My turn: Nature has no schedule

Patrick Lyons, 57, of Melrose has been hunter for 45 years and thought he had seen it all.

Lyons, New Mexico’s commissioner of public lands for the last eight years and an incoming Public Regulation Commission member, has had his share of unexpected developments — fine targets in sight only to discover the safety was on, or forgetting to load ammunition and hearing only an empty click instead of the roar of gunfire when squeezing the trigger.

But he said nothing compared to his recent experience with the elements.

Lyons was in British Columbia for what was supposed to be a 10-day hunt. It turned into 21-day battle with nature.

After arriving by plane, someone picked him up and they drove to the Canadian hunting camp. They rode horses about 35 miles into the wilderness, which took about three days.

Lyons said it started snowing and hunters and horses were pelted for three days until the snow was about two feet deep. They trudged through the snow for about a day and half hunting moose and caribou.

Then, he said, it started raining and poured for two days. The rain turned the snow into muddy slush that proved almost impossible to navigate. The horses were sinking up to their bellies.

It started snowing again. By then Lyons was 10-days late catching his plane.

Lyons said it wasn’t a complete loss. He did bag a moose and caribou.

And he gained new respect for nature and the elements.