I hadn't seen any bucks to pursue from the last two glassing spots, and I wanted to take another shot at hiking in somewhere for multiple days. I picked a nearby spot where I could seek productive views for a few days in a row and headed up a valley with no obvious trail.
This area held a lot of the things I was looking for in deer habitat. There was water in the creek below and rocky cover above, and there were patches of aspens and evergreens, mountain mahogany, and bitterbrush dotting the open sagebrush country.
This was the first time I've been up close with a noticeable amount of mountain mahogany, and I really enjoyed those little trees. They gave the place an exotic look, like the African savanna, where related species are found in more abundance.
I also enjoyed some of the largest juniper bushes I've ever seen. This one smelled good from several yards away.
I pitched camp in a grove of aspens and spent (Spent: The wing position of many aquatic insects when they fall on the water after mating. The wings of both sides lay flat on the water. The word may be used to describe insects with their wings in that position, as well as the position itself.)
the evening glassing the valleys on both sides of a small ridge without seeing a single deer. There were elk, though.
In the evening, some other day hunters came up close to my position on foot, and some different ones came through on horseback the next morning. They were all after the elk, using an unmapped but well-beaten trail up the valley adjacent to the one I'd hiked in.
I had good light for glassing the next morning, but again I didn't see deer, just scattered elk.
It seemed I had once again walked into an elk spot looking for deer, and my attempt to get away from other hunters by hiking a valley with no trail was thwarted by that unmapped trail from the other side. Given that knowledge, I decided to back out and try something new again rather than push on up the mountain.
On the way out, I crossed paths with a large bull Shiraz moose that seemed to have been injured by a hunter.
This was the best photo I could get of the moose through my spotting scope with a handheld phone.