By Mike Willis
Some of the most incredible discoveries that I have ever made were the result of me bushwhacking after getting turned around in some remote wilderness.
There is nothing quite like exploring new and unfamiliar territory. I am always full of excitement as I hike around, filled with anticipation, hoping to discover something amazing.
It is a blessing and a curse to be filled with excitement and wonder when I become lost. While ordinary people strive to never place themselves in a situation in which they don’t know where they are, I commonly strive to hurl myself into the great unknown.
I commonly find a thick, nasty patch of dense pacific northwest forest and shove myself into the new world awaiting me on the other side. I discover hunting areas by asking myself, “Where would no person in their right mind ever go?” It is at that point that I begin my descent into the depths of timber hell. Steep and almost untraversable terrain presents a significant amount of risk but rarely comes without reward.
Whether you find a shed antler, bedding area, or a new huckleberry patch, these treks often lead you to areas untouched by humans. By pressing into something just past the point of misery, you have far separated yourself from the average hunter. The path of least resistance is a well-worn path that rarely yields anything memorable.
This year I discovered a bumper crop of morel mushrooms as I tried finding a new way back from my remote trail camera location. Just about the time that I started to feel that I had made a horrible mistake, I stumbled upon a mushroom mecca.
During the times that your gear is getting shredded and you almost lose an eye, keep going just a little further. These are the places that you suddenly find yourself stepping into the secret sanctuary of the animals tough enough to live there.
Having a GPS is extremely important if you are going to blaze a trail. Whether you want to mark your new findings or back out of your hairbrained plan to walk through these jungles, you need a good GPS. A fascinating adventure can turn south quickly if you can’t find your way out, and you start running out of resources.
I typically try to scout these kinds of areas outside of the hunting season. During the summer or after the hunting season are good times that will reveal a much larger piece of the puzzle.
It can be a mistake to bust brush during the middle of your season. This is an excellent way to ruin a new spot before realizing its potential. These mistakes can cause the animals to move on immediately. After all, the reason they are there is because no one ever goes there!
Being in these tough to access locations gives the animals a sense of security and confidence that is sure to present incredible opportunities for you in the seasons to come.