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Short Story - The Hunt

            My eyes burst open much quicker than expected when I heard the crusty swoosh sound of our tent door being thrust open and secured to one side. I then heard the raspy voice of a man say something about an early bird getting the worm. It was 5:00 am and as the cobwebs began to clear from my head, I realized that the voice I had heard was from the mouth of our elk hunting guide, Jim Evans. Jim told us that it was time for breakfast and that we'd be packing up the horses and heading up the mountain before the sun had a chance to arouse the forest. The last thing he said before leaving our tent was "snow on the ground means blood on the ground in an hour.".
             One of my dad's closest friends owned and operated an elk hunting business called Wolf Lake Outfitters. My dad had been hunting here many times before, but this was my first big game hunting experience and I could hardly contain my excitement. The previous afternoon we had arrived in the beautiful small town of Pinedale, Wyoming and within an hour we were on horseback hoofing it up the Pinedale Mountain to make camp before the sun tucked in for the night and turned things over to the moon. I saw my dad look over at me from his horse and the instant smile that embraced my face almost touched my ear lobes. I felt the cold, brisk air cover my teeth and then quickly rush to the back of my throat as if to warn me about what real nature feels like. I had never felt so connected to my surroundings, or so much in tune with the colors, smells, and sounds that embraced me that afternoon.
             I slowly unzipped my down sleeping bag and instantly felt the cold air grip my body and cover me like a blanket. The smell of bacon in the air and the thought of seeing elk in the wild really seemed to motivate the pace at which I got fully dressed and ready to roll. My dad had barely even sat up on his cot yet and he chuckled when he noticed that I was already fully dressed.

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