Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Mause Creek Hike

July 6th 2017

Kyles suggested "Test Hike" for my legs. We packed up our packs like we were going on our hunt (just minus the large amount of food and our rifles) and headed out. We parked at the trail head, jumped out of the jeep and got eaten by mosquitoes. We loaded the packs after we sprayed down with bug repellent and we were off.

There was some blow down along the trail..but overall the trail was in really good shape. But the bugs were so bad for the first half of the trail before you really start climbing.I ended up spraying down 4 times on our way up.
Once we got to this point the bugs died down a bit, but there were more horse flies. Poor Onca was going crazy. All the bugs went after him instead of us.
 As soon as he seen the water he was swimming! He loves water, typical lab.

We continued to climb up the mountains on the left side of the saddle
in the picture above. We ended up having to climb up through snow
until we got to the pass. Where more snow awaited us as well as a strong wind. I welcomed the wind and snow and the significant temperature dropped it brought with it.  I dont do very well with heat, and by this point I had a headache starting.
The climb was somewhat steep, but the snow made it easier to go up. By the time we came back down though it was pretty soft from the hot sun which made it quite a bit harder.
Kyle standing on the top of the pass going over to the other side. It was an amazing view. He checked to see what the elevation was there and we were at 7400 ft.
A lot more snow on the other side. A good portion of the trail was snow covered all the way to the tanglefoot lakes. So we hung out up top of the pass for a while. Relaxed...I went exploring with Onca and Kyle had a nap on the trail.
Looking back at the trail while on my exploration.

I was actually surprised Onca came with me. He is the type of dog that takes the EXACT same trail you take when he is following you. When I left the trail to come over to this ridge, I took the rocks instead of the snow because I don't trust whats under the snow. He followed me through the rocks and got scared! He froze up and was shaking. I tried to give him a nudge to get him to keep going and he was like a statue. So Kyle tried calling him back and he still wouldn't move. Eventually I was able to help him get through it and he went back up to Kyle, but he didn't want to leave me. So he came down through the snow and joined me lol.
We eventually made our way back to Kyle and he made the call to turn around and go back down to the spring and meadow, and that's where we would camp.
We put the tent up and threw our sleeping pads inside then decided to have something to eat. We have been playing with our own meals to eat while out in the backcountry, rather then the typical Mountain Houses and this was the perfect time to try them out.
After dinner Kyle went in the tent to have a nap and I hung out with Onca and just relaxed. I have a hard time napping during the day.
Kyle was napping...and Onca was going crazy from the bugs so he decided it would be a good idea to sit on me. He is 80lbs...and does not fit on my lap easily...but he managed to get everything but one foot on me. See picture below

Eventually Kyle woke up and realized I wasnt in the tent and
started telling me to come lay down and relax. I figured it would give Onca a break from the bugs too. Even though Onca had the whole tent and there were no bugs inside...he insisted on sleeping on me.

After a bit Kyle decided that there was just way too much time between now and night time...and the fact we had to pick up the kids by 10am...to justify staying up there overnight. I was bummed but happy I wouldn't have to get up at 5am lol. 

So we packed everything back up and made our way back down the mountain. It was a good test for my legs, which never gave me an issue, and for testing our food ideas and to brainstorm how to help me stay cool when its hot.

We were also able to test some of the new gear we have acquired and decide if there is anything that needs to be changed.

If you are curious how hot it was, look below. That is the temperature when we got back into town at 8:30pm. Where we had the tent set up it was probably 30 degrees still, on the other side where all the snow was, it was more like 20-25 degrees.

Monkey wrench in the biggest hunt of my life...

July 11th, 2017

 At the end of the month we are heading north to hunt Stone Sheep with a couple of friends. This will be my first real backpack hunt. While I have gone for one night to two nights, this hunt will be 11 days all by backpack. This will also be Kyles first long term backpack trip as well. To say we are excited, is an understatement. As some of you know Kyle was fortunate to hunt Dall Sheep in Alaska last year thanks to the Wild Sheep Foundations <1 Club, where he won the hunt, so he has graciously given me first shot on our trip.

As always, something fun or of good fortune seems to come with a little bit of bad luck....

For about a year now I have been having problems with my calves when I run. I never really thought much of it, just that perhaps my legs weren't use to the running. This year however, it has been getting worse. So I finally went to the doctor...she wasn't too concerned, but also wasn't sure what it could be. My calves only hurt when I would run, not when she manipulated the muscle, pulled on my leg, flexed my foot or squeezed the muscle. To give you an idea of what its like, the muscle gets really tight and then if I dont rest after and I keep running then the pain comes. It doesn't matter how fast or slow I run or how far, the pain always comes and then I can barely walk. If I can rest after before moving onto another exercise then I can continue on with the next exercise, but if there is no rest I cant even lift a barbell. I have a pretty high pain tolerance as well, but it has brought me to tears it's so painful. So the first step was a blood pressure test. She figured nothing would come of it because I was young, in shape and I don't drink or smoke. Basically it was to rule out things on her mental checklist. So I went to do the blood pressure testing and again the gentleman that did the testing scoffed at the idea of having to do this test on me and repeated the same words my doctor did. The test wasn't uncomfortable at all. I had to lay still for 10 minutes then he put blood pressure cuffs on both arms and on both calves and feet. Then it continues on like any blood pressure check and after it prints out the results. While he was removing the cuffs the results printed, he checked them and made the remark that they were interesting...uh oh...that's never a good thing. The blood pressure in my arms were at 107 and 109, which I expected- Ive always had a lower blood pressure. The pressure in my legs were at 125, while still within a normal range- was still alarming with the difference. Right away he says no more running, and that he had to apply quite a bit of pressure to even get a reading! But he said I had good circulation...this WAS a shock to me because I have always had very cold feet before any of this mess started.
No more running- no problem! That was easy. He said it had the characteristics of compartment syndrome, again not a shock for me to hear- I had been researching it before I made the doctors appointment and was prepared to hear it. What I was left with for the next 2 weeks was wondering what the blood pressure results would mean for me.

Two weeks later I had my follow up with my doctor. She wasted no time in breaking the news. She had talked with Dr.Chan ( one of the top sports medicine/surgeons in Canada, who also is a local Dr.) about my results, 4-6 weeks of rest to start with. That meant NO running, vigorous swimming or rowing, and no jumping...I was shocked. I was allowed to weight-lift still...but that wasn't going to help me with my cardio. My sheep hunt is in 4 weeks...I broke the news to her...she wasn't overly happy to hear we would be backpacking for 11 days in the mountains. She said she wasn't going to tell me I wasn't allowed to go but wanted me to rest my calves for the 4 weeks, then after my hunt we would re-evaluate. I was also told I would be going for a bone scan...which I found out today will be the 17th of August. Depending on the results of my rest and the scan will determine if I need to see Chan for more testing.

As you can probably imagine, this has scared Kyle...and made him question if I should even be coming now on the trip. I tried to reassure him that its only when I run that I have any pain and that as long as I rest when needed I will be OK. He still wasn't convinced....and to be honest I don't think he is sure even today. So he suggested we do a test run...a backpack overnight locally. So we went up Mause Creek.

For those that don't know what Compartment Syndrome is, it is increased pressure within one of the body's compartments which contains muscles and nerves. Compartment syndrome most commonly occurs in compartments in the leg or arm. There are two main types of compartment syndrome: acute and chronic.
Acute compartment syndrome occurs after a traumatic injury such as a car crash. The trauma causes a severe high pressure in the compartment which results in insufficient blood supply to muscles and nerves. Acute compartment syndrome is a medical emergency that requires surgery to correct. If untreated, the lack of blood supply leads to permanent muscle and nerve damage and can result in the loss of function of the limb.
Chronic exertional compartment syndrome is an exercise-induced condition in which the pressure in the muscles increases to extreme levels during exercise. The pressure creates a decrease in blood flow to the affected area which leads to a deprivation of oxygen to the muscles. The symptoms are a sensation of extreme tightness in the affected muscles followed by a burning sensation if exercise is continued. Chronic exertional compartment syndrome can develop in anyone, but it's more common in athletes who participate in activities that involve repetitive impact, such as running.
Chronic exertional compartment syndrome may respond to non-operative treatment and activity modification. If non-operative treatment doesn't help, your doctor might recommend surgery. Surgery is successful for many people, and might allow you to return to your sport.

So you can probably guess which one I have, which can only be verified by a compartment test. This test is done by sticking needles in the affected muscle to measure the pressure while exercising...if my rest doesn't help, this will be one of the tests Dr.Chan will be doing. I hate needles....so you can probably guess how excited I am about that thought.

All in all....this isn't a pity post (although I am pouting inside lol) but more of an informative one, I guess. Or maybe just a way for me to get it off my chest...I'm not sure. Either way, this hunt is a big deal to both Kyle and I...and if I am able to get a ram...it will be all the more special, having done it when there is so much doubt...


Thursday, June 1, 2017

First Archery Shoot for 2017

Our first archery shoot of the year was on April 22-23. Unfortunately Kyle had to work and missed most of it, but he came out and did 1 round. Saturday we did a round with friends then I ran Kyle back to town so he could get ready for work and went back with the kids to keep shooting. Unfortunately I didnt realize that they had changed the required number of rounds you had to do. It used to be 5 rounds over the 2 days, now it is 3 rounds over the 2 days. So the kids and I did 3 rounds the first day and 2 rounds the second day. The first day we shot pretty decent, with the exception of the last round- that was a nightmare and it didnt help we were both tired. Pheonix and I were shooting for scores. The last course we did was labeled A course and it was tough. The shots were shots you would never take while hunting, they were all very far distances for the kids with tricky shots for them as well. By the end of A loop, Pheonix was in tears and beaten down. She had no confidence left and I kept telling her to keep her chin up and try not to worry about it. It was a relief when we were done and able to head home. We were all exhausted mentally and physically. But tomorrow was a new day and we would be refreshed and ready to go.

The next day we both shot really well, much better then the day before....but to our dismay the scores didnt count. It was still good practice either way. At the end of the weekend Pheonix and I both placed 2nd in our divisions. Pheonix will only have this year left as a mini cub. Right now she shoots a Diamond Prism with fingers and no sights (we put a sight on it and tried to teach her to use it but shes having some troubles adjusting and just shoots how she always has- by instinct).

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Solo Spring Black Bear

Its been a slow spring for us getting out to do some hunting. We had a huge snowfall, followed with endless amounts of rain this spring. I got out a few times to look for antlers with the kids, once by myself for turkey and really that was it. It was May 10 and the weather was finally getting beautiful and I figured it would be the perfect day to go out to look for a bear. I decided to go after I picked the kids up from school instead of trying to squeeze a hunt in before they were out at 3.

I picked them up and we went home to get our stuff together. They complained the whole time because they wanted to go to the park- i told them too bad. I needed to get out after being trapped in the house all winter with a bad back and then with the endless rain. I decided to go out to our favourite spot for bear and check our little honey hole first. A friend I took out last year had missed a tank of a bear in the same spot and I figured it would be a good place to check out first. We got out there by 5:00 pm and started slowly making our way through the bush roads. On one stretch of road we came across a painted turtle, hanging out on the road. So we pulled over and helped him get across to where he was going. Our little honey hole is just a very short, very old bush road that leads to a grown in landing and massive clear cut. I pulled into the mouth of the road and stopped to check the wind, it was blowing right into the clearing. The wind always seems to blow in the wrong direction in this area but the road goes along a little ways before it drops into a dip and turns a corner to the clearing. So i drove in a little farther keeping an eye as far down into the dip that I could see. Eventually I seen a small patch of black, so I stopped and put my binos up to take a look- it was furry. So I put the truck in park and said to the kids that there was a bear in the clearing. Pheonix right away was sitting on her window with her binos looking at the bear, repeating to me, "Mom its a good bear!"

I turned the truck off and told Easton to stay in the truck and be quiet, he was more than happy too. After-all, the little monster refused to wear any other footwear then his flip flops, but I did make him pack his gumboots. I got out of the truck and got my rifle ready and told Pheonix to jump out with me. She has never been on a stalk with me other then for grouse so she was excited. I gave her the camera and showed her how to use it so she could video it all for the show. She was very determined but her footsteps were pretty loud. I kept turning to her to remind her to walk lightly, but i knew it was hard while holding the camera so I didn't worry to much. We slowly crept up the road until we got to where the road dropped, I couldn't see the bear and I was worried he had heard us and took off up the bank into the trees. So I quickened our pace until I caught a glimpse of him around the corner, he had no clue we were there, he was just milling around feeding on green grass. We went to the right side of the road where the bank dropped, I got set up on a root-ball as a rest and I told Pheonix to stay just behind me. I was all set and ready, I watched him through my scope waiting for the perfect shot. He was a good bear, and had a beautiful coat on him. He eventually started to walk back on to the road and stopped to sniff something in the dirt, so I took my shot. It was a perfect shot at less than 100 yards. It went right behind his shoulder and took out the far one. I watched him rear up and spin a few times while I was re-loading my 300 wsm. I watched him take a few steps and I put my rifle up again, but once I had it up he disappeared. So i stood up and turned to look at Pheonix. She was vibrating with excitement, and was the first to say anything. She whispered loudly too me, "Did you see him spin!!!" and she never stopped talking all the way back to the truck. She wanted to go get him right away, but I told her no we should go back to the truck and Easton and give him some time. Little did I realize that she had watched him drop right after he took his 3 big steps. But I still wanted to be sure. So we walked back to the truck and Easton was asking if we got him, he was all excited asking if we could go see him. I decided to drive the truck down to the clearing much to Pheonixs dismay, I made her ride in the truck instead of running down the road like she wanted. As we drove down, I seen a black thing laying only 10 yards from where I shot him. I made the kids stay in the truck while I checked to make sure he was dead and there weren't any other bears hanging out in the clearing. When I gave the Ok, they both jumped out excited to see him. Then the hard worked started...i now had to skin and quarter the beast by myself, and his hide was so nice that I wanted to rug him. I'm not a good skinner...unfortunately lol...but I tried my best to skin him out good and tried to keep it somewhat symmetrical. I was glad to have Pheonix with me, she held a leg here and there for me or pulled on the hide to help me skin it. He was heavy, I can lift 240 pounds off the ground and I had troubles rolling him- I had the kids help me roll him over. After 2.5 hours of skinning and field dressing, I finally had him in the truck and we were headed home. The kids were just buzzing the whole way home, asking if we could go out again the next day for a bear. I just laughed and told them we wouldn't be able too- I needed to deal with this bear and buy my second tag before we could head out again. The next day Pheonix was still pretty pumped and dressed in head to toe camo for school, I took the meat to the butcher and measured the head and hide. My skinning job wasn't as good as I had hoped, so i will probably just have him dry tanned. But he was a 6 foot bear and his head was a green score of 17 1/2".

Although I go out on my own a lot or with the kids, this was the first time I got an animal on the ground. Kyle was at work in Sparwood which was 3 hours away, Pheonix made sure to text him from my phone to rub it in a little bit. I was pretty proud of myself being able to do everything on my own with 2 kids in tow. It may have taken me a looooong time and I couldn't move the rest of the night because my hips hurt so bad, but I was pretty happy. Not bad for my first trip out for bear and being the first bear of the season! 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Family Ice Fishing

Ever since I could remember, I have LOVED fishing. Growing up we used to have family ice fishing trips all the time in the winter and in the summer months i was casting off shore or sitting in a boat with my dad. My last ice fishing trip when I lived at home was with my Nana and Grandpa and Papa Pico, I was 17. I was up at 4am, wide awake and ready to roll when they picked me up. It was cold..and the bite was slow, but I wouldn't have had it any other way....

Fast forward a few years...

I now get to enjoy the same family tradition with my kids and husband. Both kids love fishing. Easton prefers the summer months to fish in where he gets to cast and reel in, Pheonix loves both kinds of fishing. Whether they are fishing or playing while Kyle and I fish, they still have a lot of fun. Sometimes we get used to just watch the rods and when a fish is on the kids take over. I have found it is a lot more watching them catch the fish then yourself.

Winter doesnt have to be cold, miserable and boring.  Grab some fishing rods, chairs and a wood stove and get out on the ice and have some fun.

Oudoor Adventures with Jayson Podcast Interview

I had the pleasure of chatting with Jayson on his podcast last month. You can hear it here at:

Ladies Hunts in Spain

Spain is a beautiful, history rich country. The people are very friendly, the scenery is amazing, and their is a high population of animals to hunt. A trip to Spain is never a waste of time! I had the amazing fortune of hunting in Spain in 2015 and I hope to do it again! My friends Daniel and Alba own the outfitting business Trophy Trails and have given me some amazing women's only pricing to pass on to any ladies interested.
There are a wide range of animals to choose from at varying prices.
- Gredos Ibex
- Beceite Ibex
- Ronda Ibex
- Sierra Nevada Ibex
- Barbary Sheep
- Red Stag
- Balerian Boc
- Pyrenean Chamois
- Cantabrian Chamois

You can also do combo hunts, or go for the Spanish Ibex Slam!
If you are interested in pricing or more info, please email me and I can get you the information!