This week we will journey back to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
I used to hunt the “Old Trappers Trail.” It was a few years ago that I learned what I suspected for years — my whitetail deer hunting days had come to pass. I was black bear hunting and had not even made it to the first trappers’ cabin when a nice 11-point buck stood broadside of me within 20 yards for at least 10 minutes, and I never lifted my firearm.
Had I taken that buck, I knew it would ruin a really good black bear hunt. First, I would need to field dress him, quarter him up, then get him back to the main cabin, about two miles through steep terrain. Nope, I was black bear hunting.
For the Struttin’ Time readers that may have forgotten just what a trappers’ cabin is, they are little shelters that, back in the day, the hunters and trappers used to get in for a night of two, as they hunted for their furs or meat. They are usually about 10 feet by 10 feet, have a rough bed, a place to cook, and keep warm. On the trail I hunted on there were three such cabins. When you sought shelter, you also found canned food or if you were lucky dried meat, known as jerky. You used what you wanted but left what you brought with you for the next wayfarer. That way the food you found was fresher than what you found. It worked fine.
While the trappers’ cabins are no longer on the trail, the wild animals still are. I have seen all kinds of game on that trail, and have taken wild turkey, deer, and black bear. But like my grandpa used to tell me, things change daily, we just don’t pay much attention to it.
I am always reminded of the words to the old gospel song, “Time has made a change in the old homeplace.” With that in mind, I will retrace for the first time in probably 10 years my footsteps along the “Trappers Trail.” The old-line cabins are now just a memory. Two fell to the ground, and someone burned the other.
The main cabin where I will make my home for a week still stands, and the memories of the fun times spent there will never fade. At my age, this could be my last journey into the Blue Ridge Mountains to hunt. It is a trip that has always provided me with many memories.