Two different backpackers on a different mission with different results

Several weeks ago, I wrote a column about two friends, Scott Matheus and Jeff Nowling, backpacking on a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail.

As you may remember, they began at Ebbetts Pass, planned to hike to Kit Carson Pass (a distance of about 30 miles), but broke off at Wet Meadows Lake due to hordes of mosquitoes.

This column is about two different hikers in a different part of the country on a different mission with different results.

This is the story of John Enos and Dave Beronio, both residents of Douglas County.

If you are a reader of the "Outdoors" page, then you previously read where Enos was one of a very lucky and very few Nevada big game hunters who drew a highly-coveted Rocky Mountain Goat tag.

He drew his tag for the same big game management area (No. 102) in the Ruby Mountains of Northeastern Nevada, where I bagged my Goat in the 2001 hunting season.

I got that Billie in the area of "The Old Man of The Mountain," which is extremely high and rugged terrain, right smack on top of the Ruby Mountains.

A few weeks ago, Norm Budden of Carson City (who was with me on my hunt) and I met with Enos and Beronio.

At that meeting, we passed on all kinds of information and photographs to help Enos with his upcoming hunt.

Based on our input and with additional information from other sources, the two of them decided to backpack into that area to check it out and to scout for any potentially nice Billies.

On the afternoon of July 22, they drove to Elko, had dinner at the Stockman's Hotel, and then drove to Lamoille, where those young whippersnappers played pool at O'Carrol's Bar in Lamoille until the wee hours of the morning.

That's the unfair advantage that youth has over old Geezers like Norm and I. We would have been in bed, right after dinner.

After shooting pool, they drove as far up the mountain as they could and then slept for about three hours.

They got up at 6 a.m. and started their hike up the mountain. The biggest understatement of the year is when I said they started their hike UP.

That country is very rugged and very steep, and every direction seems to be straight uphill.

Heck, even "youngsters" in good condition like those two have to get tired, sooner or later, so after climbing for 9.5 grueling hours, they finally called it quits for the day.

They camped next to a large snowdrift, the source of their water for drinking and coffee.

Then, after a "Gourmet" dinner of freeze-dried Minestrone soup (YUK!) and garlic mashed potatoes (double YUK!), they turned in for the night.

When Beronio got up after daylight to answer a call from Mother Nature, he stepped out of their backpacker tent to look right in the eyes of three goats, less than 100 yards away.

During that day, as they hiked, scouted and glassed the countryside, they saw 14 goats (including one record-book Billie) and 7 buck mule deer.

I'm not supposed to tell you where they saw that magnificent Billie, but based on their photos, I can attest that it is truly a trophy!

By comparison, for my 5-day hunting trip (1 day to travel by horseback to base camp, 3 days of hunting and 1 day to come out), we only saw 13 goats.

On Saturday, just like Norm and I did on my hunt back in 200, they sat on a rocky ledge, high up on The Old Man of The Mountain: They looked straight down through their field glasses into Upper and Lower Cold Lakes to watch the Eastern brook trout swimming in the waters of those two lakes.

So, John Enos: You now have some interesting challenges:

You have one of a very few Rocky Mountain Goat hunting tags for the 2005 Nevada hunting season: Don't mess up.

You have awesome pictures of a record-book Billie that you spotted and you know where it is located: Don't mess up.

Whether or not you harvest a goat, that tag is a "Once In A Lifetime" hunting tag for goats in Nevada: Don't mess up.

The pressure is on you to come through: Don't mess up.

Sheriff Ron Pierini of Douglas County and I took our Billie Goats in that same area, and we are waiting to see how you do on your hunt: Don't mess up.

Good Luck on your hunt!

• Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you how much my Billie goat weighed.

If he grins and says, "The game warden at the Elko regional office estimated that Billie's weight at 300 pounds and it was the heaviest of 22 which were harvested that year," he could have been there, when I checked my goat in at that NDOW office.

Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal.


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