eat some lunch.  Canned tuna and a bagel...just what I was craving.  At least we had some cheez-its.  Aaron asked me if I wanted to go hiking again and I was pooped.  I wanted to rest.  I actually really just wanted to go back to Aaron's parents house and take a shower and a long nap but I was trying to be a good sport.  I asked him if he would be okay going alone and if I could sit and rest.  We both had our phones in case of an emergency.  I watched him walk over the hill and out of sight.  I laid down and closed my eyes.  I surprisingly fell asleep and didn't wake up until Aaron got back.  We rode the 4-Wheeler and hiked around some more.  We parked the 4-Wheeler at the cabin that Kevin (Aaron's dad) and his boys built.  We were going to pick up Thomas (Aaron's younger brother) at the gate at 3:30 PM and I was going to go back to the house and let them continue hunting.  It was now 2:30 PM and I had just one more hour till I could go take a nice hot shower and a long nap.  We decided to take one more walk.  As we walked up a trail we had to step lightly and be very quit.  I tried to step as quietly as Katniss from the Hunger Games would have stepped.  We were on the lookout for deer. We had no such luck.  We decided to turn around and go back.  The 4-Wheeler was in sight when Aaron spotted something.  About 300 yards up a hill was a white deer bum.  I focused my binoculars and Aaron told me it was a 4 point and he was going to shoot at it!  I was really excited and nervous all at the same time.  This was a far shot so Aaron steadied his gun on a tree limb and aimed for what seemed like forever and then BAM!  My job was to watch the deer to see if it would run or fall.  Nothing happened.  The deer was frozen.  He missed.  A few seconds later...BAM!  Again, nothing happened.  One more miss and then Aaron aimed, took his time, and pulled the trigger.  BAM! The deer fell and rolled down the hill.  I screamed and jumped for joy!  I was in mid motion of running to Aaron to hug him when I remembered what my job was and all at the same time he firmly reminded me to stay where I was to watch the deer to see if it would run.  Aaron ran up the hill to find the deer.  I called him and directed him to were the deer was located.  When you are up on that hill everything looks so different then when you are looking up at it.  He found the deer a few feet away from where it fell.  He told me he had to go and hung up. I was watching through my binoculars but could only see Aaron and not the deer.  I heard another gun shot.  I knew then that the deer was dead and put out of it's misery.  Aaron called me and told me to come up.  I ran up the hill as fast as I could.  My lungs were burning and all of my layers made it stifling hot.  I had a hard time finding Aaron but we called back and forth and I finally spotted his orange jacket.  I looked down and saw the motionless deer.  Poor Bambi.  Que Mountain Woman.  Aaron could not pull this 300 pound deer down the mountain by himself.  My hand gripped the antler and we trudged down the mountain.  These are the things I am telling Aaron as we pull the buck down the mountain, "Oh, his eyes!  They are going to get scratched by the sticks!" and, "Are it's antlers going to fall off if we pull on them for too long?"  Our backs are aching terribly at this point.  We could see the trail in sight and I just wanted this all to be over.  We finally got the deer to the trail and rested for a moment.  I called Thomas and told him to meet us at the cabin.  He told us he would hurry.  There were huge fallen limbs between us and the 4-Wheeler.  We needed Thomas' help to pull this deer over the trees and get the deer on the 4-Wheeler.  While we waited for Thomas, Aaron began to gut it.  The deer is no longer a is an it.  I watched it's stomach be cut and watched all of the insides fall out.  I watched it's neck be cut to release the trachea.  I watched the blood drain.  This whole time I am wishing Thomas would hurry and get here so we could get it out of here and get this over with.  I was relieved when I saw Thomas running to our aid.  They drug it over the tree limbs and we got it onto the 4-Wheeler.  We all hopped on and slowly drove to the gate.  This bumpy ride took forever as my eyes were glued to this poor thing that was strapped to the front of the 4-Wheeler.  We finally got to the gate and loaded it in the trailer.  Thomas took the 4-Wheeler back up into the mountains to go hunt and we drove the truck back to the house.  We got to the house at around 5:30 PM.  Aaron's dad was out of town.  He is usually the one who helps with these kinds of things.  We did not know where the ropes and pullies were to hang it up.  We had to improvise.  We tried seemed hopeless.  How were we going to hang this deer upside down?  Aaron cut the ankles and shoved a metal pole through.  I don't think you will believe me when I tell you that we drug the thing into the backyard and hung it on the rings of the playground where the nieces and nephews play.  This might just be the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life.  It was so heavy...Aaron and I muscled it and put the metal pole through the rings.  There it was, hanging lifeless upside down by its ankles.  Would you believe that it started to rain?  Yes, it just got worse.  I sat on the trampoline in the rain and watched Aaron skin it.  Aaron told me that I could go inside.  Thank you, that is what I have been waiting to hear.  I wanted to help him as much as I could but I couldn't handle doing anything after that.  I stripped off my dirty, wet clothes and stepped into the hot shower.  I stood there for a while...thinking about what had just transpired.  I might have been a little bit traumatized yes, but everything about this day made my love grow tremendously for Aaron.  He was a MAN.  I got all clean and then ate broccoli cheese soup and homemade bread with Aaron's mom Valarie.  Comfort food.  That's exactly what I needed.  At around 8:30 Aaron and Thomas came in with two huge metal bowls full of meat.  Valarie and I agreed to help package the meat.  I wore gloves.  Aaron, Valarie, and Thomas cut the meat into steak size and I washed and wrapped it.  When the meat was all in white freezer paper it didn't look too bad.  Everything was finished at around 10:30 PM.  I felt so relieved to have this all over and done with.  Aaron said something to the effect of, "Man, I don't know if I'm going to go hunting next year.  This is way more work than I remember it being!"  I then told him that in a year he would forget just how hard the whole process is and that he will just remember the fun parts.  I bet he will go next year.  I just haven't figured out if I will go with him yet.  Maybe I will forget how overwhelming it is in a year too.  But then again, I have this detailed post to remind me to not go!

This was my job all day long.

YAY!  Go Aaron!  Everything up to this point was awesome.

Yea, me I know

Oh, and Thomas found a shed on his way to the cabin.


  1. Love the picture of you. Yeah, that sounds like a horible day to me. Gross. Glad that you found the up sides to the day!

  2. You guys are awesome! Way to be a sport Rach - I'm impressed! :) Think of the memories :)

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this entire story. I laughed out loud a couple times even! The whole situation was so funny just because I could totally picture you in it, hehe. Whenever Jonathan catches a fish I think the same thing- my husband is a MAN. except....its a wimpy little fish, not a deer. :D