“They’re going to try and get Jeremiah a ram head,” Jue said to the girls over a glass of wine on Saturday night.
I didn’t choke on my beer too hard. I had rather suspected that was the mission, even though Jeremiah had told me they were after deer.
Their west coast hunt started with an interesting cultural experience. Across that lake is a colony of conservative Christians, the Gloriavale community, whose land one must cross to access DOC land beyond. They hold the gate key, so to get to the lands beyond, you must meet the leaders and walk through the compound where the clothes are home made, the families are enormous, everyone works together onsite in the various business ventures. No one is paid; all money goes into the church. Mark, one of Jeremiah’s hunting buddies, wants to return to see one of the group’s theater performances…. Not me. That pings too close to a former life.
The valley they walked up has a river but no trails. At this time of year the crossings are swift snow melt. Campbell (one of the threesome) does back country search and rescue, so he gave the team some tutelage in the craft of river crossings. Jeremiah was almost smug about his new knee-high waterproof socks, but after one “balls high” crossing even his feet were soggy.
Soggy is the name of the game in west coast hunting, where the annual rain fall is measured in meters. That does make for impressive tree ferns….
And difficult fires. They got one going in the end, using kindling cut from the insides of dead wood. Look at that bonfire–perfect pentagon with precision kindling. They’re all engineers.
One guy snores, one farts, and the other one wants some peace. Three dudes, three tents.
Mark looks like a hobbit against that tree, doesn’t he?
“Wow,” I say, admiring the hunt photos. “What kind of tree is THAT?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Jeremiah admits. “A big one.” So I can’t tell you what exactly to admire…maybe a silver beech? Or Mark’s Aussie/Kiwi bushman style?
Remarkably, they didn’t come back with any dead animal trophies. They shot a sheep, a black one, but apparently it wasn’t impressive enough to bring back the head. Probably had no horns. They brought back some meat though, which we will enjoy.