I DID NOT last long on the swamp stand this morning, I got cold. As I get older my circulation seems to be like an old boiler that has long out lived its warranty and is just one broken part away from being replaced. Some days my hands and feet are warm and no gloves are needed and other days my hands need to be held close to the pot belly stove and they take forever to warm back up. Yesterday I spent most of the afternoon out on the swamp stand, the wind was on my right shoulder and I had it pressed up against the trunk of the tree using it as a wind break. I had layers of clothes on and a couple of them chemical heaters tucked away at the small of my back. No sunshine, lots of wind and some snow fell. Not a lot of snow, just enough to cover the rails a little and rest on my shoulders and pants until a gust of wind would blow it off. It was a good day to sit as I was warm even though it was in the twenties.
The walk in was slow as I took my time, head up looking for any sign of deer. Hard going though as the ground was now froze at least the small pot holes with water were. I walked around the first couple of them but after I saw that they were froze I just walked right over them. No tracks in the little snow pellets on the ground. I was hoping for some tracking snow but I was looking for the big flakes that are almost warm when they fall, not the little pellets that are almost like sleet and sting if the wind catches them and hits you in the cheeks. My beard deflects most of them and that is why guys grow beards for deer hunting, at least that is what I tell the wife. Of course I have had my beard for about thirty years so that excuse may not fly anymore.
This morning I made the walk to the swamp stand and the wind was in my face, Not much of a wind but enough that it was cold as it blew across the snow covered trail. I climbed in the stand and soon had all my zippers zipped and my hat down over my ears. My chin was resting on my chest and my eyes were just slits that I looked out at the swamp as day light arrived. I knew I was in trouble when I got the first shiver up my back.
The sun rose quickly or so it seemed and with it the wind seem to get stronger. Still a few trees around my stand with some leaves hanging on and I watched as the leaves were spinning on the branches like pinwheels. I tried to hunker down inside my coat even deeper hoping to find a warm spot but I got another shiver instead. I watched the trail coming out of the swamp and there was no movement, the more I stared the more I saw nothing at all. No birds, no sound of crows and the family of squirrels were late. Decision time came, should I call it a morning and come back out later? Then a large gust of wind shook the stand and I made the call to head back to the warm embrace of the pot belly stove back at the Hotel.
One last look around and I climbed down. I headed back with the 30/30 resting in the crook of my arm. I could feel the cold metal right through my coat it seemed. I had the wind at my back and it was pushing me down the trail, it almost felt like it was telling me to get out of the woods. I came around the bend in the trail and let out a single curse word. Across the trail a tree had fallen, too big to climb over and long enough that I was going to get wet walking around it. But that was my first thought. I made by way around to the bottom of the tree and the edge of the swamp was froze, I didn’t press my luck but moved around the tree to the other side of the trail and back up on firm ground. Going to need the chain saw or better yet I think Scott is going to be up hunting tomorrow, young guys like cutting up trees in freezing weather here at Lake Iwanttobethere