The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina are tall and beautiful when the leaves are changing, and they are straight up and down.
It is a place where the “Great Spirit” dwells and where you can see for miles, hear not one motorcycle, and think about where you have been and where you are going. It is a place that time has forgotten and a place where danger is at every turn.
As I sat in a tree stand this past week — for five whole days, from before daylight until after dark — I found myself once again. I refreshed my soul and made sure I was a peace not only with myself, my surroundings and the people I know, but with my God. I left the Blue Ridge Mountains a different person than when I arrived.
The rain never stopped for a minute the whole trip, and the only “things” stupid enough to be in the mountains were the members of my hunting party. We were wet but we were hunting, and hunting in the cabin is not an option. I never saw another living thing my whole trip, except on Friday when a small button buck walked by. I’m telling you this, because after all these years hunting the Blue Ridge Mountains this was our final trip.
I want to remember this trip just like it was. No sugar coating, just the facts. It was a terrible trip but a trip that had to be taken. The only way to get around was on foot because the guide’s truck was stuck. From the cabin at the foot of the mountain to the top was, according to my GPS, a distance of four thousand feet, uphill. Once we reached the top, there was another half-mile of walking, this time on level ground, before we could rest. And there was my stand.
Nothing was like it should have been. The outfitter had not done his job, the weather was terrible, and North Carolina Department of Fish and Wildlife had given themselves a 33 percent raise on non-resident hunting licenses. We live in a tough-enough world right now. Excluding this hunt should make life a little more livable.