Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hunting in Mexico: Lessons Learned

(WARNING:  This is a bit long.  Condolences.)

So much to say...but this is not a hunting blog.  I want to get back to my cycling (and now even some running!), so please bear with me as I rattle off some highlights on my recent five-day hunting trip in Mexico (given that the earlier post titled "Hunting in Mexico:  What Could Go Wrong?" received more comments than any other post I have written).   Also, I should add that this post involves some swearwords and references to peeing, toilets and farting...my apologies to my more delicate readers, but after all, this was a hunting trip.

If I get some favorable comments back, then I can answer some questions or tell the story behind my new nickname (Grizz) and tell the story about "the banana in the tree".  Please let me know if this is of any interest.

There were nine of us on this trip:  the man who organized everything, my four friends*, two guys from ESPN (and other shows on hunting channels) and one awesome younger guy from Texas who is a dead-ringer for the more manly-version of Leonardo DiCaprio.  Also, helping us were some local ranch hands, guides and cooks that made the trip so much more bearable.

*My four friends...earlier I said this was a business trip, which was an easy way to describe it because we all are in the same industry, etc.  I also thought of it this way, because I was not looking forward to it because it was out of my comfort zone...easier to think of it as an obligation.  In reality, I knew three of these guys pretty well and we all get along...they all love hunting and encouraged me to join them as a way to have fun and build closer relationships.  That definitely happened.  I now consider them close friends and they certainly tolerated my lack of experience.  I laughed more this past week than I have in the past few months. 

We travelled a few hours south of Douglas, AZ onto a private ranch of a bazillion acres in Mexico.  I have travelled the world, been to 15 countries on four continents and have never seen land prettier than this.  It was breathtaking!  Beautiful colors throughout the high desert region and beautiful sunsets. 

Two of my friends and the ESPN guys and "Texas" all stayed upstairs in the "Ranch House" with bedrooms with linen and paintings on the walls.  They had a massive bathroom with all the facilities, including a huge shower.  This looked like the spare bedrooms that someone's grandma might have.

Ah, but there was not enough room for all of us to stay in this inn...so four of us had to stay in the "Bunk House" down the road, where the cowboys usually stayed (yes...they actually had cowboys that round up the herd, etc.).  We stayed upstairs in the bunk house in a small room made of plywood and 1x4 flooring.  The narrow room had four bunk beds with badly stained mattresses (no linen).  There was a sink in the corner and a wood-burning stove.  Do all hunters use diesel fuel to start fires indoors (in a very dry climate)?   Seemed dangerous to me, but I didn't question it (out loud). 

For a toilet, we could use the one downstairs in the house, but had to risk waking everyone up.  So, instead, we just peed off the second story outdoor stairway.  My apologies to the white cow that was standing below on Night #3.  I didn't see you and let's agree that we were both surprised and a bit startled. 

And can I say this about toilets on a bazillion acre ranch (and the gas station near Esqueda)?  Aside from the "fancy" toilets in the Ranch House, why did every other toilet either have NO seat or such poor water flow that we were encouraged to "throw a cup of water down the bowl when you flush"?  Toilets have been around for several centuries now, can't we just expect a seat and some decent water flow (especially when virtually every meal contains the entree "chili colorado" or refried beans)?

I also learned that on a hunting trip, whether you are surrounded by friends, family, strangers or hired help, farting is acceptable pretty much all the time (except at mealtime).  It was especially funny when someone did it while on the hunt and our guides would instantly look up and around, as if a rare animal was approaching.  This is perhaps the most basic of all unspoken jokes since the dawn of humankind.

Moving on.  Here is what I forgot to bring on my 5-day Mexican Hunting Trip:
  • a sleeping bag
  • a pillow
  • soap and a towel (I am more of a hotel-type of guy)
  • a backpack for my "gear" (like binoculars, gloves, etc.)
  • binoculars
  • gloves (did I mention all of the cactus and near freezing temperatures?)
  • benadryl or an epi-pin (only needed for those allergic to bees...like me)
  • thermal underwear (seriously, I thought they quit making this stuff in the 70's)
  • a Spanish-English dictionary (sorry, Chino...my inability to speak spanish made for a long day on that hill).
  • My own camoflauge jacket...had to borrow my father-in-laws, which did not match my camo bib overalls that I got at Wal-Mart for $4 on close-out.  For all of you metrosexuals out there, let me assure you that it wasn't a problem that the jacket didn't match the pants...at least no one said anything about it and I definitely was not going to ask (but I had wondered about it!).
Things I DID bring that have never been seen during a hunt in Mexico:
  • 16 small cans of Starbucks Double-Shot, bought by my wife...likely more important than the bee sting medicine.
  • My beloved iPod, including the movie "The Big Lebowski"...who says you can't hunt and watch a movie at the same time?  That "no electronics" policy of the ranch was just unreasonable.
  • An Eddie Bauer pocket knife that somehow was designed for "bears", according to the engraving.
  • Mints!  Sure, we're in the woods, but should we not have good breath (especially after refried beans for breakfast)?
  • A book...one of the guys just had to keep asking "why would someone bring a book on a hunt?"
Handy phrases that were often heard on the trip (nearly all phrases were spoken in a southern accent, including by me...I don't know why):
  • "Sh*t".  Pronounced in two syllables, starting with the sound "shee".  This could be used as a starter or an ender to your own sentence.  Or as a response to someone else's sentence.  I have never heard this word used so many times in my life.
  • "I tell you what..." also as a starter or an ender to any comment.  When used as an ender, it is okay to just let it trail off, smile and take a sip of your drink.   A variation on this (as an ender to your own comment) would be "I sh*t you not".
  • "Man, it looked just like a yard sale...there was just sh*t spread out everywhere!"  This phrase could be said when you talk about falling down, a messy pick-up truck or when dropping your backpack to run fast after something.
  • "It was like trying to dance with a bobcat in a phonebooth".   Use this phrase when describing how you were awkwardly trying to get too much done at one time and getting all messed up.
  • "Mornin' ".  Good morning!
  • "Well, boys...it's time to p*ss on the fire and call in the dogs".  Bedtime. 
That will do it for now, friends.  I figure I done wore out my welcome already.  If you want just a few more, well, just let me know and I'll get 'round to it. 

Adios.

Big Clyde (aka "Grizz")

7 comments:

RockStarTri said...

Muy bueno Grande Clyde.

midlife_swimmer said...

LOL! I am afraid to actually ask about the banana in the tree, that could really have sooooo many meanings dude. I have also brought books places other swear they never would have.

Larry said...

Questions as follows:

What book was it?

Did the white cow really tie the room together?

Does the Grizz abide?

Big Clyde said...

Midlife: Nothing naughty about the banana in the tree...just another "city-boy" story showing his dorkiness in front of all the other hunters.

Larry: The book was A Million Miles in A Thousand Years by Donald Miller...still not too far into it.

Love the Lebowski references. "They peed on your cow?"

Grizz did indeed abide. After all, I myself have dabbled in pacificism. :)

Duane said...

Hilarious!

guinnemick said...

I am proud of you brother. You didn't get shot and you learned somethings. I do hope you share more of your adventure with us, it is very interesting. Now get on your bike and get back to work..

OldChainRing said...

Yeah, but did you kill anything? Did you take out a bambi? Dude, its been more than a week since there have been any posts on exercise. What guinnemick said: "Now get on your bike and get back to work.."