Tuesday, April 21, 2009

North to Lanier

As you may have guessed by my protracted absence; turkey season and bass fishing are both in full swing at the moment. In short: I've been busy. Not "successful" so much, but definitely "busy."

Several weeks ago my good friend, Hank, called to suggest we take "Spring Break" and spend it turkey hunting each morning in the mountains, and fishing for spotted bass on Lanier in the afternoons. Naturally, I was game.

After the requisite 50 or so phone calls, and at least that many emails discussing timing, baits, weaponry, and food and beverage requirements; we loaded up and headed north to Lanier. Two men that are boys, one black dog (answering to both "Buddy" and "Allie" for some reason), two shotguns, 40 shells for same, two turkey vests, 10 fishing rods, minimal clothing, 6 decoys, and untold quantities of baits, calls, cheap beer, electronics, and lunchmeats found their way into the house and, friends, we were home for the week.

By the time I got into the cabin Hank had dug up some classic James Taylor vinyl from his Dad's extensive record collection. James was crackling loudly across the north end of the lake (did you know Stevie Nicks used to be a perfect "10"?), I heard a poptop pop, and we were officially Spring Breakin'.

The weather caught us off our game to start with, and the turkeys didn't cooperate as well as we might have hoped, but we had a ball. It turns out - the mountains aren't nearly as easy to hunt as you might think. At one point, standing on a beautiful ridgetop with the sun just peeking up over the trees I suggested the fatal plan, "lets just drop down off this ridge into the creek bottom and work our way back to the truck."
Oversimplifications are my recent specialty.

It turns out - the creek bottoms are essentially impassable, and there is no "just dropping down." Everything turns into a ridge somehow, then you generally end up sliding at least 100 yards to a stop, hopelessly entangled in the thick bank of mountain laurels that guard each stream. 3hrs, and untold slides later, a sweaty Hank Farmer looked over at me from our precarious positions sprawled facedown in the dirt during an attempted crawl up an 80 degree grade, and said "We started out hunting, but now I think we're just crawling around in the woods."

Well put Hank Farmer.

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