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Get back to camp or let the horse do it.
This was written by Bud Hancock's son:
GET BACK TO CAMP OR LET THE HORSE DO IT
As a young boy my father would take me hunting or fishing with him, this was a happy thing in my life. The only thing I didn’t care for was when we got back home I was the one that usually got stuck with unpacking and putting the camping gear away. I don’t think mom enjoyed it a whole lot either, but that was a minor thing and we always got the stuff put away. Any way on with the story. Most of the time when your young you don’t realize how much your parents are trying to teach you things that may even save your life if you head their counsel. Usually after we had arrived at our camp site and set up camp dad would say to me, "which way is north?". He wanted to make sure that I had my directions straight. As we started out from camp he would say, "See where the sun is coming up and which direction the shadow of the trees fall?". As we walked along the trail looking for deer or as we were driving a canyon he would turn to me and ask me the same questions. Then he would ask me which direction camp was and I would point in the direction I thought camp was. Most of the time I was right, but when I was not dad would correct my direction and explain why I might have been off in my directions by saying, " remember we made a turn here or there and headed in this direction. As I thought back I could remember, "Oh yea, I remember." and we would go on with the hunt. Many times he would stop and ask me to look back to where we had just come and say, "What do you see that we just passed?" and I would point to a dead tree that had fallen over or an outcropping of rock. Then he would say to me, "Remember that, so that if you have to get us back to camp you will know you are on the right path and not lost. Dad would tell me that things look different as you work your way back to camp than they do when you leave and are going away from camp. He would have me look at mountain peaks that we could see above the trees and use those as an orientation point in keeping my directions straight. Many times dad would say, "Okay, get us back to camp." and let me take the lead. I must have been fairly obedient in remembering what dad was trying to teach me because the older I got the better I got at knowing where I was in relation to where camp was and how to get back there. To me it was a fun game I played with dad.
As I grew better at getting us back to camp by using the things Dad had taught me concerning the location of the sun throughout the day, the direction the tree shadows fall, using the mountain peaks as direction finders, and looking back to see where I had come from dad threw me a curve to all this. We started out from camp on horse back early in the morning, me on the back of the saddle holding on to dad. We had spent a long day hunting in and out of the timber, up this draw and down that not too far off the main trail. Just about dusk dad got his deer in one of the draws. We cleaned it and was ready to get it out of the draw on the horse, but found the horse was spooked by the smell of the deer and would not let dad put the deer on the back of the saddle. So, we left the deer hanging from the tree and had to get back to camp to get another horse that had carried many a deer on it back. We made it back to camp and back to the deer in good time. The problem came when we got the pack horse and the deer back out of the draw and back on the trail back to camp it was dark The further we got down the trail the darker it got until we could not see but a few feet in front of us. Dad had the pack horse on a rope tied to the horn of the saddle of the horse we were on. I could hear the sound of horses feet on the soft dirt trail as we rode back to camp. I didn’t know how to get back to camp and I sure hope dad did cause I sure didn’t. As I sat on the back of the saddle, I hung tighter to dad. I was feeling very insecure. There was no sun, no tree shadows, no mountain tops, and no looking back or forward. It was very dark. As I was feeling as lost as I possibly could, dad said out of the darkness, "If I weren’t here how would you get back to camp?" There was total silence on my part as I tried to think of a single way of getting us there. All of a sudden six words popped into my mind, "I don’t know. How do we?" Dad was about to teach me another very important fact about getting back to camp when you don’t know how. Dad said," Loosen the reins on the horse and give him his freedom to lead and he will get us back to camp." My Grandpa taught Dad and then Dad taught me. This is a good pattern for learning important things.
Often times in our lives we have to rely on someone or something else to lead us when we don’t know the way to proceed. As I have grown older I have come to understand that there is someone that will always be there with me when I am not sure which way to go or how to proceed with something. I now have a sure conviction that the gift of Holy Ghost that I was given after my baptism will always be there to guide me when I need help. If I will ask for the help I need and then listen carefully to the Spirit and to his promptings I will know what to do, always.