There we were, settled in comfortably at idyllic Rutherford Lake high on the approach to Fernandez Pass, and resting after a brief rainshower had encouraged us to race up the last half-mile of the trail and set up our tent.
After the sprinkles had disappeared P set to rigging his fly rod, while M napped peacefully in the tent--a scene of domestic bliss in the Sierra.
Suddenly, loud voices rang out from across the lake. P looked up to see two cowboys, complete with hats, chaps, boot and spurs, come tromping over the granite along the lake shore. They were hootin' and hollerin' as if they had ridden into Virginia City after weeks on the trail.
"How's fishin?'" one yelled out to P from fifty yards away.
"I don't know yet," P responded quietly, "I haven't started."
The quiet voice, as much as the answer, seemed to put a damper on their noise level.
They clambered over the rocks on the ridge east of the lake, and P could hear the spurs jingle and boots thump long after they disappeared from view.
P went down to the lake and began casting in the dark, quiet waters of the lake.
A few minutes later, the thump and jingle boys were back...clomping right through our campsite and back to their horses--which they had tied up in the muddy flats only fifteen feet from the waters of the lake.
"That's was a nice little hike," he heard one of them say to the other, from across the water. We couldn't help thinking that they were somehow living in a different movie from ours: their in Panachrome and Westernvision, ours is more delicate shades of color and sound.
And then they were gone, riding their horses down towards the Fernandez Pass Trail.
Sure was quiet when they left. Peaceful.