Mountain hunting doctrine is predicated on air movement. When temperatures fall or remain stable -- in the evening, during the night, and early in the morning -- cold air, which is heavier than warm air, settles in valleys. Consequently, air currents are downslope. As temperatures rise with the sun, however, current direction shifts. Cold air is warmed and rises, and drafts are upslope. Air, therefore, determines the direction in which you should hunt: uphill early in the morning and downhill through the day. We had no choice. Everything was uphill. We needed to gain as much altitude as possible before the currents changed, so we were up at 4 a.m. and climbing by 5. And still climbing at 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10. The higher we got, the elkier it looked. We hit a fresh wallow, found beds and droppings, and occasionally smelled the dirty-sock scent of elk. But no one was talking. When we hit rimrock, we turned south, paralleling the river 2,000 feet below us.