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‘When I Learned’
The Colonel Remembers A Lesson: Upper Setting Mountain, Utah, 9/29/22
© 2022 James LaFond
APR/26/23
The Colonel dropped me off halfway up the mountain at 10:30 and agreed to pick me up at 2:30, which he did. The black powder hunt was on for deer, with only one gunshot heard in four ours.
“I really appreciate you coming out here and picking all these berries for us. People who came up here, we never did that, other than choke cherry and elderberry. Rose hips, Oregon Grape, ash berries, never used the stuff ‘till now. It’s ice to get back to a more natural way of living. You using the opportunity to see these parts to help out, that is much appreciated.
“Would you look at these people? It’s one thing to shoot a dear from the road on your way home from work. But when you have a week and the game is going deep down in these draws and up the mountain, what kind of young man hunts from the road? There was a fella up here with his son, who drew out on a moose, a once in a lifetime draw, and we had seen the moose and told him where it was, that they were going to have to hike in a couple miles, and they just kept glassing from the road, waiting for that wary animal to mosey on up to them.
“That pretty little creek you were following, that comes out of Castle Lake. When I was a young man, a long time ago, before the Army, I had driven up below Castle Lake, dismounted, hunted camped. The road was a real good way of accessing deep country for hunting and fishing on foot. Well, I’m driving down that old access road, not something you take ina car. I had a little willy jeep I bought for that.
“Up that road came these two fellas all rigged up in authentic mountain man gear, who had walked all the way up there from where I dropped you off the other day, hiked up the draw along the stream. They asked me how I got up there in a vehicle and I told them, that this was country I had fished, hunted and logged since I was a little shit, since I was five. This was my own back yard and I knew it like the back of my hand, and were they pissed when they found out that there was an old logging road that was still open. The government wasn’t keeping it open—we were. Tree falls across the road, you clean it up.
“These were big wigs in the Forest Service from down in Salt lake City. Well, the next year when I came up to hunt Castle Lake, dozers had come up and plowed in the road. Those sons of itches, came to my country, my own back yard where I was born and raised and did that. I could still hunt Castle Lake, since I was young and I could hike in. But now, with this bum knee and in my sixties, I’ll never see that lake again because of the government.
“That is when I learned, right then and there, that I would never trust a goddamned government official, will never tell them anything I know about the land. The first step is denying it to the locals, then opening it up to outsiders for big fees. Then, eventually, the land is sold to the super rich and they block it off.
“Goddamn a government man.”
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cracker-boy
NC     Apr 26, 2023

"Well, the next year when I came up to hunt Castle Lake, dozers had come up and plowed in the road"

Caltrop solution?
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