Yesterday morning was one of the few occasions that my schedule allowed for me to head out on a deer hunt this season. The added bonus was that my brother-in-law was up, so he and I headed out at around 5:30am to beat the sun to our spot.
We parked the car near the south bank of the river, about 40 feet from a bridge, which naturally crossed to the north side of said river. We geared up, and started to follow the south bank for a hundred yards or so before I remembered that we needed to be on the other side.
“Ah, crap.” Says I. “We should have crossed the bridge back there, we need to be over there.”Mat (Brother in law) grunted. He isn’t a man of very many words first thing in the morning.
“No matter, there’s a place to cross up ahead.”
In the dark, I managed find what looked like a marvelous spot to cross the river. At a bend, the water narrowed to a deep channel, with several attractive rocks sticking out above the surface.
As I shifted my weight to step onto the very first rock, I remembered something. it had rained all night long. Then I remembered something else. Rocks get slippery when they get wet.
“Maybe this isn’t such a great……”
I found myself sitting in the river, which in late November in upstate NY, is full of water which could be described as more than mildly brisk.
In a flash, I stood up and scrambled to the other side, the sounds of Mat’s laughter ringing through the hills enough that I think he may be responsible for us not having seen any deer that morning.
From the waist down, I was sodden. Every layer of clothes I had on was wet, and I could feel an icy rivulet snaking down the natural contours of my lower anatomy and finding its way into my right boot.
SOMEHOW I managed to keep my rifle out of the water, and at this very moment I realize that my holstered pistol was also completely dry…though I’m not sure exactly how….
Soldiering on, I was grateful for the fact that it was nearly forty degrees out, and not the frozen wonderland I had experienced on opening day. My gratefulness degenerated into agony when we reached our spot and I sat still for nearly three hours, allowing the chill plenty of time to seep into all of my lower joints and muscles. Somewhere around 9am, we had to get up and walk so I could shake the tingles of paralysis from my body.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever had the pleasure of peeling off layers of soaking wet clothes, but the misery is real.
To make matters worse, the only living creature I saw that morning was a single squirrel who skittered along the stone wall I was leaning against in pain and misery. We came eye-to-eye for a second, and when he realized I wasn’t part of the tree that he planned on climbing, he shrieked at me in irritation and moved on.
So. For a man that hates cold and wet, I spent (willingly) several hours outside in those exact conditions engaging in a hobby which came to no fruition, then went home and went to work until midnight.
…If anyone can suggest a better, and less uncomfortable way to spend spare time, I’m all ears.