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Finally, the time was here. It was fall break, and I had nothing to do but sit around and enjoy life. This area was covered with dirt, and no matter how hard I tried, I would get filthy. I couldn't wait to get home to take a nice shower. Even though it was so dungy, it was a nice place to sit around and clear my mind.
In the middle of September, my mother and I would go to the store to buy tons of food for hunting camp. At last, after being at the store for hours, we would be on our way to Black Mesa to meet my dad and my brothers. Hunting camp was the highlight of my year. For five years, we would go to the exact same campsite.
At this campsite, the air was fresh, the sun was out, and all I could hear was the beautiful sound of the calm river flowing downstream. Our camp was setup right next to the clear stream. My brothers and I would always throw rocks and sticks into the river. We loved to watch the huge fish jump far above the water, and dive back in head first.
We never stayed in a tent because of all the moisture that the river would give off. In the mornings, when we did stay in the tent, my family and I would wake up feeling drenched with water. We had a new camp trailer that was big enough to fit five people. The trailer was white with a maroon stripe going down the side. It had a huge dining table that turned into a double bed. There was a bunk bed, which also has departments in for different storage. There was a hallway that lead to a king size bed where my parents slept. All of the sheets are grungy from all the dirt that was brought into the trailer.
In the mornings, I could feel the moisture of the cold air from the inside of the camp trailer. Every morning, my dad would wake up to go hunting. My nostrils would fill from the luscious smell of the brew from the freshly made coffee that my mom would make for my. Dad would always take my brothers hunting with him. Mom and I called them the three mighty hunters.
At about 9:00 every morning, my mom and I would start to cook breakfast for the boys.
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While waiting for the boys to get back, I would get a horrifying feeling in my stomach.
"Did they get something?" "Did a bear find them?" I was always so nervous. I would just sit in front of the campfire waiting impatiently for their return. The sun would gleam on my rosy cheeks as I sat there. Looking at all of the green around me would always bring a smile to my face. Even though Hotchkiss had beautiful plants, they never seemed to be as gorgeous as the plant growth in Black Canyon. There were so many different types, I never had a favorite. I could hear the blissful birds chirping in the blue, clear sky. If I was lucky, the birds would be interrupted by the call of an elk shouting out to the cows. I loved that noise! Every time I heard it, I would go get my mom in the camp trailer so she could hear the large animals call from nature.
After hours of waiting for my brothers and my dad, they finally returned to camp. They were filthy with mud from the four-wheeler flicking it up onto their faces. They were usually wet from the moisture of all the plantation that they would walk into. I could tell that they were tired because they were always out of breath.
We would take our breakfast outside, and, as a family, we would sit around the campfire. The lawn chairs that we would sit on were so uncomfortable. They were starting to rip on the bottom. Every time that my dad would get back from a hunt, he would tell the whole hunt from start to finish. Every hunt consisted of, "Jonathan needs to learn how to walk quietly. Learn to pick up your feet son." All those two would do was complain. Jonathan would reply, "That was Jesse, not me." Nag, nag, nag!
In the early afternoon, my dad would let me take the four-wheeler out for a spin. I would start up the engine, and hear the loud roar that the machine made. I shifted in high gear, and was on my way for an adventure. I would drive about 25 mph, just enough for the chilly wind to blow through my hair. Every so often, a bug would hit my face; I hated that feeling. It felt as if a tiny pebble whacked me on my cheek. As I drove, I couldn't believe the gorgeous forest scene that laid directly in front of me. As I looked in the trees, I could see horns from a buck, and his doe wondering around him.
I knew that I had to get back because my dad needed to start his afternoon hunt. When I got back, my dad, surprisingly, asked me to come along instead of the boys. I was hesitant at first, but I knew that if I went, I could see a lot of different parts of nature. I put on a camouflage suit, and covered my face with dark paint. My stomach was tangled in knots. I was so excited to be apart of hunting. A lot of girls don't hunt, but I wanted to be one of the few that did. I wanted to learn all of the techniques of hunting from my dad.
We started off toward the top of the mountain on the four wheeler. My dad said that there were big elk on the top. After a few miles, we got off the four wheeler, and started walking into the deep, dark forest. The sun was starting to set, and the breeze was getting more frigid. I had two long sleeve shirts on and a huge jacket to keep me warm.
Fifteen minutes into the walk, I heard a loud bugle directly in front of us. It sounded as if a monster was growling. By the horrendous noise, I knew that this animal had to be huge. My dad called back with his cow call. It was a high pitch grunt. The elk instantly bugled back. My dad and I were both so nervous. As we looked harder and harder into the woods, we could barely see the animal. My dad took his binoculars from his backpack, and gave me them so I could see what he really looked like. His horns were the biggest things I have ever seen. They had a dark brown base, with off-white tips. His body, very immense, was a tan color with dark brown around his neck. He would stick his horns by a tree, and start scratching at it as if he was trying to sharpen them. His eyes looked so clueless and clear. I think that he was hesitant because he was still thinking about the cow call. A few minutes later, the elk slowly sauntered back into the forest. My dad said that it was getting too dark to shoot anything, so we had to head back to camp.
When we got back, I couldn't wait to tell my mom what I had seen. I screamed and yelled in excitement. I kept stumbling over my words, trying to tell too many things at once. As soon as I started making more sense, my mom's face looked flourished by all of the thrilling news. I still couldn't believe that I actually saw that magnificent animal.
As the night went on, that one moment kept racing through my mind. That night, we cooked hotdogs on the end of a stick, and stuck them in the flaming fire. It was pitch black outside, and I could hear the little crickets start to sing their pleasant tunes. My face was burning from the scalding fire.
While we were all eating a delicious dinner, my dad tried to scare us by telling a frightening story. It never worked for me! He would go off about Big foot and how he was over twelve feet tall. My brothers were still pretty young, so look in their eyes looked like they were both terrified. During his story, I just looked around the campsite. I couldn't see anything but the bright, full moon beaming above us. The stars were cluttered in all different formations. It was exquisite!
After spending about five days at hunting camp, I knew why I loved it so much. Even though I would get filthy from all of the dirt, I still loved it. At this certain place, I could get away from everything that was bad in my life, or even take a break from the pressure of school and sports. Here, I could hang out with my family without thinking about cleaning the house to make my mom happy, or feeding the dogs so my dad didn't have to do it. At this specific location, my family and I forgot about the stress from work or school, and just had the best time of our lives. That is why this place was, and will always be, the most important to me.