by Eugene C. Scott
Two months after our wedding The Redheaded-Wildflower (my wife Dee Dee) ventured into the magnificent mountains I first experienced backpacking when I was in ninth grade. Crater Lake sleeps high in the Colorado Rockies and boasts solitude, formidable fishing, romantic nights under a billion stars, and the glacier I’d nearly lost my life on. At the trailhead we saddled ourselves with backpacks, prayed, and started climbing. For the first few miles, we were a couple of newly-married hippies chattering and dreaming about our first trip into the wilderness together. Soon, however, we were confronted by a cowboy standing behind a barb-wire fence with a rifle laid in the crook of his arm.
“Trail’s closed,” he barked.
“How can you close off a National Forest?” I said.
“This is private property.”
He moved the rifle subtly and The Redheaded-Wildflower grabbed my elbow. We had planned this trip with as much detail as our wedding. Reluctantly, we hiked back to our old yellow Subaru, angry and disappointed. We tossed our packs in the back and sulked back to the highway, trying to figure out what now to do with our freeze-dried meals and precious dreams.
That was not our last exposure to unexpected and disappointing boundaries.
Seldom have we viewed them as pleasant.
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Eugene is a retired pastor who lives in Colorado, his native state. He loves the wilderness and is yearning to dive back into it. He is an avid, though not always successful, hunter and fisherman. He also hikes, camps, and hangs out in aspen groves. He seldom goes on any of these of ventures without his family, friends, and camera and journal. His wife of 44 years, Dee Dee, a.k.a. The Redheaded-Wildflower, also loves the mountains.
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Read more of Eugene’s writing at eugenecscott.com.
Though retired, Eugene continues to coach others in life skills and spiritual formation. He has written for Christianity Today, Bugle Magazine, and many other journals. His poetry has appeared in The Edge of Faith and @host.collective. Eugene is currently writing a book on how to manage fear.