Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hunting Season

The ebb and flow of the seasons is happening. And we are now into . . . Hunting Season
In my earlier years, hunting season was a big deal. I am not a hunter (usually), but as a sixteen year old, it meant I got to drive. Yep--I drove our '57 Chevy pickup up one valley and dropped off my Dad and brother. They proceeded to hike over to the next valley loooking for deer and elk. My job was to find my way over to that next valley and pick them up. Great experience for a learning driver. I learned the curves of many of Montana's back roads! And I can remember being ordered home from college one weekend to go antelope hunting. Yep--ordered. Seems my dad had put my name along with my mom, my brother and himself in a drawing for permits to antelope hunt. When the drawing was held, everyone but my dad won a permit. I had to go home to round out the hunting party.

Now our hunting expeditions are of a different kind. Bill is always looking for The Big Burl.
You know, those growths on trees, the sight of rare figured wood. They make Bolstad Boxes beautiful! In August we received a call from a guy we had met last February at the Philadelphia show. He lives in Klamath Falls, and he sells wood. He had some "burl" for sale. So we planned an "expedition". Over several rivers and thru lots of woods we would go. Yesterday was our big "hunt".

It's about a 4 hour drive to Klamath Falls in south central Oregon. I charged our cell phones, packed for an overnight stay if needed, and at 6 am we left. Right now in Oregon there are several forest fires. They affect most of the roads going over the Cascades to central Oregon.
One pass opened up that morning, and we were able to go the route over Willamette Pass. We went right through where the fire had gone, on both sides of the road. We saw many "fire camps" where fire fighters had set up their tents, and they were still putting out "hot spots".
The little community of Crescent Lake was alive and getting back to normal after being evacuated. Our call to "511" (road hotline) had warned us to be on the watch for "fire apparatus." Saw plenty of those. We continued on our journey looking for the illusive Big Burl.

With a short detour, we made it to Oregon's one National Park--Crater Lake. Crater Lake was on my list of "Places I Have To See" at one time. We did go see it once, but it was winter. And snow there gets pretty deep; the park is only opened for a few short miles at the south entrance during the winter, so we hadn't really "seen" all of it. We entered at the north entrance, and exited out the south. The area had two big forest fires, so there was lots of smoke in the air. It also was slightly foggy, so for awhile viewing distance was not great. One area had big road signs explaing the fire was a "natural burn" and they were letting it burn. I took a couple nice photos of Wizard Island and Crater Lake, just to provwe I was there!

Now we were on our way. No more detours. We found our burl man, and Bill "hunted" through his orderly piles of beautiful wood. An hour later we drove away with some beautiful Madrone Burl. Plans are to make them into tables. Our hunt was successful--this year!

Our return trip was over the moun tians on a route from Klamath Falls to Ashland to the interstate. It was a beautiful drive, and a new route for us. It goes through a very remote part of Oregon. We stopped and had dinner with our friends Ned and Susan in Roseburg, then arrived home about 9:30pm. Didn't need our back pack of "in case we stay overnight".

The moral of this story is -- it's not the outcome of the hunt that counts, but the journey. We had a great day.

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