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July 22, 2011.
The last time I did a serious mountain hunt was August, 2008, when I hunted the North Slope of the Brooks Range for Dall sheep and grizzly. I was 41 years old, and in the best shape of my life. I trotted up and down mountains behind my ex-Green Beret guide for 10 days with a big pack on my back and a big grin on my face.
The best thing about sheep hunting, I think, is being in sheep shape. It is unbelievably liberating to be able to go where you want to go, especially with all the great places there are to go in sheep country. I miss that feeling of limitless possibility.
As so often happens, I was not able to stay in that kind of peak condition for long. Work and family commitments took up time that could no longer be spared for exercise. And, I lost my focus. When our second child came home in December, 2009, what little time I had in my schedule was wiped out, and my physical condition reached new heights of mediocrity.
Being middle-aged is one thing, being middle-aged and fat is another. So I've decided to commit to another mountain hunt as soon as finances allow. With that goal to work towards, I think I'll have the focus I need to get back in shape.
I thought about another Alaska sheep hunt, but I think I'm going to try something new instead. I've long been fascinated with ibex, and have started researching hunts for these fantastic Asian goats.
Mongolia is a popular choice, but the subspecies that live in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan grow bigger. Kyrgyzstan offers the biggest billies of all. So, I've set a tentative goal of hunting ibex in Kyrgyzstan in 2013.
Still need to save some money and do a bunch more research, but the stake is in the ground.
This plan isn't so solid that I'll run out and by a Kyrgys-English dictionary this weekend - but Training Hike #1 is scheduled for Sunday, July 24th. Which leaves me with about 800 days to get in shape for Fall 2013.
For old-time's sakes, here's a link to my (long-winded) story of my 2008 Alaska hunt.
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