As many of you know by now, Judith O’Keefe will never shy away from a fishing trip and we’re glad to hear that our products keep her adventure going, no matter how treacherous the terrain can get, much like in this following instance. Go Judith!
The water levels all over Southeastern Oregon look as if it is late spring rather than late fall. Streams and creeks, which are normally low or dry by now, are flowing at record levels. Because of the incredible water flow, it is only natural that we also have more of everything else: native and non-native plants, animals and birds. This is an incredible ecosystem, and I feel privileged to observe its cycles and seasons. Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is one of the crown jewels of the National Wildlife Refuge System and is managed carefully to protect a vast complex of wetlands in the high desert. Common upland plants like sagebrush, greasewood and Great Basin wild rye provide forage for deer and antelope. They also offer nesting sites for duck, pheasants, thrashers and quail.
The refuge is open to upland bird hunters just a few weeks out of the season, and luckily for me, the day after Thanksgiving I was going out into this wonderland to hunt for rooster pheasants. The grey morning quickly turned into a bright and clear fall day; the air was crisp and clean, just the way we like it. The road out to “the favorite spot,” like most roads that take us to those magical places, was a combination of dirt and gravel, filled with its share of potholes and various obstructions. Getting there is half the fun, right? After opening and closing what seemed like a dozen gates, we’d finally arrived. I parked the pick-up, and as I closed the truck door a couple of hen pheasants flew off 50 yards away. I just knew this was going to be a great afternoon, but it was also clear our work was cut out for us. Water rushed through what should have been a dry creek bed, brush loomed over my head, and just one dog and three humans were here to cover all this ground.
The dog, the birds or the natural beauty all around, could easily have been the star of this show, but this time it was my Filson Women’s Shelter Cloth Brush Pants. While I love all of my Filson clothing, to say I now have a special appreciation for my brush pants would be a gross understatement. They literally saved the day as I plowed through shoulder-high cattails, thistles and some wicked brush. I don’t want to sound like a lightweight, but without my brush pants I might have considered turning around.
So I’m going to save the rest of the story for another day. Suffice it to say, without the brush pants none of it would have happened. Thank you, Filson.