Lost Toiletries

Chicken strips and fries served on a paper plate with a full beer glass and an open book
Me taking my time in the airport terminal waiting for my flight to Walla Walla, WA. I casually ate, drank and read before realizing that I had left my toiletry bag somewhere after first using the restroom in the SeaTac airport.

Opening Day

hunters using their cell phones in camp
Mike Townsend (my dad) on the left and Mark Townsend (his brother) on the right with an elk shed he found on the opening day of elk season in our hunting area. We have full cell and mobile data coverage here.

It’s opening day of Elk season here in northeastern Oregon and we haven’t seen any agreeable male elk larger than an assumedly yearling spike running with a small herd of cows and calves. My dad, uncle Mark and I left camp slightly after 7 o’clock this morning to walk out to our first hunt. Dad and I trekked together as I don’t have a license to hunt the area or a tag for the elk myself. For the most part, he carried his 7mm Remington scoped hunting rifle while I wore his new pair of Vortex-brand binoculars. Those binoculars sure help me fulfill my role better than I could with my naked eye alone would since I’m up here in camp without my prescription contact lenses or glasses. I mistakenly left these valuable opticals in the toiletry bag I left on the paper towel dispenser of a bathroom in the SeaTac airport the day I flew into Walla Walla from Seattle (Nov, 1 and Connor’s Birthday). If I recall correctly, that black, faux-leather toiletry bag was a penguin brand product that my mom bought for me at a T.J. Maxx store in Lewiston, ID. I could be wrong about Mom having bought it for me or that Lewiston was the store location of her transaction.

It makes little difference to my situation up here in camp now.

We’re all back in the wall tent with a warm wood stover after an evening hunt.

My cell phone gets sufficient enough reception to Verizon’s mobile data network to confirm that the Washington State Cougars football team beat the Stanford Cardinals 24-21 with a lead-taking touchdown in the 4th quarter.

I’ve been wearing the same Christmas-patterned boxers since Thursday, Nov 2. I’ll likely change them out in the morning.

My uncle Mark was just talking about how Anchorage and Pelican, Alaska are both towns on the ends of fjords. I was thinking about that for a while and realized that I’m not really certain what fjord looks like geographically. On our walk back to camp from our evening hunt today, I couldn’t put a definition behind the word “cervix”; I only knew that it’s an anatomical part a gynecologist should be familiarized with.

I still have so many exhilarating things to learn in my lifetime!

Harvesting an Elk

two horses carrying remains of a bull elk in their packs
Dad and I returning Joker (left) and Hannah (right) to camp with the quartered meat and bones of our bull elk killed earlier that day.

I shot at a 4-point bull elk here about 1/4 mile out of our camp yesterday. After two shots fired from my dad’s 7mm hunting rifle (the first of which landed in the animal’s right front shoulder, a little closer towards its head then it should have been placed), I handed the gun over to my dad where he fired a finishing bullet into the middle of his lower spine. The men here estimated that he was either a 2.5 or 3.5 year old bull, based on his antler and body size.

After dad assessed the lethality of his round on our target, we made our way from our shooting spot over to the carcass. Once we arrived upon the corpse and confirmed the kill, we roped the nearest fir tree and affixed the opposing end around the antler base of the elk so that we could proceed with the skinning and gutting processes. We finished up the cleaning process of our kill after an hour or so and then made the journey up the ridge and over toward our camp. A few hours later we saddled our horses, Rocky and Blaze, and mounted the packing saddles/bags on Joker and Hannah so that we could quarter and retrieve the meat from our kill without hauling it up the ridge ourselves. That ride down and back up wasn’t exactly the easiest traveling. Dad had to dismount Rocky at one point before our steepest stretch and ended up walking him and the two pack horses around a path with less of an incline. My horse, Blaze, didn’t have much trouble scaling up the trail-less ridge. She was more interested in getting back to her equestrian buddies than in catching her breaking during the steep haul.

Once we returned to camp, Dad and I unsaddled the horses and strung the quarters of our elk up between two trees along an old lodgepole pine tree beam, supported by some rusty nails that were long since pounded into the rooted trees. We later rejoiced together when uncle Mark returned and shared several swigs from our 2nd or (probably) 3rd bottle of Black Velvet Reserve (aged 8 years).

For me, the hunting experience had just about come full circle, at least for the in-camp chapters. We still gotta transport the meat home, hang, process and package the final product. I likely won’t be able to be around Waitsburg during the time in which the meat needs to be cut and processed.

Dad and I went on a walk north of camp to help uncle mark catch his bull and fill his elk tag for this season. We weren’t gone long, catching sight of just one doe and a couple buck deer. Since then, I’ve pretty much been lounging in camp, reading my book “Word Power Made Easy”, by Norman Lewis. Uncle Mark grilled up two cheese sandwiches a piece for him and myself.

Surprisingly, our cell phone’s are able to access full wireless coverage and a 4G mobile data connection. I also ordered a 3-month supply of contact lenses yesterday and 3 books from amazon.com today, with al orders to be delivered to the Des Moines house.

I had also been texting back and forth a little each day to the girl I connected with on okcupid.com, Azalea. I texted her yesterday about the beautiful sun-shining day we had up here and wished her a good one. She’s been responding to my texts with interest and enthusiasm prior to yesterday. I’ve yet to receive a response and sincerely hope that we fulfill our arrangement to meet in person at her favorite tamale place in Capitol Hill is still on. I’d like to continue exploring the potential relationship and meet with her in person soon after my arrival back in SeaTac.

TV Exec Call

camp stove and paperback book from inside of a canvas wall tent
Lounging in camp after a morning hike with my dad out to Mahogany Ridge in the Eagle Cap Wilderness with my vocabulary building workbook to read. The vast majority of uncle Mark’s cooking was done on the stove.

Called Blake Messer regarding a position as General Manager at a television station he has a vested interest/partnership in. Blake seems keen on convincing the principal owners of the station that I would be the ideal candidate to take over for the woman currently employed in the position who is “checked out” of the job and isn’t driving a profit for the business. We spoke for about a half-hour over speaker phone (on my end), which my dad and uncle could easily overhear.

Alone in Camp

A plastic bowl filled with deep fried sliced elk testicals
Dad peeled off the two membranes of each of our 4 elk testicals so that uncle Mark could marinate them in a beef bullion mix for over 24 hours before frying them in vegetable oil in a flour/seasoning mixture

It’s Thursday and my last full day here in elk camp up in the Wallowa Mountains with my dad and uncle Mark. Yesterday, we retrieved Mark’s 5×5 bull elk from the area south of camp, just beyond the open ridge that slopes down into the canyon where Murphy Creek flows generally northbound. The Townsend brothers refer to the hunting grounds to either side of this ridge as the Honey Hole (or maybe they just say Hunting Hole in an accent that I can’t decipher) and my dad typically holds up on a high point of the ridge to act as a lookout.

Today, the brothers saddled up their two horses, with Mike on Joker and Mark on Tough, so that they can lead four pack horses to the trailhead to unload the meat of our hunting spoils. Mark is leading Christy and Sydney while Dad is leading Rocky and Hannah. Both of our antler racks with the top halves of the elk heads still attached were packed between the pack bags holding one of the front or hind quarters of the slain beasts.

I’m here by myself in camp with Mark’s horse, Blaze, who I’ve been riding this trip. I’ve got approximately 8 hours before the brothers return and there are several tasks I’m expected or compelled to have done prior to their return to our campsite (these aren’t in any chronological sorting)

What I’ve got the time to do today:

  • Have a cup of coffee, another serving of trail mix and then brush my teeth well DONE
  • Move our slabs of elk rib/brisket meat inside and trim any cartilage or gristly tissue in preparation for stewing DONE
  • Turn my radio handset on at 11:45am and toggle the GPS service off so that the others can test signal reception at various points along the trail from camp to the trucks DONE
  • Bust up more of the branch-stripped lodgepole pines into smaller sections for the outdoor bonfire we’ll light tomorrow morning to burn waste and stay warm before we pack out of camp DONE
  • Begin stewing our ribs/brisket in a large enough pot that can fit our meat and be covered in aluminum foil. Keep on low heat so that the containing water will simmer. Add oil. DONE
  • Light a propane lantern for outside of the tent after the sun goes down so that brothers have an easier time finding and parking in camp
  • Strip meat from the ribs/brisket and pull apart so I can sauce and spice the mixture in another pot

As I’ve been attending to the aforementioned chores, I’ve also done some thinking and communication rehearsal with the digital marketing consultation proposal I will give to Mario Galliano of Galliano’s Cucina in SeaTac and Tukwila.

How I’ll Articulate My Consulting Model

There’s one important thing to note about my billable time: the clock doesn’t start ticking until I have sufficient direction, access to pertinent online accounts and all resources/information I need so I may delve into uninterrupted production/development activity. All other organizational tasks and correspondence with you, the client, enables these productive periods and are themselves un-billable.

To keep my production schedule on par with our launch plan, I require a 48-hour turnaround from you in responding to project demands once I’ve communicated those demands to you. I may need specific questions answered, feedback on my design concepts, access to third party account credentials, payments processed for critical services (such as domain name registration) or for you to act on any other task necessary for the advancement of the proposed project that can uniquely be fulfilled by the principal decision maker at your business.

I will always respond to requests from you, the client, within 24 hours.