I took Ace, as my most experienced dog, and started walking up the trail. We started at 5400' elevation and it looked like perfect Ruffed country. Up and up, through the woods, Ace worked 50-100 yards to either side. Finally, I looked at the time and I was late. We reached 6900' when we turned around. Moose sign on the trail, deer and Elk tracks. Locals say mountain lion are through these mountains, as well. At any rate, the sun was almost on the tops of the Crazies, so we needed to hiaco on down the trail.....right then Ace's pager went off!
Point! And he was 100 yds UP the mountain! Argh! I gave him a little time to make sure he was serious and then I started the climb up to him. I had to stop, right before I got to him, to catch my breath. My next step triggered a flush of a blue grouse. A quick shot and he tumbled. When Ace went for the retrieve another grouse launched out and Ace delivered him to my hand, too.
We turned and hustled down the trail, getting to the truck with barely enough daylight. We met some elk bow hunters and chatted for a short time while we cleaned the birds. Then, it was get in the truck and let's get off this mountain!
A great end to a long day. Even the terrible road down felt a little smoother!