When I was teaching in the Academy we had to use the
holidays for hunting trips. Claudius and I planned a hunting trip during
the Thanksgiving holidays for our hunting trip. We invited Dean Turley
and Larry Skousen to go with us because they were fellow teachers in the
Academy and wanted a vacation as well.
We got everything ready and left after school on
Wednesday. We picked up Larry and Dean on our way through Colonia Juárez
and drove up through the mountains. We drove through Chuhuichupa going
north to the Emilio Burgos ranch house that he had on the Radiola creek
at that time. We arrived about ten o'clock at night, so we took out our
beds and unrolled them on the ranch house floor and slept till daylight
the next morning.
After breakfast, Yagui and I saddled some mules that were
in the corral and went to look for enough horses and mules for our trip.
We found three riding animals and Clauidius's sorrel mare and put them
in the corral. We needed a couple of pack mules to pack our camp
equipment on. Yagui and I went up the trail on the high ridge, that is
called the Bravo. We found some horse and mule tracks and followed them
along the top of the Bravo. When we caught up with them, there were two
mares and a little black pack mule. I went around and got in front of
them. With our ropes ready we gradually closed in around the animals. We
both dismounted hoping to walk up to one of the tame mares. Suddnely the
little black mule broke out and ran by Yagui. He threw a true loop and
caught him around the neck. Somehow a loop of his rope got caught around
Yagui's foot. He was jerked off his feet and went whizzing down the
steep side hill as fast as that little mule could run. When the mule
went through some "Johnny jump-up" bushes the rope got caught and jerked
the mule to a sudden stop. Yagui quickly untangled his foot from the
rope, and led the mule back up the steep slope. Luckly his demnim pants
and jacket weren't even torn because that slope was smooth and covered
with a heavy layer of pine needles. So Yagui had a soft fast slide on
We hurridly went back to the ranch because it was getting
late, we needed to hurry and pack up. We had to use Claudius's sorrel
mare as one of the pack animals. We finally got all of our gear on the
mare and the little black mule. We climbed the Bravo trail about
sundown. We traveled along the top of the Bravo and finally arrived at a
beautiful little camp by a spring near the top of the Bravo ridge. They
called that ridge the Bravo because it is high and very cold in
We unpacked our tired animals and unsaddled our mounts
and Yagui took them down to a little pasture below us. I looked for my ax,
but could not find it. Apparently it had slipped out of the pack, as we
came along the trail in the dark. I found a little pine tree that was
just right for the tent pole. I used my hunting knife to cut it down and
sharpened the top at the right length for the center pole of the tent.
The tent was a big round heavy army tent. I finally got it staked down
all the way around. Claudius, Yagui and I moved our beds inside. We
bedded down on thee canvas ground sheet inside the warm tent. Dean and
Larry unrolled their beds under the stars and had chided me for putting
up that old tent so late at night.
I was awakened out of a deep sleep about three in the
morning when Larry and Dean came into the tent carrying their beds. They
told us to move over that it was snowing outside. They finally got their
beds spread out and climbed in them. Then we all went back to sleep,
well protected from the snow.
Early the next morning Claudius and I got a fire going,
by using the dry pine needles Under our beds. We prepared a breakfast of
hotcakes and scrambled eggs and hot herb tea. By the time we were ready
to eat, Yagui was back with the animals.
We invited Dean and Larry to get up and eat and get ready
to go hunting. They looked out on the white world that was covered with
six to eight inches of snow. They snuggled back into their warm beds,
saying they were not going hunting in that cold snow.
After breakfast I saddled up my mule and put on my warm
jacket and gloves and chaps. I told Claudius that I would hunt east down
into the Torro canyon. He said he would wait and see if Dean and Larry
wanted to saddle up later in the day.
I rode down along a long sloping ridge. The sun was
shining brightly and I could see the white cascades and hear the whoosh,
thump of the snow that was falling from the branches of the pine trees,
as it melted. What a beautiful world. I saw a few deer tracks as I rode
along the ridge. I was watching carefully all around and also watching
the ears of my mule expecting to see some deer and hoping for a shot at
a big buck. I finally rode down into the head of the Torro canyon and
rode along the side of the creek that was increasing with water from the
melting snow. Soon the little creek became a rushing river. I rode along
the road passed the empty Torro ranch house.
I rode into the corral and found plenty of big juicy
angle worms in the soft dirt and manure under the fence. I took out my
trout line wound on a stick in my pocket, and tied it on the end of a
willow pole. I baited the little trout hook with a big wiggly worm and
dropped it into the milky snow water. I immediately got a strike and
pulled out a beautiful ten inch rainbow trout. I continued fishing down
the creek until I had quite a string of beautiful trout. I counted them
as I cleaned them and put 15 eight- to ten-inch trout in a plastic sack
in my saddle bag. It began to get quite dark in the shade of the deep
canyon. I rode down the creek to where it turns and flows into the
Chuhuichupa river. I crossed the creek and found the trail that went
upon to the bald mesa. I soon rode out of the gloom of the canyon into
the light of the setting sun.
I Hurried up the trail and rode into camp just at dark.
Claudius had the lantern lit and was preparing supper. I gave him the
trout, which he fried in butter. And we all enjoyed a fresh trout
supper. After supper Larry Skousen turned on his portable radio and
turned it to the news. The announcer came on with the shocking news,
that Pres Kennedy had been assinated on that day. As we discussed the
matter I told them that it was a sad way to end the beautiful day that I
had, for my birthday. November 22 was a memorable and enjoyable day for
The next day dawned bright and sunny and the snow was all
gone. After a good breakfast we all mounted up and went different
directions to see if we would find a big buck. Yagui and I rode west
down off the Bravo. We rode all day seeing many bunches of does and
fawns but no bucks. Finally in the afternoon as we were nearing camp two
big deer jumped up out of the brush. They ran a little ways and stopped.
The big one that was looking right at me made my heart beat faster.
There between his big ears I could see some horns. I slipped out my
rifle and stepped off my mule and shot the deer through the heart.
To my surprise, when the deer went down, the horns stayed
there. The deer had been standing behind some dried limbs that had
looked exactly like the horns of a deer. I had killed a big doe. I
skinned her out and packed the meat to take home. As it turned that was
the only meat that we got on the whole trip. There was plenty of meat
for all five of us to take home. We arrived home late Saturday night.
That trip for me, inspite of the difficulties and reverses was very
enjoyable. I have learned in my life that we need to enjoy everything as
we go along.