Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Breaking away to the Channeled Scablands

The previous week has become a blur, and when I called my mother to say hello early yesterday morning to hear a loving and reassuring voice to tell me that we were doing things correctly with our new Bambino...

I had a feeling....

OMR had broken away.

"Tell Josh he knows where I am", were the words mom told me as to where he was.

Of course, I knew right away. 

The cataclysmic floods of eons ago shaped the land we have run our dogs through for 30 years or more.   Tell people who dont understand the state of Washington that we hunt upland birds here and they look at you like your head is screwed on backward. Isn't Washington the Evergreen State?

Oh, yes...our state is half desert and upland steppe....and there are birds to be chased that are wild and fly as soon as you close the door on your truck.  Challenging? why yes they are

This wide open country is strangely beautiful.  To imagine the volume of water it took to carve this land to shreds  is almost unfathomable.  The Willamette Valley in Oregon can thank us for the topsoil

We hunt the pockets around the rocks and run a circuit that we know so well that when my father and I hunt together, we know where each other are at all times. Our labs Murphy and Dakota know the drill as well as we do and quiver with excitement when we park the truck and load up.  They spring from their cages like a bottle rocket set to go off.

We know where the birds get up

We know their escape routes

We know the angles, the drives, the particular weird anomalies that produce birds.

And yet still, these wild roosters present a hell of a challenge.

Throw in a bit of Hungarian Partridge and Quail for spice and you can have yourself a hell of an upland adventure, just an hour or so from home.

At the end of the day, the phone rings and dad gives the anticipated report.  We always go through this routine when we aren't hunting together.  After all, why not live vicariously through another's actions afield?

I feel like I am right with him as he describes a 3 rooster day and I know exactly where he got the birds.

The cut to the right of the fence line on the "canyon"

Near the old farmhouse, and no...not to the right...the left

At Mike's place, just above the house...

And lastly,  with vivid imagery OMR tells me about the fantastic retrieve that Dakota had on a wounded rooster.  A broken wing brought it down at 40 yards and the lab nailed the bird on a full sprint.  Smiling, she brought it to the feet of my father.

As our baby stirred in my arms, I was right there with him

Soon I will able to join him again, as we continue our quest of wild roosters in the channeled scablands of Eastern Washington

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