First Trip Into the High Country

By Devon Willadsen
Washington, 2010, DIY, Public Land

First Trip Into the High CountryAugust/September 2011 EHJ (Issue 126) - After spending $600 on hunting gear, my friend Justin wasn’t even close to having everything he was going to need for his first hunting trip ever. I loaned him my rifle and some raingear that we knew we would need after watching the weather for the last week. With everything I could think we would need, we loaded the packs and felt ready. We had no idea what was in store for us.

On a previous trip into this area, a buddy and I had seen very little wildlife activity because of all the hiking pressure. On that trip, when we signed into the trailhead there were already 60-plus hikers in the area. However, it looked promising and I wanted to try it again when the weather wasn’t so nice.

On September 16, we loaded my ‘86 Mazda pickup with our packs and crammed Justin, Luke, and me into the cab. We filled up on gas and food for the twohour drive into rainforest country. On the way up, we were jamming to music and talking about how sweet it would be if we all tagged out and that we could have Luke’s dad bring the mules up to pack everything out.

We got to the trailhead around 1 p.m., and after we chugged down some water and took some pictures, we headed up the seven-mile trail to camp. We stopped for lunch/dinner a mile or so from where we camped on my first trip up, had a few cans of chili to lighten our packs, and then made our last ascent to what we thought would be our campsite for the night.

Just before we got to the pass, I spotted a bear. I quickly took a shot at him as he ran off, so we decided to set up camp, change out of our wet clothes and into our raingear, and search for blood. After searching extensively, we found no sign of a hit at all, and as much as I didn’t want to admit it, I had missed that bear.

Devon Willadsen

For a full account of Devon's adventure, go to page 48 in the August/September 2011 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.