Our Tex Creek Home at the end of the 11 mi driveway
Thursday, October 24, 2002 Low 26.8 High 56.2
We’ve got snow at the east end of the WMA on top of Dave’s Mountain, drop down 200 ft in elevation and nary a flake. Further off to the east there appears to be quite an accumulation of the white stuff. The Teton’s are definitely white.
The days and the work are now quite different, I’ve just Friday, Sat., & Sunday and we’re all done. Yesterday we had a going away dinner not just for us but everybody still working. It was a nice event and the only way it could have been better would be to have all of the wives present. It is hard this time of year with them working and everybody jockeying their schedules for elk season. Soon nobody will be here except Terry when he comes in to check things out either with a snowmobile, 4X4 pickup or I imagine even the Tucker “Snowcat”.
Sally has been busy packing & sorting and sorting & packing. I’ve got the truck ready and tomorrow I’ll start packing the camper with the important stuff, hunting & fishing equipment. After that we’ll see what we have room for, if you know what I mean?
We’ve still got cattle roaming the WMA and I guess they will be after I’m gone. If we had room we’d put one in a freezer and take him home with us.
I just got done giving Aimee her last Tex Creek bath, I’m sure she’s thankful for that. She hates them until just before I’m done then she starts playing around just like a kid. Afterward she is a holy terror for about an hour.
Friday, October 25th, 2002 Low 18 High 52
Not much doing today, we went into Idaho Falls to fill up the truck with fuel and say good-by to the gals and Terry at the Fish & Game office. Terry suggested we leave Sunday because of a storm coming in Monday. Sally & I thought that we could arrange that into our schedule.
Tonight we’re going over to Walt & Sue’s for a grouse dinner and tomorrow night they’re coming over to Tex Creek to have dinner with us, it is going to be leftovers including coconut cream pie which I know Walt loves. In the meantime we continue packing and of course we have a little vociferous conversation as we are doing that. It seems to me that for nobody collecting anything this summer we have got a few extra things. She made 2 quilts and of course we both got some clothes and we now have more foodstuffs, including “Chokecherry” jelly & syrup than we had when we came out. Add to that some odds & ends of utensils & etc and the little camper is extremely full.
Also today we did the “Cloward’s & Kepp’s Patrol” while we were coming back from town. That way we or I could say it had been done even if it was with out own vehicle.
Saturday October 26th, 2002 Low 23 High 61.2 sunny, blue skies and beautiful big cumulus clouds with the threat of winter on the way.
Another great day at Tex Creek you’d never believe that there was a major storm watch forecast for the first of the week. Aimee & I did the per functionary patrols knowing full well that this would be the last time for the “Cove Creek” and “Meadowcreek” patrol. I did talk to some elk and moose hunters and answered a couple questions for some others and saw NO trespassing cattle. I knew they were there but were out of site just over a hill or down in a ravine. So we went back to continue packing and get ready for Walt & Sue who were coming over for dinner. We had an enjoyable time as we reminisced about the summer and talked about what this winter might bring.
Sunday October 27th, 2002 Low 17 High ???????
Another great looking day spitting a little bit of snow and then clearing up and the sun would shine with the promise of a great day. Aimee, the dog, knew something was up and was on edge as we continued to make preparations for departure. Things were going quite well and I told Sally about 1 PM that I was going to make my last Indianfork patrol. When I got to the “elk trap” there were cattle all over the place. I could see the purple ear tags which meant they were Stucki’s and all of a sudden 3 riders on horseback came up out of the creek bed and I could see it was Gaylen with his son Jake and son in law Troy (I think)
They’d gathered all of their cattle and were taking them home. I told Gaylen that for an ugly old coot he sure looked good today with all of them cattle. We talked for a few minutes and then we said our final good-byes.
As we left for our destinations, Aimee & I for Tex Creek and the Stucki’s for their ranch Aimee just sat with her head out the window whining as if she knew this was it for us and these patrols. At the time I had dry eyes but now remembering the tears well up. I know that if God wants us to we’ll be back next year, but you sure do wonder sometimes don’t you?
Sally & I finished packing about 3:30 and on the way out I just had to check the well pump generator 1 more time, locked the gate and left.
We were excited as we headed east towards Jackson Hole and Yellowstone. Trent had told us how the animals just flocked to Mammoth Hot Springs this time of year and we wanted to see them. As we entered Teton Nat. Park there was no attendant and up the road there was nobody for Yellowstone either. By then it was getting dark and all of the RV parks were closed for the season too. We’d planned on getting a park map at the entrance booths but of course we couldn’t. We didn’t know where the hot springs were at exactly so we headed for “Old Faithful” nothing was open. So we pulled off into a corner of the 1500 to 2500 car parking lot and proceeded to go to bed. About 9:30 a knock at the door and a female park ranger was telling us that we couldn’t “camp”. We tried to reason with her but she said no one can sleep anyplace in the park in an RV except at a designated park and they were all closed. She didn’t want us to get hurt by any wild animal. I felt like telling her I was more worried about 2-legged animals than I was the 4-legged variety. If we’d known all of that stuff we’d done it just a little bit differently. As it was we left the park and went out the east entrance towards Cody Wyo, I for one was vowing NEVER to spend a dollar unnecessarily inside any Nat. Park again. So we came out of Wyoming a completely different way than what we had planned.
We went out the east entrance at Cody, Wyo. And headed south to get out of the snow, down to I-80 at Cheyenne for the evening.
October 29, 2002 Low 30’s most of the day
Woke up about 4 AM saw about 4 inches of snow and said let’s go. then east into Nebraska where we ran out of snow just about the border and then had a tail wind all the way to Walcott, Iowa where we stopped for a well-earned rest. As we ran through Neb. & Iowa Sally kept commenting about the color of the leaves, especially the hard Maples and the vibrant red hues that were missing out in Idaho.
October 30th , 2002
There was no further excitement on the way home until we entered the busy metropolis of Hesperia and started seeing friends and children and other relatives.
Each day brings us together with friends that we haven’t seen since we left last spring, which is why anybody comes home.
November 7th, 2002 Low 21 partly cloudy
We survived the election, we can’t say that we are happy with the final tally but we’ll live with it. We voted so that now if we feel like it we can complain all we want.
Also we found out that with all of your help our prayers for Mari JO Isanhart and Brian Lamy have been answered. They are both on the mend.
From one crisis to another now our fellow church member and friend Dan Tilley has been diagnosed with a lung cancer and is given about one year. Please add him to your lists.
We got a nice letter from my cousin Jeanette in Virginia Falls Va. area, and she and her husband are thankful for her brother Brian’s recovery as well as the capture of the snipers. She said the vacant malls are now filled with people again and their lives may continue on. She also mentioned that she and her husband love venison and are buying it at a gourmet store. If I told you how much they paid for it you all would head out there with a deer or two. (about $30.00 a pound)
I think it is amazing the differences in each state of the United States. Back here in Michigan we are not worried about the quantity of water, only the quality. In Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Texas, New Mexico and many others they are worried about the quantity of water.
Sunday, November 10, 2002 Low 38 High 59
Almost spring like weather as I write this, with gently falling rain and the bright green grass. It is hard to believe that whitetail deer season is just a week away. This year I’ve been invited down towards Nashville, MI. Right down where the large corn and soybean fed bucks are congregated, just for me I hope. It is amazing how life’s priorities change through the years. When I was first married back in the 60’s there was NO time or money for hunting. The desire was there but things just never seemed to work out. Then the move from Pontiac, MI to Fremont, MI and pheasant, grouse and deer hunting became more available to me. Here near Fremont deer were rampant and quite available even if it was just after work in the evenings or on Saturday. Then becoming self-employed, hunting again took a back seat as people didn’t make appointments for cars being towed or emergency breakdowns.
Then the deaths of many friends that were also hunting buddies and again hunting took a seat even further back in priorities. Not only that hunting has changed through the years. It used to be you could go out to your favorite stand, with permission, and sooner or later your deer would show up then everybody started selling there farms, subdividing and/or posting with no permission given. The ones that do hunt put up shanties where they have all of the comforts of home (even TV in some) set in there ALL day and then say THERE ARE NO DEER. Deer don’t move in the day unless they’re being pushed by somebody walking around and nobody is walking around anymore.
This year down on Jack DeGroot’s farm I’m told it is more like the way it used to be. I sure do hope so, not so much for the kill but for the camaraderie of the other hunters.
Wednesday, November 20, 2002 Low 21 High anybody’s guess. Clear, sunny and rain mixed with snow forecast for today.
November 15th was the opening of deer season and what an opener it was for me! As I mentioned I was downstate at Mr. & Mrs. Jack Degroot’s, near Nashville, MI. I thought I’d seen it all through my years of hunting in Michigan and other states.
We (Dan, J.D., Brian, Tom) were at the Degroot’s lovely home, which borders the hunting grounds. His acreage is basically swampland with neighbors farms bordering 2 sides and county roads on the other 2 sides. He has through the years built 9 blinds all-capable of holding at least 2 adults comfortably. I believe 5 of them even have heat whether it be kerosene or propane heaters. Old swivel type office and or recliners are in each blind and really quite comfortable for “ROUGHING IT”. I was shocked at how many deer I saw opening day. I lost count somewhere over a hundred and I know I saw somewhere between 2 and 300 hundred deer. Now some of them I probably saw several times so I can safely say I saw 200 deer. I did see 7 bucks and I missed 3. I know that you can’t believe that I could miss such a large animal but I did. I missed 2 with a shotgun and 1 with a handgun and I’m the guy that thought he couldn’t miss.
While hunting everybody is to stay in their blind and not walk around except for field dressing your harvested animal. At night then they take a tractor and trailer and pick the bucks up. Six deer were harvested the first day and all of them large bodied bucks with heavy antlers. I was amazed at how healthy and of the size of each animal. Being in prime farmland the animals have their choice of several grains such as corn, soybeans, buckwheat, sorghum, wheat plus samples out of everybody’s garden and orchard along with the acorns, hickory nuts grasses and other goodies of the land.
The Degroot’s were very gracious hosts and told us to make ourselves at home which we did. I listened as they told of their family and the 3 sets of twin grandbabies born in 1 year. Their daughters live in the area and the son lives up north of Grand Rapids with his family. While we were there they also got the “Sky Angel” satellite hooked up so that Southern Gospel Music was available 24 hours a day on Gospel Music Television Network. That was almost worth the trip alone.
The food was great with Jack’s beef & noodles, Dan’s chili, Sally’s goulash and Judy’s (Degroot) turkey dressing, salad, Jell-O and apple pie which Jack tried to sabotage but failed at, thank you Lord.
In one of my phone calls home I found out the furnace wasn’t working in our trailer and Sally said everything is all froze up. Joe (son-in-law) checked and found out both propane tanks were empty and hooked up our little 20# tank for some heat to get things thawed. Sunday night I tossed and turned and then went hunting in the morning for a while. Nerves got the best of me and I headed home about 9 AM so I could see what damage if any was done to the water system of the trailer. Luckily there was only 1 leak and that was easily taken care of.
So we are getting everything to get back on the road come the 3rd of December. I’m told we’ll be following Ken & Betty Baker towards Florida
We hope your fall season is as pleasant and colorful as ours has been
Love to all,
Darrell, Sally & Aimee (dawg)