Don't worry, you won't have to divert the children's eyes, all pictures are from the waist up. I'll spare you the Speedo shots.
That was about the only way to keep cool in the sweltering heat in the plains of Colorado on the pheasant opener. Al Gore might have a leg to stand on after all.
"So what time you wanna take off?" Is the question coming through the phone from Greg.
"Well lets see, sunrise is at 6:30 so we can start hunting them at 6:00. We should leave Denver at 2:30 am." comes my logical reply, thinking nothing of it.
"Oh, I see, pheasants are morning birds, huh?" then an awkward pause. "I should just be walking out of a show at The Boulder Theater by 2:30 am. That might cause a problem." Greg says in complete innocence.
Oh boy. I proceed to explain to him that in the plains for some reason, everything likes to get up early.
"Yea, they don't drink out in the plains like us mountain men do. Their birds don't have the common courtesy to make themselves available for shooting at a decent hangover hour." I reply.
The decision is made to meet at a parking lot at a more forgivable hour of 6:30 am, then make the three hour venture out east. We'll let the droves of orange clad flat-landers head in for a country breakfast, then pick up their scraps.
Four humans and five dogs (don't ask) pile into Greg's Ford F-150 and lay into the pedal, pointing towards the sun.
As the caffeine infused conversation rolls out, I take numerous double takes out the window. I notice that the cover is looking good, I mean really good. This could be promising.
We pull into one of my favorite spots and quickly have to double check the Walk in Access brochure to make sure we didn't get the date wrong. Aside from a cow or two, the land is empty.
I laugh nervously as I look at the brochure, then check my watch to make sure the dates line up.
"Yea, unless you hit 88 mph and threw the flux capacitor and we went back in time, it's the right day." I verify.
"It must be our timely arrival." Greg suggests.
And with that, the truck was thrown in park and everyone and everything fell out of our circus vehicle.
It felt good to walk the fields with my friends and a slew of dogs. After pounding the mountains and scrambling it's darn near vertical slopes chasing Duskies all fall, gliding along the horizontal prairie felt like a just reward.
What felt even better was to see the flatlands in remission. The barren wastelands that resembled a scene from Mad Max just a year ago, now showed signs of life. I wouldn't say it was a full on Grizzly Adams beard, but more like a Brooklyn hipster trying to imitate a lumberjack. The stubble looked promising.
The honey holes provided their honey. Out of the three flushes of the weekend, all three were roosters. I'm convinced Sage is learning to find only the males, an obsession of sorts, which might explain his love affair with his male brother from another mother, Braker.
"What can I say, my dog likes boys..." I say to no one in particular.
I'm a man of the times, I can handle my dog's "tastes".
We pack up and leave the rolling plains for the foothills of the Rockies. Everyone looks thoroughly exhausted as we settle in for the drive.
"I thought this flatland hunting was supposed to be easy." I half complain as I kick my boots off for the ride home.
"Try it on a few hours sleep." Greg says as his hands grip the steering wheel.
"I left a bottle of whiskey behind for the birds. Maybe that will put them on an equal playing field for next weekend."
The Broncos blare through the radio as another opener comes to a satisfying end.