Fishing in Lower Red Castle Lake

Reflections from Red Castle

Red Castle from the south Last weekend, I had the opportunity to ditch civilization for four days and spend time backpacking in the High Uintas. We’ve all heard numerous times about the importance of taking a break from technology, but there’s an added element to it when you’re out of service and your phone only works as a camera and a watch. Surrounded by the outdoors, without screens, buzzes and beeps is a strange relief you can’t really explain until you experience it.

Highline Trail MarkerI hesitate to call the trip relaxing, though — hiking twelves miles in and out, plus two days of exploring at 11,000 feet isn’t the same as laying on the beach — but it was refreshing. It was nice not to worry if I was sitting too much at my desk or if there was something coming up that I was forgetting. It was nice to approach life at a basic, almost primeval level. Everything I had, I carried in on my back. My concerns were limited to staying warm and dry, eating, drinking and sleeping. No emails to answer, no word counts to hit, nothing but survival.

Lower Red Castle Lake

There is a power in the wilderness that asserts itself on a person.

I don’t want to sound overly dramatic at this point. There was plenty of food and the weather was amazing. From time to time, however, I believe it is important for humans to step outside of our little bubbles and reassesses the true scope of things. Surrounded by imposing walls of rock, you’d be crazy to feel in charge or in control and that’s a good thing. There is a power in the wilderness that asserts itself on a person. We should not underestimate the importance of being humbled on occasion, of feeling small in the midst of nature’s majesty. Out there, your’re an insignificant blip. In the long run, any mark you leave will be erased. Even the mountains bow to the patient, erosive might of time.

Fishing in Lower Red Castle Lake The wild doesn’t care what your name is, how much you money you earn or if you’re building an author empire. It doesn’t care what color your skin is, if you’re pretty or ugly, or anything else. Aside from death, the wilderness is the only great leveler. You can respect it and prepare for it, but you cannot command it.

There’s a Chris LeDoux song from 1979, back in the days when he was a rodeo cowboy and and indie musician (I doubt he called himself that but it makes me feel a certain kinship with him, so I will). To my knowledge, it was never released as a single and never charted. Still, it’s a song I wish more people had the opportunity to listen to, especially when one considers the implications of a life in the grind and an absence of nature.

With that in mind, I’d like to cut this post a little short and end with the lyrics to Jeans and Good Leather.  

White shirts and neckties
The way that my check flies
Are part of what’s wrong with my soul
Risin’ expenses and all kind of fences
Keep me from where I’d like to go
Work complications and stiff conversations
They sometimes drive me up the wall
Make me want ta holler to hell with this collar
Walk out and just chunk it all

What I need is denims and a place to get in ’em
And walk over Gods open land
And boots of good leather I’d wander wherever
I found the beauty from his mighty hands
Lots of wide-open spaces and quite simple places
Tells me it’s pack up and go time
Cause in jeans and good leather
Son I could be better in no time

I gaze in the mirror and press my face nearer
To check out the lines one by one
Round eyes that were brighter
On cheeks growin’ lighter
That were once so brown from the sun
As I spend starin’ I find myself darein’
The image that’s lookin’aa at me
To throw off the fetter and seek somethin’ better
A life that’s simple and free

What I need is denims and a place to get in ’em
And walk over Gods open land
And boots of good leather I’d wander wherever
I found the beauty from his mighty hands
Lots of wide-open spaces and quite simple places
Tells me it’s pack up and go time
Cause in jeans and good leather
Son I could be better in no time

Cause in jeans and good leather
Son I could be better in no time

 

 

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