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I read an article some twenty plus years ago about a place where the game birds were thick and the canyons high! Where deer ate from your hand while you chose which one to shoot! Being new to the state I had to go and take a look at a place like this. Thus began my love affair with the Snake river area of Washington.

Deep within the canyon walls I found whitetail and mule deer, pheasant and quail and chuckar, but the river presented a boundry I could not cross at the time. So for the first few years I found myself looking across the river when I would go there and dreaming about the riches I would find there.

As things go, I eventually bought a boat and was able to explore what was waiting for me there. I hiked canyons I found with the ease of youth and built a lfetime of memories within those canyon walls. I enjoy watching my children hike those same canyons with the same ease I used to. I now find it hard just looking up on the walls of the canyon, let alone climbing hand over hand to get up there.

Life's a transition we all go through, and for some it is not as smooth as it is for others. But I have been blessed with 4 children who have been a joy to watch grow up. But sometimes it is hard watching them have to go through tough climbs they encounter along the way, and sometimes it is hard to watch them only because you realize that you will miss some great adventure they will have when you are gone!

My youngest daughter has just started High School this year. She is growing up so fast and passing through so many of lifes transitions it is hard to keep track of all of them. Her and I have spent weeks alone in the canyon walls of the Snake exploring what it would show us. We made ice cream on the valley floor by rolling a ball along the grass and caught fish from the waters below the boat.



This year she accepted the duty of bringing the boat up the river by herself to our camping area. We have to launch it down river and then run a few miles up to where we camp. The truck is brought along steep dugout dirt roads to camp. I know her mom was not happy about this and was concrened about the prospects. Its her brothers boat and all he said was "Its insured!"



What he knows as do I is that Amanda has grown up hunting and camping with us and has obtained a certain confidence that would allow her to do this. Even so it was great to look far below and see the boat at our camping place as I rounded the last turn in the road allowing me to see the river. It was also great to hear in her voice over the radio the joy she expressed of accomplishing a task allowing her to transition further along in her life.

This last trip could very well be the last time I find myself there among the canyon walls. And if this is the last year then it will have ended on a great note! We caught fish and harvested a couple of deer and had fun in each others company. But my son has read an article about a place where the deer are as big as horses and their antlers stretch to the sky. He is wanting to move on and give this new place a try. And since I am not against seeing what is around the next bend in the river I think I may have to go with him and see what we might find.




We are pretty sure the small deer the cart was going to be used for weighed less than the cart! My daughter said I could not post a pic of the deer because it was so small. Yes I said but it will be very tasty!


On a small buck like this it is always hard to place the third point on it making it legal, especially when looking at it from a boat.

I wonder though if I have another 20 years to devote to learning this new place. Will it have what it takes to draw us back year after year. Will the old Snake river wonder where we have gone when we do not show up in the fall? How about the friends we have greeted each year for so many years? Will they wonder where we have gone?

I am sure new adventures are waiting for us in this new place. And for my son, I hope he will be able to watch his soon to arrive baby daughter learn to gather wood for the fire. Watch as she shoots her first deer and catches her first fish. Perhaps if I am lucky, Olivia will give her grandpa a hug and bring him some hot coco when I can no longer hike the hills with the others but rather just sit by the fire and watch lifes transitions. Perhaps I will live long enough to see this all happen again!
 

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Great write-up, thanks for posting.

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