Pack It Up, Pack It In, and Pack It Out

By Jeremy Schaad

Pack It Up, Pack It In, and Pack It OutJeremy Schaad
Wyoming, 2009, DIY, Public Land

At 4:30 a.m., my watch alarm does its duty. After a cold but rapid effort to get into my camo, I am making breakfast. September mornings are chilling in the Wyoming high country. My compact stove screams in the predawn hour to quickly boil a cup of water. As I pour the steaming water into my dehydrated scrambled eggs and bacon, I see the stayfresh pack rise to the top of the eggs. What am I, new? Or just excited? I chuckle as I fish it out with my spoon. As my eggs re-hydrate, I brew a cup of instant coffee. I gaze skyward and see Venus shining brightly among a sea of stars. The sky is as clear as ever and hunting light is an hour away. This morning has finally come; opening day of archery elk.

The day prior I had strapped on my pack and muscled it several miles into a canyon I had scouted weeks earlier. I found elk rubs on trees bigger in diameter than my quads. I shared those photos with Matt and Brian. We anticipated additional scouting trips to add to our list of potential hot spots for elk.

The three of us managed to draw a coveted Wyoming elk area that often separates the road warriors from the backcountry adventurers. We spent the summer refining our gear lists to get in lighter, stay warmer, and eat better. Testing this, a pre-season scouting trip found us catching brook trout with fishing line and hooks from our survival kit since we packed in minimal food. Seasoned with chili mac powder from a dehydrated dinner package, those were the best fish we ever had!

While we shed a few ounces here and there, our planned five-day hunts required packing a 40-pound pack into the backcountry. But when does what you’ve planned actually match what you face once the season starts?

Pack It Up, Pack It In, and Pack It Out

For a full account of Jeremy's adventure, go to page 36 in the January/February 2010 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.