It's that time of year when we all remind ourselves what we're thankful for. I've gotten in the habit of picking and focusing on just one thing. This year experience popped into my head. There are three definitions in the dictionary and I'm talking about the last two. 1) The knowledge that you get from life and from being in a lot of different situations. 2) Something that happens to you, or a situation that you are involved in.
This year I chose to showcase one of my favorite experiences from the year, the elk hunt.
One night as we all relaxed in the tent, warming our hands and feet over the stove, Uncle Hal told me the story of the Golden Bull. Over fifteen years ago my grandfather came on this trip, while he was in his seventies. While up on the flat top, near a knob, he saw a flash of golden color and as his eyes came into focus, he saw a bull with golden fur and a red mane. He didn't get that bull that day. In fact, the hunters on this trip tracked him for years, only catching glimpses of him through the trees and adding story after story of the Golden Bull evading them.
Six years passed before Hal got a clean shot. At that point, he was a six point bull and had no teeth left. They estimated he was about 12 years old and wouldn't have survived another winter. Hal spoke about the bull like a worthy adversary and did say he was a little sad when they finally got him. The hunt for the Golden Bull was over.
Now the story within the story is that knob where my Granddad Jack first saw the Golden Bull was renamed, Jack's Knob. Here I was, two years after my grandfather passed, riding by that hill nearly everyday. I never knew it was named after him and I never knew or paid attention to him attending this trip. A lump formed in my throat and tears welled up. The rest of the trip I kept looking around thinking that I was laying eyes on the same scenes my Granddad had, all those years ago. Even though death separates us, up in the Flat Tops I felt a new connection to him. I wouldn't give up that experience for anything.