The Buffalo Steak - Part 2
We were up before light, and got already, ate some peanut butter and honey sandwiches Irene made for us, then left the tent and started our tip toe walk south along the ridge. It was foggy, couldn’t see too far. I figured the bucks would be hard to see now, poor luck. By the time we got to the vantage point where we should have a good view down and across the face of the mountain-it was light enough to shoot. I had a shell in the chamber and on safe. I held the scope to my eye and checked the ridge below us. There I could barely see a buck in the mist pretty good horns, he was looking toward us, behind him a bigger buck slipped through fog and into the timber along the ridge top. The buck was holding, now or never, I thought, he’ll follow right behind the bigger one. I slipped the safety off, got the cross hairs just behind the shoulder, BOOM! Randy was startled. “What are you shooting at?” He said. “A buck,” I said. He nor Scott had seen it.
We moved down the ridge about 100 yards. I said, I think this is where he was, we looked for blood or any sign of a hit. NOTHING. We looked more still nothing. I don’t think I missed, I thought to myself, but it ain’t lookin’ good. We kept lookin’, no sign, no deer. I was pretty forlorn. My one good chance, and I muffed it. How could I miss? We kept looking all of a sudden, Scott, who had gone further down the ridge about 60 feet said “here he is Dad.” Thanks Scott.
A beautiful 5 point buck lay dead in the wet grass and sage. I was relieved, and happy. He had dropped and never moved, we were all happy. Randy said “I can’t believe it, I thought you were playing a trick on me.” No trick. The fog started to lift, we could see across the canyon now and the ridge further to the east. It was so beautiful. We were on top of the world all alone, the smell of the mountain was pungent in our nostrils. The pines, the sage, the grass, the fresh delicious air. And there we had a beautiful mature grey five point mule deer buck. I could see Randy drinking it all in. Now it really was “it don’t get no better than this. He was, I think, spell bound. The mountains are so awesome, words really can’t describe. I thought now he’s glad he came. We chatted a bit about it all, what had happened, drank in the grandeur-now the fog was gone, we could see the mighty Tetons to the north-it was good to be there.
Time to get to work. Soon we had the buck all cleaned, camp broke, the horses saddled and loaded, the buck secured to a good pack horse and we were descending the switch backs. The trip out was great. Chatter, laugh, chatter, laugh, eat candy bars, drink pop, breath that pure mountain air, absorb the unbelievable panoramas sway and rock in the saddle, good horses moving beneath you, you’re gettin’ unwound, the stiffness of civilization is leaving your body with the sound of every hoof thudding on the trail. It’s really a feeling like no other. I am grateful I have been so blessed to have experienced those amazing rich feelings so much and so often in my life, and to have seen the almost unbelievable indescribable beauty of the vast Rocky Mountains. When you’re way back into them and you see what never can be seen from a highway, there is “so much” to them. That’s when the mind and the heart whispers together there is a God”, “there has to be a God”, to have created all this, it really is beyond comprehension.
We spent two more days at home riding horses with Randy, he was feeling at home in the saddle more and more, and lookin’ good, I knew he really enjoyed it. It was a great time.
The night before he left he wanted to celebrate. He took Irene and myself out to dinner at the Silver Stream Lodge in the “Narrows” south of our town about five miles right next to the beautiful Salt River. It was a rustic building big heavy timber construction, big rough beams and posts, good food. It’s all history now, burned down to the ground from a “grease fire” in the kitchen. POOF-all gone. Never re-built.
On the menu I saw something that took my interest, 36 ounce sirloin buffalo steak. Randy had said “you can have anything you want”. I had never had buffalo, strange to say in the land of the buffalo, I ordered it.
When the waitress came out carrying that monstrous “thing” Randy literally “roared”…everybody in the whole place looked at our table. In a very loud voice with lots of happy, unabashed gusto he said “PRICE, that fits you perfect, a whole buffalo for a mountain man” WAUGH!! He roared and laughed again, pretty soon we were all laughing it was pretty darn funny. He was feeling good. Definitely unwound. It livened everybody up, in the whole place we had a great time-laughing and reminiscing about the last few days. What a good friend-we enjoyed him so much, and vica-versa. I was so glad he came and that we could have such a great time together-I know he went back ready to ride for that movie. Good, good memories. It took our whole family two more days to eat that steak. It was the best sirloin I have ever had.