I feel your excitement. I'm going on my first elk hunt during the first rifle season in Colorado unit 75. I took a brief overnight backpacking trip into my area in July during the course of a family vacation to Durango. That trip was a wake-up call for my physical conditioning -- I stepped it up an notch and feel that I will be substantially better prepared than I was in mid-July. I've got most of my ducks in a row now, but there are still some loose ends to tie up.
My hunt is a DIY backpacking trip into the Weminuche Wilderness area. I have to acquire my food. I need to continue shooting practice (complicated by my local gun range going out of business the last weekend in August). I need to have my truck looked over again by the mechanic (had it tuned up before the July trip to Durango, but that drive created a rattle I would like to have fixed).
It has been hot as an inferno in Texas most of this summer. It has cooled off the last week, and I'm definitely looking forward to cool mountain air in Colorado.
One thing I found on my backpacking trip was that there were a lot of bugs out this summer in the high country. I suspect they will have been laid to rest by freezes by then, but I am planning to remember to take bug repellant for the mid-October hunt.
I am conscious of being careful about not getting injured between now and the hunt. I began to have some pain in the back of my heel during running. I was afraid I had developed a serious injury -- for example plantar fasiciitis -- but I think it was just the heel of my old running shoe rubbing on the back of my heel. I'm trying to take particularly good care of myself now, as there isn't much time left to recover from any injury that might befall me now.
Out here in Colorado, and in the units that I haunt, it is a tricky game to figure out how far to pack in on a rifle hunt. You want to get away from the masses that have moved game away from the roads but might want to stay close enough that you are taking advantage of the animals forced movements. There is no universal distance but I like the 1.5 to 4 mile range for day hunts where I am not planning on bivying out. This keeps you in that productive buffer zone where the animals are really...