A lot of my friends ask what my job at elk camp is, so I thought I'd give you a run-down of a typical day for me...It starts early! I'm in the house and making coffee and putting out a continental breakfast of cereals,rolls, bagels, juice etc before 5 a.m.
While the guys are eating breakfast and getting ready to go out, I make them each a sack lunch to take with them in case they decide to stay out until afternoon. Everyone is usually out of the house around 6:30 a.m. and I go back to my tent and nap for an hour or so, then I get ready and head back to the house between 8:30 and 9. I unload the dishwasher that I ran the night before, put away the hand wash stuff, clean up the breakfast mess, sweep the kitchen floor and straighten up the house...
by that time, usually one or more groups of hunters are back, so I make them hot breakfasts as they come in...I make a lot of biscuits and gravy, sausage, bacon and fried eggs and many many pots of coffee!
While I'm making hot breakfast and cleaning up after it, I'm also prepping either a big pot of soup or chile so everyone can have something hot to eat before they go back out in the afternoon.
I usually have a few free hours in the afternoon. Some of the guys go take naps and some of them just hang out and watch t.v. I either watch some t.v., or sit on the porch and read, weather permitting, and feed Khaleesi. Once the guys are all out of the house again around 3, I clean up their lunch dishes, sweep the gun room and the kitchen, vacuum the living room and bed rooms, dust, clean the bathrooms and do any laundry that needs to be done. I make an appetizer platter, set the table and prep dinner.
I'm usually done with those chores around 5:30 and have an hour or so to read or watch t.v. before the hunters start trickling in. During the later parts of the season, there's usually a hunter or two who have already filled their tags, and sometimes they'll stay behind on the night hunts, so I have some company in the house which is always nice! The trick with dinner at elk camp is, that depending on what time somebody gets their elk, and how far away they are, I have to be able to have dinner on the table within 30 minutes, anytime between 7 and 10 at night,so everything has to be ready to do the last minute.
Once a group comes in with an elk, I can gauge how much time it'll take them to be ready, so I'll have some time to go down to the shop and listen to the hunt stories while they're processing the elk. Everyone is happy when someone brings in an elk, and there are some pretty funny stories, I know I'm partial, but I have to say that Giant tells a great story, he doesn't just tell a story, he acts if out, as you can see here, lol!
On average, we eat about 8:30 or 9 p.m. and there's usually 10 to 12 guys to feed. I'm usually done with clean-up around 10 or 10:30 p.m. and have a few minutes to have a glass of wine and hang out with everyone before bed. Sometimes everything happens a little sooner and I'm done earlier, but sometimes it's later and it's closer to midnight before I'm done for the day...
So the days are really long and I work really hard, but the pay is good, and there are also a lot of perks, we get to go to my favorite place, Ouray and sit in the hot springs in between camps and on the way home, I've met some really nice guys, who are always very polite and appreciative, Giant and I have made some close friends at elk camp...
I do spend a lot of time in the house cooking and cleaning, but at least twice during the season I get to go out in the Ranger with Giant and either just go look at the elk and the beautiful countryside, or go hunting with him for our own elk, which is another great perk...fresh elk meat all winter! So, that's what Cookie does all day at elk camp, stay tuned for the last installment of elk camp 2012 and happytrails!