March 1st, 2015 a day after a winter storm swept through the Northern Sierras and left behind a blanket of snow. For most this does not seem like the most optimal time to hike but for deer shed hunting it was perfect. The snow had pushed down the deer from the mountains at the perfect time of the year.
On this hike, my friends Matt Kane and Nick DeRaedt, of Born 2 Explore, joined me on this adventure. We started our hike on the upper Thomas Creek trailhead on the edge of the Galena forest. We hiked a mile or so in on the trail and then went off trail into a random valley. After 20 minutes into the valley deer surrounded us. On both sides of the canyon deer were running back and forth grazing. We counted a total of 90 deer and 20 bucks, including a local legend “Red” whose rack was at least 30 inches wide. A few of these deer were missing antlers. We decided, however, not to look for them. Instead we hiked up and around the ridge to avoid spooking them and come back next week.
The hike up the ridge was at first very steep with a lot of loose gravel. At some point I was on all fours bear crawling up the mountain. We finally began to reach solid ground and in return were suddenly in 6-8 inches of snow. This was my first snow hike in 2015 and the snow was perfect. Very light snow that made it easy to travel through. We reached the top of the tabletop and it was gorgeous! Words and pictures don’t do it justice. I plan on backpacking and camping in this area during the summer at some point.
On our decedent, we came across a Geocache. I wont tell you where it was located but there were some great stories in it. This was the first Geocache for my companions and they participated in the tradition of leaving something behind for the next hiker.The descendent was far easier than climb and we attempted to drive the deer back into the valley in hopes of finding them next week.
We finally made it back to our cars after 7 miles in 3 hours. We did not bring home anything but rejuvenated sprits, reunited old friendships, and muddy boots. Grab an old buddy from high school or college and go for a hike. You never know what you will find.
Thank you Matt Kane for the pictures.