Two tales of one hunting trip
By Al and Patsy Pridgen
Sunday, December 3, 2017
This week, I asked my husband to channel his inner Kent King and write about our recent hunting trip in rural Illinois. I say “our” because I went, too. Here’s what he penned.
“The highly anticipated bow hunting trip to Illinois for big Midwestern whitetail deer has come and gone. The thousands of arrows shot in practice and equipment purchased in preparation did not bring the desired results. I didn’t bring home the big one.
“Fortunately, enjoyment of the trip is not entirely measured by filling a deer tag. Sitting in a deer stand an hour before it gets light in 35 degree weather is a peaceful, if cold, experience. Sunrise is announced by the owls hooting and later, sunset by the coyotes yipping and howling. The day is spent enjoying the outdoors with the possibility of the buck of a lifetime stepping out at any moment.
“I was joined this year by my non-hunting wife, which led to some anxiety on my part and probably hers also. Would she be bored to death and ready to leave the moment she arrived? If so, it was going to be a long seven days. Fortunately the hunting lodge is first-class and my wife was a a good sport. We had our own private room, TV, Wi-Fi, and two hot meals a day. No sleeping in the bunk room for me this time with five other tired snoring guys.
“The travel to and from Illinois was a long two days each way; however, the scenery through the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee was spectacular. Many fall leaves were still on the trees. On the way home, we took the northern route through Kentucky with the rolling horse pastures and the mountains of West Virginia.
“This was not like our other trips where we have seen the Berlin Wall, the Eiffel Tower, the Roman Coliseum, Red Square, and the Great Wall of China. This trip was corn fields, dirt roads, and big deer. Yeah, I loved it.”
My Turn. Loved it, he says? How can getting up at 3:30 a.m. and sitting in a cold tree stand for hours on end be fun? I just don’t get it. And that middle of the night wake-up call for a lodge of 30 men meant the end of my night’s sleep, too. Our “private” room was located next to the kitchen, and I heard every detail of the upcoming day’s excursion as excited hunters yammered away while eating their 4 a.m. breakfast.
I adapted, taking naps during the day and going to bed by 9 p.m. every night. I didn’t experience the same nature experience as my husband – no hooting owls or yipping coyotes for me – but I did take long walks up and down the hilly dirt road that stretched for miles in either direction from the lodge.
The meals were hearty, I met a couple of interesting ladies also whiling away time in the lodge, and the fall foliage road trip was pretty. But sorry, rural Illinois doesn’t stack up to world-famous sights. To channel my inner Lisa Douglas, “Darling, I love you, but give me Park Avenue.”