With fall truly settling in, it was high time for a trip up North. So, we packed up the Forester and my dad’s truck on Friday and headed up to Menahga for the weekend last weekend. Saturday was deer hunting opener, so my dad and Andy were preparing for the big day.
The house in Menahga used to be my grandma’s, then it was my uncle’s, and now my cousin owns it. I grew up running through the woods around the house, hopping fences, and visiting the neighboring cows (it helps that I’m related to virtually half the town). I used to spend weeks in the summer up there, so it feels like a second home. The woods are so familiar.
We got there Friday afternoon and started setting up.
It was so nice to be back in the woods again.
Even if we did find a random bicycle in a tree — maybe that made it more artistic?
Listening to the birds chirping and the squirrels chattering, I could feel my body begin to relax and release the stresses of the previous weeks. As my dad and Andy worked, I scoured the woods for wildlife.
And tested the tree stand.
We headed back to the house for an early dinner and bed. They’d be getting up bright and early the next day to head out into the woods before sunrise. And though I thought I’d want to sleep in, I ended up awake with them, preparing for my own adventure.
I headed into the woods near the house, armed and ready for sunrise. I found a fallen tree to perch on, the perfect location for scouting. As the sun started to rise, I prepared myself.
What I was unprepared for was the sunrise that followed. My mouth dropped open at the beauty.
Fire lit up the sky as it came to life before me. Just amazing.
As I sat, perched on my log trying to stay still, I waited for a sign of movement in the field in front of me.
I shot a lot of animals that day. All with my camera!
I heard gunshots all around me, and though I grew up in a hunting family, my heart went out for the animals in the woods who must have been terrified. After my body was stiff with cold, I peeled myself off of my fallen tree and headed back to the warmth of the house. There, I jotted down some thoughts from the woods.
I wanted to search for more wildlife, so I hopped in my Forester and hit the dirt back roads, scouting for more.
Later in the day, I took a walk in the woods near the house to visit the place where my childhood dog, Brownie, is buried. And I checked out my old tree fort, now in derelict condition.
That night, we all went to bed early, preparing for another early day in the woods. Once again, I woke up with the rest of them and headed into the forest. This time, I had planned differently. I found an abandoned chair at the edge of the field and made myself comfortable.
It was a much quieter morning, both from gunshots and wildlife. I did see two deer sprint through the field in front of me, their hooves pounding the hard ground.
I got cold faster on Sunday, so I headed back to the house and my car to look for more critters.
I found this cutie.
And I found signs of deer on the property.
Then I went for a drive to find more critters.
That afternoon, I went back to my chair at the edge of the field and soaked in the sunlight. Even though it was cold up north, the sun felt amazing. It was a wonderful weekend away, and I was really happy I decided to go with — even if I did help drag a deer out of the woods.
It was a good thing I soaked in the sun when I could; on my drive back home, I drove into rain. And since then, it has just continued to grow colder. We even got snow.
After Andy dumped the RV yesterday, he took some extra time to set up our external cold protection — the skirt and heat lights.
We’re trying to stay as warm as we can for now — it’s still a cozy little place for all of us to snuggle together!