This is an excerpt from my story, “A Hunting Day.” Read the full story in my upcoming book on adventures with nature.
We were approaching the graveled banks of small picturesque Whetstone Creek, when suddenly Mike’s horse stepped with one hoof into the very middle of a small patch of ice on the trail. This made a perfect hoof-print where it depressed the ice. Small cracks radiated out on several sides. Our dark trail set off the patch of grey ice with its equine design, in a way that made a unique picture. It was a thing of stark beauty. A well-defined statement of both form and function. I wished I could have had a photograph. Just as quickly, I decided that the best place for that image was in my mind. I stared, absorbed, to take in that moment, so that it could be relished again as part of me. A photograph could never have been enough. It would never convey the invigoration that I felt; the faint scent of horse flesh, the crispness of the morning, the recent memory of the star-lit trail, the faint haunting cry of a coyote, the fascinating gait of the horse that made the track, including the quick back-flick of her hoofs as they were lifted. Nor would it reflect the hard, long work of five days of hunting North America’s most magnificent game, the bull elk.