There’s an elk roaming a mountain in Colorado right now.
He’s 11,000 feet above me.
It’s a bull elk. His antlers tower four feet above his head. He eats grass and flowers. He drinks from the clear, cool mountain streams. His surroundings are majestic, a wilderness untouched by man. There are no roads. No trails. He screams a bugle into the thin mountain air, challenging another male for his prize of getting laid. They always want to get laid.
This elk runs my fitness routine.
I will never see this elk, not alive anyway.
I don’t have the desire to shoot an elk. I’m content with killing my meat with a swipe of a debit card at the grocery store.
Scott will see this elk. He’ll lure this elk to him with his come-hither calls. He will pull back his bow and close one eye. And he’ll release. That’s what happens when the only thing on your mind is getting laid.
Scott is an outdoorsman. That’s what they call a man like him in 2016. But back in, oh I don’t know, 1870 circa Little House on the Prairie – Ma and Pa Burton would be chatting it up with Ma and Pa Wilder while gnawing on a turkey leg.
A turkey shot by Pa Burton. His survival instincts are incredible.
Fast forward to 2016 – the era of selfies in a cornfield. The hunt Scott is about to embark on is for elite fitness levels. Imagine carrying your house for the week on your back. Now imagine you’re carrying your house on an incline, not a smooth treadmill incline but a rugged incline. You’re going 6,000 feet up. You will be whacking down tree limbs, crossing streams and losing oxygen.
And that’s just the ascent.
If successful, descending will be brutal. Add 100 pounds to the house on your back and stumble back down the mountain. And then you do it again because elk meat weighs more than 100 pounds.
Scott will be accompanied by his friend, Hunter. They will not have any communication with the world, not even a nagging wife text. Scott and Hunter will be hunting an elk but they will also be surviving whatever mother nature decides to throw at them. A mountain lion. Freezing temperatures. Wounds that require stitches. I know how it sounds. It’s hunting at the highest level. It’s insanity.
It’s Pa Burton.
Scott’s workout routine at the gym includes a weighted vest and hiking boots. He spends hours on the stair stepper. He hikes in local parks with rugged terrain. He hikes with his backpack filled with 100 pounds of corn on the weekends. He drags me into the oven of 110 degree heat index. We don’t hunt together but we do workout together.
Scott is training his body to handle the extreme and unexpected. And I am choosing random times to sprint towards Scott – BOOM! – to see how fast his reaction is to an angry bear. Have you seen The Revenant? He could die if he’s not prepared.
There’s an elk roaming a mountain in Colorado right now. He’s taking me to levels of fitness I’ve never felt before.