My Hell Hole
I'm not much of a traveler, but out of necessity I find myself doing it more and more. It is usually about going to a calling contest or something like that, but I often get home sick and find myself thinking of places I would rather be. I recently found myself at Niagara Falls in upstate New York. I was sent to Rochester for work, but had a chance to ride over to the falls for an evening. I rode on that little boat that travels out in front of the thing and did the whole tourist deal. I was completely blown away by the power of the energy in the form of wind and mist that comes off of that thing. Nature is amazing no matter where you are. Still I long for home, and the world that I love so much. I guess birds of a feather do flock together because I met a very friendly local grouse hunter. We visited only briefly but were able to exchanged a few stories and talk about bird dogs a bit before we went our separate ways. It was really nice to talk with him, but it made me long for mid September and a very special canyon in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah.
|Tom sitting at around mid elevation in the hole.|
was in Tic's yearling season. I had worked very hard to give my young friend every opportunity to find birds on his own. I left the older dogs home often to allow him to really learn and took him out at least twice a week on his own that first season. It was late September or maybe even early October when I started Tic down into that steep canyon for the first time. A fresh skiff of snow was on the ground and I knew from experience that this was good for our chances, but not my footing. The already melting snow made the whole canyon glisten in the morning sunshine. It has the most beautiful stand of deep dark pines on one side and short heavy brush on the other. The bottom of the canyon has a tiny spring running down it and the cover around the water is impenetrable. There are also Aspens, elderberries, some kind of red-orange berry that is common in the Utah mountains, and all types of leaves and buds that often turn up in the craws of a grouse. There is so much habitat that on the best days one finds birds many and often all the way through it from top to bottom. For one reason or another it is a place they congregate when the weather starts to turn. It is so steep that the blue grouse found up high in it only have to flap a few times before diving down the canyon and out of site. It is among the best places to be period.
|Young Tic on this hunt.|