Tuesday, November 15, 2016

the 4 amigos ride~

so, i just want to begin by saying that i know it's been a long time since
I've written a blog post.
thank you for your patience and thank you for
checking back to see if there's something new from me finally. : )

october was insanely busy for me as a
photographer. i felt blessed, thankful,
and slightly short of breath for 5 weeks straight.
(not even kidding).
there weren't enough hours in the days and if i
wasn't out shooting a session,
i was home editing the thousands of
photos i took.

i met amazing families and lots of delightful high school seniors
and now the buzz is wrapping up and i can
think about all the things i had to put on the back
burner when business was hoppin~ like my blog.

i left off more than a month ago by telling you that
lars, our boys and our son in law were about to leave on a
"trip of a lifetime".

the big hunt.

i think the idea originated with our son in law as he's gone on
at least 2 prior elk hunting trips with his dad and brother, but
dale and our boys have also been dreaming about taking a trip
further than minnesota and hunting something other than deer, for a long time.
the boys kept saying "we want to do this with dad before he's too old to go".
they were looking for adventure and wanted to make memories to
laugh and reminisce about in the years to come.

they chose the rocky mountains of new mexico for an elk hunt and it was on~

on, in that they talked about it, texted about it, applied for licenses
(which isn't a given...it's a lottery system) and then they waited.
low and behold they got drawn for a week during the muzzle loader season
 and the real planning began.
there were more phone calls and planning meetings,
a ton of ups boxes dropped off on our doorstep.
if one guy got some cool gear, the other 3 wanted it too.
there was no way to know if it would be 20 below and snowing,
or sunny and warm so they had to plan for both.
(and secretly keep buying gear.)

they decided to hire an outfitter near the
pecos wilderness area which was were they would be hunting.
they would be riding horses into the mountains and the outfitter would
provide a tent, cots, a wood stove and basic cooking utensils.

the guys needed to bring clothing for all weather, sleeping bags and pillows,
guns, binoculars, hunting boots, day packs, water purifiers, toiletries, all the food
they would need for a wilderness week and first aid.
the only way you can travel in the area they went to is on foot
or horseback. nothing with a wheel is allowed, not even a wheelbarrow.  they
heard about a guy having a heart attack back there and he survived, but
laid in his tent for 3 days until they could get congressional
approval to go in with a 4 wheeler to bring him out.
*there are no cell phone towers where they were going.

i was pretty worried about the first aid situation.
they thought about a lot of what could go wrong (and so did i) and
even brought a needle and thread to do stitches if one of them
sustained a gaping wound.
(that's got to be why i saw whiskey being packed in a bag- duh-
who would want to stitch someone up stone sober~ewww).

another thing they needed was a way to get meat home if they were
lucky enough to get an elk, so that meant a trailer, a chest freezer and a
generator. they borrowed the trailer, bought an old freezer and eric had
a generator.

what we all worried most about, was how lars and his spoiled/beloved
dog were going to survive the separation. his final words to me weren't
"honey i love you and am going to miss you like ca-razy", they were:
"pleeeease take good care of my dog".

"ive got this, i replied" and as they drove away, i went in the house
and told both dogs, (eric's was here too), "boys, there's a new sheriff
in town. there will be less walks and more treats... now~ it's time
for you both to go take long naps."


they left oct. 4th and took turns driving the 18 hours straight through
 to new mexico. they stayed in las vegas NM the night before heading
into the mountains and took the last real showers they'd be taking for
8 days. this little town proved to be the meth capital of the world, so
they weren't too sad to depart for the woods come morning.  

cole brought his camera and all the photo credit is his. 
i don't really know the great stories of what all
happened on the trip, but i will sprinkle in some comments they've shared here and there
to keep it interesting.

this is long, and i'm documenting it mostly for our family. if i hold
your interest till the end then big kudos to you...
and to me.

as departure day got closer, piles piled up all over.
each guy was allowed one bag that weighed no more than 70 lbs.
that would be carried in on a pack horse and then they could
each have a day pack on their own backs, so they
have to carefully consider what to take and what to leave.


 after a long drive in one truck, here's a first look at las vegas, nm.
it's not all bright lights and casinos here folks. i have a feeling the hotel they
stayed in that night was little more than the tent they were
heading towards. lol

bright and early on the morning of oct. 6th, they headed to the outfitters and
got to meet the trusty steads that would carry them to their destination.
it might be worth noting here that none of these guys is a "horse person".
between the 4 of them they may have ridden 6 times previously.
eric claims he's allergic to horses too, so he brought benadryl  and downed a
couple before he mounted up.

i would have paid money to see the horse part of their journey. i fancy myself a horse
lover, but can hardly walk after i ride, so i kept encouraging lars to do some
hip stretching to prepare for the 2.5 hour ride.
(did he do it? prob not). hey, it's your achy bones my dear.
chris (below-far right) has a look on his face like "hmmmm" how do you drive these
things again?"

i think lars's horse was jojo. doesn't my hubby look happy and ready for adventure here? : )
the leather gloves are a nice added touch hon.
jojo had an idea to just take off and go exploring on her own, and because lars also didn't know
how to drive those things, he needed help getting back to the group and
waiting till the appropriate time to leave camp.

look at those beautiful mountains in the background~

already asleep eric? that benadryl works man!

can i just say that eric is a great storyteller? one of the funniest stories i heard was
that his horse tripped and went down on it's knee just as they were leaving camp and
so for the whole 2.5 hr. trek he was kind of lame. *this my friends is not the
funny part, (poor horsie). the funny part is that every so often the horse would
stumble again and there were parts of the trip where they were hugging a
steep cliff that would have meant certain death had they been 
pitched over, so the fact that "rocky" or whatever his name was was lame and would
occasionally falter, gave eric no assurance that he would even make it to base camp.

thank you jesus for the medication that had him slightly "out of it".

crossing a stream

beautiful golden aspen trees~

so, so gorgeous.

lars, eric, chris and cole.

here it is, home sweet tent.
the tepee was supposed to be for overflow gear but my
happy hubs wasted no time moving in to his own private quarters.
away from the 3 young bucks that all snore like big bears, the
quality of his sleep had just been kicked up a notch.

say goodbye to that horse guys, from here on it's all walking.
miles and miles of hiking every day to get to higher ground.

well look at this! almost as nice as las vegas. and no nasty carpet to deal with,
just nice natural ground. there was even a cow pie (that's poop for you non-farm kids)
in the tent, that they just left.
cole said they laughed many times about what a fit i would have
had about that.
this looks very safe and clean to me.
absolutely mountain lion and bear proof.

settled in, let the fun begin.

this was "their" stream. this stream provided them all their drinking and
cooking water and they fished in it a bit and washed up in it too.

lars had some in a water bottle after he got home and he wanted me
to drink some so i could experience it. i did and it was pretty good.
it tasted like... well, water.

they brought basic fishing gear and gave that a whirl and i think
this was their only catch. one fish taco coming up.

lars, eric and chris

eric and chris


cole's catch

eric sawing fire wood.


self timers come in real handy

shower water warming up?

i think cole may have inherited my love for creative images...

this is also one of my favorite stories, every day cole made "mountain potpourri"
and boiled it on the old stove to make the tent smell better.
(i would have just thrown out the cow pie- but hey- nice touch cole).

they did have a day when they were out hunting and rain rolled in. i guess it
was magical to watch it come in over the mountain peaks.

one night a low pressure system  also rolled in and it caused breathing problems.
lars woke up in his tepee, could not breath and was sure he was having a heart attack. I guess he could not
get any air in his lungs and was pretty sure that was how it was all goin down.
I asked him if he woke up the boys in the nearby tent for help and guess what~
nope, he just laid there scared and gasping till morning and then found out
eric had had a similar experience in the other tent. he too was freaked out, he
too woke no one, but at least he had an inhaler along that helped some.
boys will be boys and i guess that means you just suck it up
if you think you're dying?
really guys?
(they didn't know that the air pressure could do this to you i guess). scary.

the next series of photos are from when they were out hunting.
they walked an average of 10-15 miles a day.
chris was the drill sergeant waking them all up at 4:30 to
get some coffee going and get on the trails. they paired off most days
in sets of two and then when they were close to their destination they'd split
up and go off alone to hunt.
they had heavy day packs full of gear and portable stoves and they'd eat
on the trails during the day.
*sounds scary to me. how did they find their way back to camp?
they'd leave in the dark at about 5 a.m. and come back down from the mountain
after dark again.
gps's are a wonderful thing i guess.

cole's lunch cooking.



back at camp.
at the end of the wooden tent poles, the guys rigged up a

there is a pic of chris showering, but i was pretty sure
he'd rather i not share it.

one day chris decided to head to a different mountain than the
larson boys so he's not in this next group of photos.

i seriously love these photos of dale and his boys the day they climbed a very
big mountain together.
cole chose to take a straight up route that was brutal and
more challenging, while eric and lars went a different way for a
longer, but less steep assent. cole got to the top way ahead of them and that allowed him to
photograph them as they climbed.

cole's first sighting of them... just specks
this doesn't look that steep but the guys said it was. very.

i actually get a little choked up when i look at this picture.
lars taught his sons to love and respect nature and this
picture represents all the years of being in the great outdoors together bonding and
challenging each other~ getting up before the birds to sit in cold
deer stands and suffering hypothermia  together on cold frozen ice.
sometimes catching or bagging some critter for us to eat, but a lot of days coming home with
nothing but cold feet and more stories to tell.
then getting up and doing it all over again,
just for the experience.

oh i should mention that eric and lars worked really hard physically to be ready
for this adventure. lars lost about 25 lbs. and eric lost some too. they walked
and ran up hills and ate good food. chris stepped up his game too and was more
than ready for the hard work.
cole is a crossfitter and all he needed to do to be ready was show up.




it was a good day on the top of that big mountain- they did it.

it was unseasonably warm the week they were in the mountains and
that made for pleasant hunting, but not a lot of elk around.
elk don't like it warm so they go to higher elevations and
the old freezer came back on the trailer empty, but the guys had
full hearts.
grateful for the experience of being together and experiencing this kind
of wilderness camping.

here they're all packed up and waiting for the outfitters to come with
their horses and bring them back to civilization.
they look pretty darn good don't they?
no one needed stitching up- but all 3 of the young ones
banged up their knees falling in rough terrain about the second day.
they ran out of ibuprofen and maybe had to use the whiskey?
lars fell backwards and did a bunch of backwards
somersaults down a mountain, but because he's so
"styrka" (that's "strong" in norwegian) he didn't have any
lingering injuries.
eric had a bear encounter that left him scared and
heading for camp long before dark one day and when
he tells the story it's a good one.
i know as the years go by the bear will only get bigger and closer to him.
that's the nature of a good story.
i'm just relieved as hell (yes i said hell) that it was
just a good story and nothing else.

these 4 guys get along so great and have so much fun that now they're talking about
a pheasant hunt in SD next fall.

i asked lars to bring me back a souvenir from their trip. not something tacky
from a gas station. something from nature maybe? well, chris delivered.
when they got home he threw his gear from one truck to another in record time,
(anxious to see my daughter no doubt) ; ) said "see ya"
and was heading to his truck when he stopped and came back
towards me. he pulled something out of his pocket and said, "oh beth, here's
your souvenir". it was an old horseshoe he found. i love it.

i love that boy too.
love them all...glad they had such a great time and glad they are home.


thanks for reading my short story,
I will now resume my regularly scheduled life,

xo, beth


  1. I love love love this is THE BEST STORY EVER!!!!! I can't wait to see you in December!!

  2. P.s love you auntie

  3. Oh this story was definitely worth the wait!

  4. Great story and great pics! It looks like an amazing trip and great bonding time (a little scary for me). They will reminisce about this for the rest of their lives - what a wonderful experience for them!


comments from you make my day! thanks~