The air is clean, although there are few trees. Above 11,000ft, we are higher than most trees. Instead, grasses and wildflowers blanket the ground surrounding this high mountain lake. Permanent snow packs layered on nearby peaks frame this picturesque setting. It is surreal, like walking into a fairytale. I can’t help thinking, “How can this much beauty exist undisturbed in today’s world?” Yet it does.
Small snowmelt trickles feed the lake in all directions. It is the only noise that can be heard and the soft babbling is soothing. The air may be thinner with less oxygen up here, but the mind is clear. City distractions seem like distant memories. One could be content simply taking in the beauty, but one could also take in the beauty while casting at wild cutthroat trout.
In the crystal clear shallows, trout patrol the banks, searching for food. A gentle cast, placing a beetle fly twenty feet in front of the roaming trout produces fish after fish. The trout seem to be circling the banks as they continue to appear one after the other. They are almost identical 12-14" fish, all vibrant in color. Each fish approaches with caution, not one attacks the fly. Rather they gently sip the fly, or refuse the offering and continue patrolling the banks. There is no rush, no hurry among the fish. I dwell on this thought, laying the rod down beside me, turning my gaze to the snow covered cliffs, then up to the clouds before closing my eyes and allowing the soft babble of running water to lull me to sleep. There is no rush.