This hunt was as up in the air as it could be. What started as a solo hunt into an area I hadn’t picked out yet ended up being a two person hunt after WhitePalm sent me a PM seeing that I was setting out on a solo mission and must have felt sorry for me. Good thing he did.
If you were to ask either of us why we chose the area we did to hunt I don’t believe either of us could honestly give you a real good reason. Had either of us hunted the area before??? No. Had we heard of sheep coming out of this area before?? Nope. Had either of us even laid eyes on the area??? Again Nope. But the area appeared to be full of adventure from the topos and a chance to get out and hike with a small potential to see sheep was enough of an excuse for us. So with some juggling of work schedules and what not we were able to make a plan come together.
We were both excited to be getting out sheep hunting as neither of us had originally planned to seriously hunt sheep too much this year. We knew mutual acquaintances and it became apparent that we both enjoyed getting out hiking first and foremost. The chance to shoot some game generally was a fringe benefit which is a nice outlooks to share among sheep hunting partners, especially when going for nearly a week into the backcountry with someone you have only met a couple of times for 10 minutes at the most.
This was to be my first real attempt at hunting sheep. I had toyed with sheep hunting while in high school, but those were usually overnight endeavors from the house. Whitepalm and I got a later start than we had hoped. The plan was to leave the valley around 4 or 5 am and head to the sheep hunting ground, but with caribou meat to process from a previous hunt we ended up leaving on August 29th around 1:30 PM. This left very little daylight to travel the first day but we still somehow managed to float 4 miles and hike 5 miles towards the area we intended to hunt for sheep before sitting up camp with headlamps.
The morning of the 30th we awoke to high overcast and cool weather, perfect for hiking and covering the country as we had an additional 15 or so miles to hike in the trailless backcountry prior to getting to where we planned to even begin looking for sheep. We clipped off the miles going in, making great time despite our 65-70 pound packs (due to pack rafting gear.) The scenery was stunning thanks to changing fall colors the hunters hunting the opener are not privy to.
We crossed a fork of the creek we hoped to float out sometime in the early afternoon and dropped our packrafts as well as some other gear there and continued the remaining 6-7 miles where we hoped to setup a base camp for sheep hunting.
About an hour or so after dropping the packrafts we were caught in a deluge of rain/hail for 45 or so minutes and we were glad we bit the bullet and donned all of our rain gear prior to the precipitation coming down.
Me with the nasty clouds in the background just before the rain hit: