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

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label a day in the life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label a day in the life. Show all posts

23 June 2017

Chapultepec Park

I'd been in Mexico City about one hour, readying myself to start exploring this new destination. I like to start out slowly so that I can familiarize myself with the lay of the streets and my new surroundings.

Chapultepec park is across the street from my hotel, and seems to be the perfect place to get acclimated.
Being one of the largest parks in the western hemisphere, I have no goal of trying to see it all, I only want to get familiar with the people and culture of Mexico City. Cobblestone paths take me past statues of heroes and great political figures that helped shaped Mexico's history and future.
The park has Aztec history, castles, monuments and museums, merry-go rounds and giant fallen trees to climb upon. Beautiful flower gardens and lakes for couples to take a ride on in a boat.

Families are enjoying the day everywhere you look.
It is the perfect place to start exploring a new city.

21 June 2017

Horseback riding & secret Costa Rican waterfalls

I wake up to the smell of falling rain. It's my first full day up in the mountains of Guanacaste province in Costa Rica. I'm hoping to go horseback riding as well as get in some hiking, yet the weather is not looking like its going to cooperate.

A small truck appears out of the rain and the driver asks me if I'm ready. If they are willing to venture out in this weather, so am I....

As we get to the stables, the wind picks up and the rain is coming at us in sideways fashion. It's not cold though, and the fast moving storm clouds create an unreal atmosphere. I climb up on my trusty steed, and ready myself to get muddy.
The green hills around us spark the imagination of jungle creatures. We climb the rolling hills until we eventually summit. My fellow riders leave me at this point to do some ziplining but our guide and myself carry on.

We are going to find secret waterfalls.
Families of monkeys follow us from high up in the trees above. The rain has turned the trail into a slick waterslide, and I brace myself as our horses slip and slide down the trail. Eventually we tie the horses up to a hitching post and continue on foot.

A butterfly with the most stunning azure blue color on its wings follows me along the trail, eventually resting on my pant leg.

My guide tells me this is a good luck sign.
We come to two different waterfalls, both amazing in their own right. The best part is that it is only the two of us here. The quiet jungle sounds and falling water are the perfect morning symphony for my ears.
Our morning ends just as the rain starts to let up. We make our way back to the top of the mountain, and rest for a spell before our next adventure begins.

17 June 2017

Us + Them

1986.

The year I got my drivers license, my first car ( a yellow Ford Pinto), and the freedom to drive to my hometown's local music store.

I bought Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" on tape. Back then it was touted as one of the top selling albums of that year, even though it was originally released in 1973.

I popped in into the sound system I'd just installed into my shitty little car, and what I heard blew me away, leaving an ever lasting impression on my world view.

June 14th, 2017.
Roger Waters, one of the founding members of the band, is still touring. This time around is the "Us + Them" tour, honoring music from this timeless classic album, as well as new material he has released.

I'm no fan of Trump, but Roger's anti-Trump sentiment in his new songs was a bit too much, even for me. When he stuck with his classic songs though, his concert was a huge success.

15 June 2017

The Peralta Trail

I've accepted the fact that one must rise up early to get in some Arizona hiking, but I don't mind. Six am can be beautiful in the desert.

The Superstition mountains continue to be my favorite spot to explore, and this early morning in March finds me at the Peralta trailhead. I'm hoping to summit and possibly find the wind caves.
Our wet winter has turned the desert into a green oasis. I wind through trees as the sun rises and sparks a fiery glow on the red sandstone rocks. Hawks circle overhead looking for a last meal before it gets too warm. I climb higher and higher.
The trail seems to disappear as I get close to the top. I find a cave, not too deep or wide though, and wonder if this is the famed wind cave.

I don't think it is, and circle around hoping to climb higher. Somehow though, I get turned around and find myself going back down the trail.

It seems as though this hike was a good introduction to the mountain, but like a gold digger or miner, it is going to require many hours of work and exploration of this mountain range to find all of it's hidden gems.

13 June 2017

Berkeley

Berkeley is a microcosm of New York City, in my opinion. Each block is a world unto itself, wrapped in it's own beliefs and ignorant of what is happening beyonds its own sidewalk borders.
Only the homeless cross the unseen lines that separate the city from itself, refugees in their own country. Yet their is a love and unselfishness that floats in the pungent air.
The more I see this country being ripped apart by politics and hatred, I find redemption and solace in a place such as Berkeley.

An island in a sea of garbage filled with zombies that walk crooked lines and spew garbled nonsense.

07 June 2017

The Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens

It was mid afternoon in January, and I was driving around the hills of Santa Barbara with the windows down and the ocean breeze was transporting my mind to happier places.

I eventually find the Botanical Gardens I was told about. Five and a half miles of hiking trails that take you through the varied landscapes that California has to offer.

Yet it's the sunlight that transposes this place into a magical wonder on this day. Soft warmth cascades down, from the redwood trees to the Japanese gardens.
Back then I was still reeling from the reality of our new President, as was most of California. The peace here helps to keep me calm in this new Trump era.
I focus on the light between the trees, the sun that forever shines and always rises to signal the beginning of a new day. It's constant revolution around our planet helps to keep me centered in an uncertain future.
I can always find a peaceful homecoming in Nature.

03 June 2017

Raul Gonzalez

On my first day in Mexico City, I unpack my bags then head across the street to a park. I want to stretch my legs and get a feel for my new destination. 

I find a free art display on the iron gates that surround the park, displaying the macro photography of an artist by the name of Raul Gonzalez.
Stunning visual displays of his work start my trip off on the right foot, yet upon my return home I can not locate any information about this artist.

Perhaps it is best for him to remain unknown and mysterious, with only these images to remind me of the beauty of my first day in Mexico City.

31 May 2017

Little Colorado River Gorge

The Eastern entrance to the Grand Canyon is a long and desolate path in winter time. Tourists have dissipated, and the local Native American road side shops are all but closed.

Only the crows watch over the land.
It is along this stretch that one can find the Little Colorado River Gorge. A lone dirt road is my sole companion as I kick rocks in the early December morning. The signs to watch for scorpions and rattlesnakes makes me laugh.
You don't have to pay a fee here, and the views are spectacular. I climb to rocky precipice's and dangle my feet over the edge to feel a surge of adrenaline.
You can make your way out to a climatic point that gives you views both East and West, as well as straight down to the Colorado river itself.

I turn my head and look into the camera, and see that a rare look of contentment is on my face, visible among the wrinkled lines of life and the dark circles of trials.
 I circle the trail along the edge of the Gorge for a spell in the quiet, then eventually find my way back. I look back and see a lone house on a plateau.
I find that this captures the isolation and solitary wonder of this place perfectly.

28 May 2017

The Ritual of the Voladores

As I'm walking around the Chapultepec Park in Mexico City, I look up to see the most bizarre sight....men hanging upside down spinning around a pole while a flute is being played.

I see this again and again throughout my travels in Mexico, and finally learn that this is an ancient tradition of the Totanac people.
A long time ago, there was a severe drought in the region. The elders decided that a ceremony should be performed to ask the Gods to return the rain and bring fertility to the soil.

From this ceremony of old comes the practice that is continued today, as the people are thankful to the God Xipe Totec, God of agriculture and fertility, for the rain and land that he has continued to provide for the people that reside and flourish here.

27 May 2017

The Lantern Festival

The sun was setting in the Utah desert, clouds filling up with shades of pink and orange as we slowly made our way out to the Lantern Festival.

We find a spot and lay out our blankets, then read the instructions to get our lanterns ready. The creative processes of my nieces and nephew flow as they decorate their lanterns in their own unique style.

Cbug draws mushrooms, Flooey does a self portrait, and crazylegs fills her lantern with a million flowers.

I write a note to lost loved ones, and welcome any alien life that may come upon my message.
Cbug excitedly asks if he can light them with the lighter. I can tell that his parents don't usually let him play with fire, but I'm the uncle.

He is thrilled, as any young boy would be.

The night sky becomes an ocean of wishes as the lanterns slowly rise.
It's the most magical experience we've encountered together as our wishes are sent out into the universe.

25 May 2017

Oils! Oils! Oils!

I'm the son of an immigrant. My mother came to this country from Australia when she was eighteen years old with the same hopes and dreams as most immigrants...the search for a better life.

I've never been to her home country, but I've always recognized that in me are Aussie roots. One way I've connected to my ancestry is through the music of Midnight Oil.
A band that is pro human rights, staunch environmentalists, equality for women, and currently anti-Trump. They took a fifteen year hiatus while the lead singer, Peter Garrett, pursued a career in politics in Australia so that he could make a positive difference in his country from his strong beliefs.

But now the band is back on a world wide tour, and damn if I wasn't lucky enough to see them at the historic Webster Hall in New York City.
The power inside this arena seemed to come from the electricity in the air. Everything was super charged with excitement, all anxiously awaiting to see if the band was the same after such a long absence.
As soon as they took the stage, any naysayers were silenced, as the Oils lit up the hall, rocking and sounding better than ever.

The chants of  "Oils!Oils!Oils!" reverberated in my ears long after the show ended. Peter's swaying body, flailing arms and piercing voice echoes in my head to this day.
It was epic.

24 May 2017

The Rocky Mountain Sheep of Willow Beach

We end our eight mile kayak down the Colorado river at Willow Beach, Arizona. During our time on the river, our guide was always telling us to look up at the mountain tops for signs of Rocky Mountain Sheep.

Animal sightings though were sparse until the end.

As we are waiting for the van to arrive so we can load our kayaks, a lone sheep makes it's way over the hill just in front of us. It's majestic curled horns are on display for all of us as it searches for food along the shoreline.
The van arrives and we load the kayaks up, then head to the marina store for cold beers and greasy burgers. As we all are sitting on a picnic bench enjoying ourselves, an entire herd of sheep appears on the hill above us.

Our Canadian friends call them "goats", but whatever name you prefer, I love these creatures.
It was the perfect ending to an incredible day.

23 May 2017

Kayaking the Colorado river

My kayaking adventure with Evolution Expeditions entailed eight miles of awesomeness down the Colorado river. Due to the construction of the Hoover Dam, the river only flows when the dam releases water downstream, so we found that kayaking would be more work than anticipated.

It was time to work those arm muscles, and paddle down through some of the most amazing desert scenery.
Our guide gives us history lessons as we go, from the early explorers of this land to the massive undertaking that went into building the Hoover Dam. We see remnants of Native American culture and early pioneers.
A little over halfway and we come to the Emerald Cave, named from the crystal clear green waters that are found.
The last few miles take every last bit of energy I have to complete, yet when I see the docking area at Willow Beach, Arizona, I'm filled with a rush of adrenaline and accomplishment in finishing this epic adventure.

18 May 2017

Secret Hot Springs

We are all sitting on the shores of the Colorado in the early morning light, waiting for our kayaks to arrive.

John, our guide, lets us know they should be here within half an hour, but in the meantime, would we like to go hike up a slot canyon to some natural hot springs?
As we walk, the canyon walls become more narrow and the stream of water grows warmer around my feet. We scale some boulders and come to a ten foot ladder.
As we reach the top we find a warm pool of crystal clear hot spring water that is perfect for wading and relaxing. It feels so good on your skin, and soothes tired muscles from our morning hike.

I notice that the canyon continues upward, and ask if I can explore further. John lets me know that it's no problem, but does warn that the water gets hotter the higher up you go.

I wade upstream, and then scream out "Holy Cow!" which the sound reverberates endlessly down the canyon walls.
The water was definitely hotter than I expected.

16 May 2017

My hike to the Colorado river (prelude)

5am in Vegas, and the party was still going strong in the streets. I quietly sip coffee and wait for the Evolution Expeditions van to swing by and pick me up.

Today is the day I will kayak eight plus miles of the Colorado river.

We arrive just after 6am to the trail head. We have to hike through the Nevada desert for three miles to get to our launch point on the river. We stay warm and alert by searching for tarantula's that make their home in the holes of the rock.

As the sun begins its rise and lights the mountain peaks above, my adrenaline starts to skyrocket.
The trail goes from open desert to narrow slot canyon quickly. We find ourselves scrambling over boulders, squeezing through narrow passages, and climbing up steep hillsides.
Our guide, John, and I quickly become friends as we hike along. We have similar interests and philosophies about life and nature.

As the sun fully rises in the sky we arrive at the shores of the mighty Colorado. The waters are still as the current is controlled by the Hoover Dam. Yet we find that it is not quite time to start kayaking, as their is a surprise adventure that is in store for us first.....
but that story comes in part two.

12 May 2017

Desert Views

It was either November or December, I can't recall for sure, but the temperature was twenty degrees and snow was fairly high as I start out my day exploring the Desert View trail along the mighty Grand Canyon.
The original plan was to hike down the canyon to the Colorado river, then back up, and to complete this all in one day. I knew I was ill equipped for such a hike though with all the snow and little provisions.
So I scrapped that idea for another day and hiked through the passages of time along the South Rim.
The great thing about the Grand Canyon is that each visit can show you something new, even throughout the day light and shadow can change the canyon in new and unexpected ways. When you think about the true amount of time that it has taken to form what you see before your eyes, you can become overtaken with emotion.
So I start my hike today, and find that by the last of days light I've traveled back 1280 million years through the rocks carved by wind, water and ice.
Come with me, won't you?

08 May 2017

Inspiration Point

I haven't seen California this lush and green in....forever. I think the plane has taken a detour and I've been re-routed. The call to be in the mountains above Berkeley is even stronger now.
Tilden regional park just above the city offers great hiking trails and jaw-dropping views of both the bay and the inland valleys. I find a trail and just start walking....

I lone black cow comes across my path, and is just as curious about me as I am about it.

Woah big fella.

I keep going, and eventually find myself at a place called Inspiration Point. The clouds have partially lifted and the Golden Gate Bridge is visible.

A couple is sitting on a park bench overlooking the bay. It's the purest example of strained love I've seen in quite awhile.
and I find it beautiful.

05 May 2017

Organ Pipe's Desert view under Jedi steps

Darkness is quickly enveloping the desert landscape as the old Jedi pours the last of the moonshine down his parched throat. The teddy bear cholla watches in silence.
He fixates the beacon of light upon his head and makes his way up the trail towards the setting sun. The force surrounds all living things, including himself if he lets go of his fear, hate and suffering.
He carries onward in the dark, letting the small light  guide him safely along the path.
At the summit he reaches to find the valley in it's last glow of light as the sun disappears behind the mountains. He needs the light more than ever now, as the nocturnal creatures become more active in the blackness.
Fare thee well, the Jedi says to days last light....
and fades into the recesses of his camp for another night in the desert.