When I was young I used to hunt pheasant, quail, and chukar. I downed many a pheasant and quail, but the chukar always eluded me. Chukars are smarter. You hear them rustling in the bush, but they don't flush easily. They draw you in, you follow their movements as they descend off the plateaus and down the ravines, hoping they'll flush eventually. But before you notice, you're in the bottom of a scrubby coulee. Skunked by their siren call, and you gotta hike all the way back out.
We weren't hunting chukar today, but figuratively they were calling us down the coulee, lap after lap of light dust powder on facet crunch.
And we had to hike all the way back out. That's as far as the metaphor goes. More fatigued every time, but we didn't mind.