I just returned from New Mexico for the second year in hopes of bringing home my second Rocky Mountain bull elk with my bow. I didn't harvest a bull, but I did manage to harvest a broken heart.
Almost anybody can relate to heartbreak, and if you haven't yet, you will. It's a powerful, relentless feeling that takes time to overcome. I've felt heartbroken when a relationship ended, or when I attended a funeral, or when I lost a pet, but this experience was different than every other time. It was a unique kind of aching in my chest, and one that I've started to realize many people feel but just don't talk about. It seems strange, dramatic, and unrealistic that simply being separated from an environment can create such a feeling, but it's as strong as every other time and doesn't involve another heart. The biggest difference is that I'd do it over and over again given the chance, whereas other times I can't wait for it to be over.
I've been to the mountains several times on family vacations or to visit a friend, but it never involved hunting. Last year, when I combined my love of traveling and hunting, it opened up this new world of possibilities. It suddenly magnified my desire to grow more in every possible way. I became hungrier for success than ever before and it lit a fire inside of me to chase my dreams. Being in the middle of nowhere stripped away the materialistic people and objects in my life and left me vulnerable in God's country. It forced me to reveal my strengths and weaknesses in multiple situations, but more importantly it allowed me to be myself without any expectations. My days consisted of chasing bugles, zero cell phone service, mountain naps, meditation, prayer, and fresh air. It makes you reconsider what's important during our time here on Earth and what you truly NEED to build an abundant, happy, life. When I returned home, life was less enjoyable and it even took a toll on my marriage because I wanted to turn back around. There was a long adjustment period to overcome that emptiness and I never thought I'd get my head right again.
This year was no different. I teared up multiple times before the trip while daydreaming of harvesting another bull, and I got emotional during my hunt because I had waited an entire year to experience it again, but nothing compared to the tears that came when I left those Gila Mountains after 5 short days chasing multiple bull elk. I woke up wishing I was putting in 10+ miles on those ridges, seeing double rainbows at higher elevations, and the euphoric sound of an echoing bugle in the canyons. The mountains literally feed my soul, and I envy those that wake up to them every day. One day I plan to have that same luxury. Until then, I will continue planning for my third consecutive heartbreak in 2017. It sounds so bizarre, to chase such a painful feeling, but it just hurts too good I guess!