After years of talking about doing a true western elk hunt, my friends and I finally got serious in early 1997 and did something about it. After reading through literally hundreds of outfitter brochures we targeted Wyoming and selected an outfitter. But we failed to get drawn for tags, even after spending the extra money to increase our chances (60 percent) with the more expensive ($610) "special" permit draw. I called a list of back-up outfitters, but none of them had openings for the bugle season in late September. Then finally something positive happened. I had come across Jack Atcheson & Sons, Inc. booking agents while reading a magazine, and again while checking a reference on another outfitter. As a last ditch effort, I called them and spoke with Jack, Jr. He asked what type of hunt we were looking for, where we wanted to hunt, the dates and other important information. I told him we wanted a true back-country western elk hunt, the kind you see in all the hunting magazines. We definitely did not want to hunt from a fancy lodge where you walk out the door, see 200 elk, take your pick of the group, then come back in for lunch. We wanted to hunt these majestic animals on horseback, and walk, climb, eat, and sleep with absolutely no modern conveniences. We wanted a great experience, memories and magnificent scenery. And maybe one of us would be lucky enough to fill a tag. Well, we got it all.
Jack recommended Mile High Outfitters out of Challis, Idaho. References checked out perfectly, and our dates were available, so we booked the hunt. We flew to Boise, Idaho, and spent the night. The next morning we flew a bush plane 1-1/2 hours back into the Frank Church Wilderness area. Our trip had begun. All the months of waiting were over. We landed in Cold Meadows airstrip, which is basically a patch of land in a meadow big enough for the plane. We met the owner of Mile High there, along with our guide, Travis Bullock. We were fitted for horses and saddles as........(continued)