Over Labor Day weekend my husband and I found ourselves doing what most people do on that nice long weekend…working. We wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to get some overdue work done on his family cabin. We were blessed with the help of a very special friend of ours and long time hunting and trapping mentor of my husbands. We often refer to him as a real mountain man. He lives off the grid with his wife in the high mountains of Montana. Even though we were working this weekend I was blessed with the chance to take a little side trip grouse hunting with The Mountain Man on opening morning. He showed me all around the area he calls, The Mountain, and shared his deep love for it in his heartfelt stories of each area we passed by. He pointed out where he killed his first grouse when he moved up to the mountain almost 19 years ago. He reminisced about many elk he killed in this spot or that, places he wanted to hunt but had yet to explore, ridges where he sees the big bucks, spots that his friends made successful memories and on and on. Listening to his tales and seeing the most sincere smile on his face cemented in me the love for the mountain I had already begun to develop. We both agreed that no one will ever end their life wishing they had spent more time in the city and less time out in the mountains where we found ourselves. The coolness of the fall breeze and the sharp smell of fall in the air gave me chills…not from being cold because I was not cold, I was toasty warm in my coat and hoodie. As my reddened cheeks glowed out from under that hood and my eyes took in the grander around me I experienced chills knowing that these moments would be logged away in my time card of life as time well spent and I would never regret the couple hours spent exploring and grouse hunting with the mountain man. In fact I know that every chance I get to spend time in the outdoors will never be regretted. I look forward to every one I get. The trip around the mountain and the pleasant conversation would have been more than enough for me but to top it off I also got my first Montana trophy…a nice, fat, blue grouse.
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