There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

20 April 2015

Shakey & friends

I've been wanting to go to Pittsburgh for awhile now, I didn't know why.

When I first saw a picture for the artist Shakey Graves, I thought, that sounds like someone I might really enjoy to see.
Then came the trifector, Mr.Smalls Theatre. A former 18th century Catholic church that had been repurposed into an intimate venue for music lovers?

It was a perfect storm of awesomeness. First up though was David Ramirez, the artist you most likely haven't heard of but should.
Mellow and deliberate, this Austin based singer-songwriter held all 650 of us under a spell from first note to last. Give him a listen....

After a great set from David, Shakey comes on to the stage, solo with just a guitar. He says hello and then dives right in with one of my favorite songs, "Hard wired".
After a few songs, he brings out his drummer and bass player, and they do everything from simple melodies to down right loud jam out, rattle your cage and toe tap like crazy songs. For us churchgoers, it brought us to our knees.

12 April 2015

two of Utah's best slots (part two)

I gather a stone along the way and mark it for my memory jar. Perhaps one day these stones will inspire another to adventure in the great outdoors.
I find boulders that need to be climbed in order to move forward, deep pools of rain water that must be waded through, narrow slot canyon walls that force me to suck in the fat of my years in order to squeeze past and carry on down the path.
As each hurdle is surpassed, one comes to realize that age is meaningless, strength comes from within, and determination is your primary factor for success, or failure.
Starting with a single step, the scrapes and bloody knees wield eight miles conquered in the unforgiving and beautiful landscape of San Rafael's Little Wild Horse and Bell's slot canyons.

11 April 2015

two of Utah's best slots (part one)

The ides of March brought an unexpected snowstorm to end Utah's mild winter. The snow and rain only fortified my desire to head down south though, as it was time to hike the slot canyon loop known as Little Wild Horse & Bell canyon in the San Rafael Swell.
My route was to complete the eight mile loop, starting by heading up Little Wild Horse, then descending into Bell. Good thing I don't have much claustrophobia though, as the slots became apparent early and often.
Spring here had it all. Pools of deep water from the melting snow and rain that filled empty ice carved holes. Snow piled up in the shady and dark portions of the hike. Open sky and warmth with only the desert landscape to fill your time while hiking along.
Part one  :

05 April 2015

The Northland

The murders and mayhem in Minnesota from the tragedies that inspired the movie and television series Fargo has always held my captivation. Not so much for the legitimacy of the stories being told, but for the people and locations that could garner such actions and subsequent reactions.

So why not head up to Minnesota's Northland for a couple of days and see what this area is all about?
Although the snow, for the most part, had retreated from the ground, the 4,000 lakes of this region were still under the frozen grip of Winter. Nineteen degrees Fahrenheit as I wake up in Bemidji.
The friendliness of the locals is contagious. You find their mannerisms and local dialect infectious, a heart warming contrast to the cold outside. Yet my time finds itself better spent in among the forests of the Chippewa. Bemidji is translated from the Native American language to mean "lake that traverses another body of water".

I set out to traverse the landscape on a day that is tipping the scales between Winter and Spring. Who knows what I will find in this land that is dominated by two cultures, the Native Chippewa Indians and the Scandinavian Vikings of old.
The woods open to the Tower Lakes trail. I hear woodpeckers and the occasional beaver as I hike along. Everything is lying in wait for the ground to soften so that new life can emerge.
As the day becomes warmer I leave this trail to a series of connected paths in the Itasca State Park, headwaters to the mighty Mississippi river. The clouds move quickly in the sky above as a northwesterly wind is blowing in a night time snowstorm.

Until then, the Ozawindib trail is all mine. You can imagine the activity of the animals that will be forthcoming, but for now, the only sounds are the ice cracking and the rubbing of tree branches in the wind as they stretch after a long and cold winter.
With a few hours more until sunset, I drive to the Canadian border, if only to say I have done so. More remote the land becomes, as well as the people that live on it. Stacks of endless firewood, abandoned trailer homes and rusty fishing shacks dot the landscape.

I get lost on a muddy road that leads nowhere. I find a horse that reminds me of what I may find in Iceland. The eyes in his face seem distant yet acutely aware of the solitude and cold.

He looks at me with curiosity as I wonder about the life he must lead out here in the Northland.
The sun is spreading it's golden glow across the endless trees and open, rolling hills. A few deer gallop off as I approach, their white tails bobbing up and down as they head towards the treeline.

I stop on the road, and take it all in.
Home to Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, first establishment on the Mississippi, the great Bemidji was a place full of beauty, in the landscape and the people.
Not a place that would be the cause of such murder and tragedy as was portrayed in Fargo.

04 April 2015

where the forest meets the sea

All areas may have already been explored before, seen and photographed, but not through my experience, not with my eyes.
Today the Cape Perpetua area is mine alone. The waves break amongst the rocks to tickle and pump my blood. I will be my own sole explorer to search out discoveries that will stay embedded in my brain alone.
The unique carvings of Mother Nature in wood and stone. I rest my bones against something I find interesting, and let light and color do the rest.

A lasting memory, if only for me.