Reflecting back on the trip, I have to admit the experience was extremely physically and mentally exhausting. Camping at 12,000 feet wears you down because you cannot sleep and you get winded just walking a few yards. I suppose that could be the reason we were the only hunters in the area. Having numerous close encounters with elk, black bears, and mule deer was a dream come true! The weather was perfect and the night sky was nothing short of amazing. During the hike down, we ran into Andy and two of his hunting partners and spent some time swapping stories. I was very honored when Andy praised my dedication and determination then invited me back next year. Needless to say, I already have my tag application ready to submit next April.