Birthday Present

IMG_5824July 3rd, 2015 Team Astro was hiking in moose country in western Montana. It was my birthday, and we had already done a bit of challenging bushwhacking. Not exactly the kind of travel you want on your birthday. Fast forward a few hours we return to our trail of dry open brush and  scattered trees. Good trail was a blessing. My comrades were in front of me, not too far away. Left of the trail was an open grassy area were I saw an inch of a white pointy rock sticking up above the grass. I couldn’t figure out what it was, so I wandered off trail for 30 feet. I looked down to find a giant moose antler. At first I didn’t know if I should even touch it. Maybe the moose wanted it back. I gently picked it up and it felt like it had energy in it. Not just a bone you find on the ground. I shouted to my friends. And there it was. There most beautiful find of my life in the outdoors. I don’t consider myself very materialistic. I don’t need lots of useless stuff in my life, but this is something that I would love to cherish forever. My amazing 43rd birthday present. We took lots of photos with Team Astro and the antler and then the problem of what to do with it. We were seventy miles from the next resupply, and who knows if I could even mail it. It weighed about 15-17lbs. Carrying it was out of the question. My backpack could not take it. It’s really only designed to carry 30-35lbs total. I decided to hide the antler, take a GPS reading and send it to my friend Train who lives in eastern Washington. I told him that if he was willing to drive out there hike for the antler, then he could keep it. I decided that the antler should either go to my friend, or back to nature. The best part for me was finding it. And believe me I was overjoyed. Convinced I was in the right place at the right time, with the right people. This is why I hike.

Three weeks later we got an email back from Train. He and his boyfriend Andrew drove out to Montana hiked to where I had hidden the antler and found it! But the most amazing part of the story is this: They also found the other missing antler! Thanks Train for sharing  these photos…(Click to enlarge photo)