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Unplugged: An Unforgettable Journey Worth Repeating

By George Bryant, Vice President, Koontz-Bryant, P.C.

  1. My business partner Greg and I had plans of going out west to hunt Elk twenty three years ago. As of July, 2014 our plans were still just a dream. Starting a business, growing families, running a business, and college tuition were all reasons that we had not taken the time to make this particular dream a reality. Fast forward to this summer and we had both put this trip on our bucket list. That’s right, the trip we had planned in our early thirties had turned into something that we wanted to do before leaving this earth. Realizing that there was never going to be a perfect time to go, we agreed that 2014 was the year we would make this adventure happen.

  2. Our plan was to drive out to Colorado where out-of-state archery licenses for elk are still sold over the counter; set up a remote camp; and to call in or stalk an elk. Sounds simple enough until you start to list all the things required for the trip. Transportation, water supply, food, tents, sleeping bags, cooking supplies, adequate clothing, backpacks, etc. were just a few of the topics that we had to figure out. Our chosen camp site was at elevation 10,600 feet. The atmospheric change in oxygen levels and possible elevation sickness added additional concerns communicated to us by friends and family. We were told repeatedly that two men in their fifties, driving to Colorado, camping out in the wild without communication, un-acclimated to the temperature and elevation change, and using archery equipment to hunt sounded crazy. But our dream would not be postponed.

  3. Did you notice I said we would have no ability to communicate with coworkers or family? We were going to be unplugged from outside communication and our regular lives for seven days. Conceding to family pressure, we did purchase a satellite GPS unit. The unit would allow us to send a couple of preprogrammed messages and would allow emergency contact if needed. Our smart phones might have limited coverage depending on location and weather, but we could not rely on those devices working. The thought of unplugging from work was both concerning and exciting because I had not experienced being disconnected for a time period this long since the invention of the cell phone.

  4. We left on Wednesday, September 3, with two other friends to begin the adventure. As you might expect, our phones were ringing as we drove west. Taking care of clients and business while driving was not a hindrance; I was just riding and passing time. As we entered the plains states, I started to notice some pretty major changes in the terrain and my inclination to respond to business matters dwindled considerably. Most of my previous traveling has been limited to the east coast. By the time we entered Illinois, Richmond Va. was the last thing on my mind. I was beginning to let go.

  5. The next seven days were more than I could have hoped for. Colorado was like being in a new world. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous. I have always felt closest to our Creator when I am in nature, and his fingerprints were all over the mountains. My biggest concerns for the week were keeping my tent dry, staying warm at night, deciding what clothes to wear, deciding what food to eat, and where to hunt. Surprisingly, I did not miss watching TV, spending time on a computer, or talking on the phone. Although we saw several elk and mule deer, we did not harvest an animal on this trip. The real gift of this trip was living life for a limited amount of time unplugged from my normal routine and today’s technology. I must admit that not seeing my wife and family for 10 days was more uncomfortable than I had anticipated, but isn’t that the way it is supposed to be?

  7. I wrote this article for all of the people who have had a trip they have dreamed for years and have let everyday life get in the way of the opportunity to experience it. I returned with a sense of freedom and release that I believe is seldom experienced by most of us. Greg and I have already decided to make this trip again next year and we constantly wonder why we waited so long. I returned relaxed and more appreciative of friends, family, my faith, and work. Don’t let anyone stop you from getting outside of your comfort zone, just go live a dream. You will not regret it.