Last week I took the first real time off work at the paper that I have taken in over 15 months.
It was the best thing I could have done.
When planning that vacation away, I decided I was going to go somewhere, although the personal travel budget I had set aside looked like the Mother Hubbard's cupboard of finance.
But I did have some parameters. First I wanted to go somewhere alpine and cool. I wanted to do some fishing, ride my ATV, lay in a still existent snow bank and do some real hiking. I also wanted to be sure no cell phones would be ringing there, not mine, nor anyone elses.
So I went to the north slope of the Uinta Mountains; Browne Lake to be exact.
I trudged over Indian Canyon with my trailer and four wheeler in tow. Then I passed through Vernal and up that tough switchback that takes one to Flaming Gorge. When I arrived at Browne Lake, it was nearly deserted with only a few people in the campground and the camp host driving around checking on things.
But I found I couldn't get away from it. That camp host turned out to be an old newspaper man, in fact he had been the circulation manager for a California paper for years. He and I talked for awhile about the business and that was basically the last I thought about newspapers for the next four days.
They say a change is as good as a vacation, but this vacation was much better than just a change. I fished in four different lakes, rode my ATV to places unknown and hiked into some others. I found the weather ranged from one night with a little scattering of snow during a very wet storm to warm days of 80 degrees to one frost filled morning when everything had a half inch of Jack Frost's residue on it.
It was the best vacation I could have had, and I did it for only a couple of hundred bucks. Such a deal.
Best of all it made me forget about every day life and the grind of putting out two newspapers a week. It made me forget about all the projects I have going on at home, the troubles some of my kids have been facing lately, the acrimony I sometimes face at work and the worlds seemingly bad state of affairs at times.
It was not only a clearing of the lungs in cool (and sometimes cold) mountain air, but also a clearing of the mind. It gave me new found respect for the beauty of nature and how the flora and the fauna of the world could care less about my problems. Being below those high snow capped peaks and wading through a snowbank near Spirit Lake as the wind blew fiercely actually forcing water over the spillway in big waves, made me realize how unimportant my problems are in the realm of things.
During the trip I got hot and sunburned on one day, and nearly froze to death on another. I got wet, dirty, sweaty, didn't take a shower for most of a week and grew a "vacation" beard. I spent no time at a fancy resort other than to eat lunch one day at the Red Canyon Lodge, I had no massages, no golf clubs to throw, no craps tables to visit, no tour guides and no shopping to do, other than to get supplies and a fishing license on my way.
For some this would be no vacation, or no holiday as the British would put it. But for me, it was the perfect respite from life.
It is each persons choice of what helps them get through the daily grind, but I know, for me, I will be waiting impatiently for the next time I can spend more than a weekend in the mountains of our great state.