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From the Hunter's Balcony

John Whipple and Casey Dinkel Sheep Hunting Camp

As a hunter, we get to see things that others rarely, if ever, get the opportunity to witness. I think this is because when hunting, we are on a QUEST. We have a goal, a mission that goes far beyond that of the regular recreator. This quest pushes us to hike faster, venture farther, and to stay out longer than others do. We look for wilderness where no other man has trod, we venture out for weeks at a time, spending every precious minute of the day and good portion of the night prowling in search of our prey. If you spend enough time in the wilderness like this, it then that you begin to see some of God’s truly wondrous things. Eagles battling in mid-air for a scrap of meat from your kill, a pair of rams, battling for dominance, a waterfall cascading from un-named peaks to the valley floor far below, or a sunset bathing your wilderness in golden light and casting its long shadows across a world that feels, at least for now, like all your own…these are the views, from the hunter’s balcony.

This photograph was taken while Casey and I were on a hunt for Dall Sheep in 2015. This area turned out to be one of the most beautiful we had ever hunted, but the price for beauty was paid in sweat. The country was rugged, every ridge was knife edge, and every hillside was cut with deep gorge, so one could not walk the ridge lines, nor cruise slopes, but rather had to gain and lose elevation constantly. As we made camp however, there was no place in the world we would rather be.

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