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 alone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label alone. 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.

12 June 2017

The Boriquen

In the early morning I look down the empty road that leads to the Guanacasta beach in Costa Rica with a smile. It's been a lovely few days here, but the time has come to head up into the jungle and the Boriquen Mountain Resort.
I grab some Tecate's from the local market, then load into my van transportation for the one hour drive. The driver speak little English, so my morning is enjoyed in silence as we make our way up the winding roads.

I arrive at the resort before 9am, and find my room won't be ready until early afternoon. No worries though, as it gives me plenty of time to explore my new surroundings for the next few days. I start by climbing the steep road to the top of the resort. The lush jungle is alive with the sounds of the creatures within.
I spot a tropical bird high up in the trees, perhaps a parrot but I'm not really sure. Soon thereafter the monkeys start to show themselves. I stay for a bit, watching the puffy clouds roll across the lush landscape, then head back down.
I find a trail below the restaurant down by the pools and spa. A crystal clear river runs against the trail, the babbling of water flowing over rocks is the only sound. I find a butterfly following me, hitching a ride on my shorts.

It's a good luck sign.

I come to an ancient petroglyph marking high up on a stone, then a little further I find a natural hot spring with steam rising and filling the jungle with it's breath.

I make my way back to the lobby area to find my room is ready. It's more of a cottage than a room, set up on the hillside.

A deck with a hammock calls my name....
in the Garden of Eden known as Boriquen.

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.

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.

09 May 2017

Lenox Crater. Cinder Hills. Alone.

I barely remember the Cinder Hills or Lenox Crater. I think I was outside of Flagstaff. Yes, that sounds familiar.
Lately, my mind has been filled with frustration, and I can't find the plug to pull and drain the poisonous thoughts. I need to just keep my mouth shut and remember the bigger picture in my life.

but that is hard to do.
I hope to write down these thoughts and purge the sickness, but even as I type I feel the process not working.

Fuck it. My life may just be as messed up as a Fargo story, with my only hope is that it may be as interesting.

28 April 2017

Soldiers trail

I rise in the woods of a September morning to the sounds of crackling fires and bluegrass banjo's being tuned.

Let's go for a hike along the Soldiers trail and look for mighty elk.
Off in the distance I hear the sounds of Bob Marley playing.

I tap my feet along the trail, wondering...

Is it love, is it love, it is love that I'm feeling?
I find no elk, only curious Kaibob squirrels and the comfort standing next to a tree that has been struck by lightning.

27 April 2017

leaving despair in Sycamore Canyon

4.18.17

I had just returned to work after a few days in Mexico City, and I was excited to tell my friends all about it. I was giving one friend some rosary beads she had asked for, when my best friend appeared at her desk, visibly shaken.

"My fifteen year old niece just died..."

A flood of emotions took me over, and I went right back to that fateful day of my own when I got the call about my own sister.
4.19.17

It's been forever since we've spoke, but I get a message from an old girlfriend about her support group for MS. She is so young to have to deal with this disease. I know all too well it's devastating effects on a person, and I find no words to console her. I tell her she sounds strong, but the words are hollow and empty.

She doesn't reply back.
4.22.17

I wake before the dawn and driving three hours up North. I'm not prepared in any way, no food and little water, but I don't care. I need to get out of my head and into the wild.

I find Sycamore Canyon, just outside of Williams, Arizona. There is an eleven mile loop that will work, and I start walking.

Four miles in and I get lost. I want to circle the canyon, thinking that is the most logical route for the loop, but I am mistaken.

Further and further I go, off trail and deep into the heart of the wilderness. I hear no other sound than my labored breathing.

but my mind is clear.....

I eventually turnaround and retrace my steps backwards. My water is gone, the new formed blisters on my feet are screaming in pain, and the sweat along my brow has crystallized into salt from dehydration.

I find this to be therapeutic to my well being.

4.26.17

In the way of the world today, I see on social media about a family friend that suddenly died. Only twenty two hours earlier she had posted a picture of her granddaughter at a gymnastics meet, and commented on how proud she was of her.....

I'll be having Counting Crows on repeat for a while, and taking in the advice from Anna begins...

24 April 2017

Horseshoe Bend

I had about an hour before sunset when I pulled into the parking area where the trail to Horseshoe Bend begins. I climb the sandy trail as a cottontail pricks up it's ears at me before scamping off into the sagebrush. The wind flute of the Navajo echoes below.

I feel a great presence here.
Tiny human
dots rise on the red rocks, standing before the mighty formation. The closer I approach, the more I find myself catching my breath. Not from exertion though, but from the raw power of Nature's beauty that the Colorado river has created.
I creep towards the edge, then sit meditation style on the rock lip of the great Bend and watch as the sunset lights up the area in brilliant colors.
The next morning I rise well before the sunrise and start hiking in the darkness back to this special place. A coyote meets me on the trail today, but pays me no mind as I can't satisfy his hunger.

My coffee quickly becomes cold in the chill of this winters morn. I lay down on the edge of Horseshoe and marvel at the quiet sound of a sunrise.
Few places bond my spirit back into one solid piece like the mighty Horseshoe Bend outside of Page, Arizona.
******

11 April 2017

Guanacaste

Costa Rica would be the first country I would attempt to enter after being denied entry in Montreal. That bitter feeling combined with high anxiety levels were on full display as I approached passport control.

Nothing felt as sweet as hearing the click of the stamp coming down, and the big smile on the officer's face as he stated "Welcome to Costa, pura vida!".
It's dark, almost midnight, as my taxicab drives through the countryside to my hotel in Guanacaste. I've no idea what type of area I'll be in until morning. I check into the unassuming hotel and fall asleep quickly, dreaming of what will come in the morning.

I arise to the salty ocean smell, yet I can't see the water. At breakfast, I ask a young man which way to the beach. He smiles warmly and points down the road.

I start walking. I'm not in a hotel zone with throngs of tourists, nor a busy beachside city. It's a laid back and quiet little town with hostels and hotels hidden in the lush jungle, a store here and many a local's home there.

I come to the beach.
There are no annoying people bombarding you to buy wares or hook you up with things you don't want to do. Everyone is just enjoying themselves. I wander around from sunrise to sunset, sleep in the sand, find a shack to eat ceviche when hungry, a bar to quench my thirst.
Guanacaste province is the perfect starting place in Costa Rica. Let the sailboats gently rock in the morning sun as one falls in love with this country.
******

02 April 2017

my U-Turn to Superior

A thousand times have I passed by the U-Turn sign that would take one to the town of Superior.

It was on trip one thousand and one that I grabbed the steering wheel and took a hard right into creepy.
The clock was showing just past five o' clock, but the empty street had signs that the workday had ended years ago.

The Arizona sun had beat down particularly hard here, as not even the scorpions were present on the dusty and crumbling buildings along Main Street.

I walked on down the road....
I see the past frozen in a busted neon Bus sign, the faded artwork on the side of a hotel, the carcass of a picked over coyote lying in the gutter.

Motorcycles are circled like wagon wheels in front of what appears to be the only working establishment, the local bar. You can hear Mexican music crackling from a distant radio, and the clinking of beer bottles coming from inside.

Dark strangers look up from their drinks at me with harsh eyes.

I turn my attention to the sound of a car coming down the street. Two men with long, dirty hair whipping around their sunburned faces give me a look that stops my heart, then they disappear into the desert.
Superior is a place for lost souls to live out their retched and disturbed existence. That feels a little to comfortable for my liking.

I'm not yet ready to admit myself to this dark and haunting world, and hightail it out of Superior.

My soul is not yet ready to be confined in a prison of snake oil.

01 April 2017

The Cliff Dwellers

I had crossed the Navajo Bridge and was heading along highway 89A towards Freedonia and eventually Kanab, Utah when a most peculiar site on the side of the road caused me to stop.

At first I thought it to be Native American ruins, but the structures seemed all wrong, and out of place. The haunting large rocks and decaying buildings were all that remained here.

No signs telling of the history, no people, hell, not even a single crow could be heard.
I later learn that this place came about during the Great Depression, when a highly talented dancer named Blanche Russell came out here from back East with her husband, Bill, who was suffering from tuberculosis.

In 1927, their car broke down next to these big rocks. Having no choice, Blanche threw up a lean-to of tarp and boards against one of the big rocks. She then started serving food to passers-by in return for labor to help build a bigger house.

Pretty soon, the couple had a full scale restaurant that served the early motorists going to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, as well as Mormons that were traveling the "Honeymoon trail" to have their marriages sanctified at the LDS temple in St. George, Utah.

I'm constantly surprised by the unique history of the Southwest.

18 March 2017

The Mickelson Trail

It was a beautiful Autumn morning as I woke up in Deadwood, on the day of the 46th year since my birth. To celebrate, for lack of a better word, I went hiking along the Mickelson trail in the Black Hills.
Originally the Burlington Northern line that took trains from Edgemont to Deadwood, the Mickelson trail is now 109 glorious miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding. As I get started making my way out of town, I see a lone rabbit eating grass along the rivers edge. So intent am I watching this creature that I don't notice the man coming up alongside me.

He greets me warmly, waving his iron claw hands in the air. A veteran of WW2, he embodies the spirit that I love about this country, it's freedom and resiliency. He wishes me luck on my journey, and we part ways.
I'm soon immersed in the beauty of Fall colors on this October day, the sounds of town fading behind me. If time would allow, I'd complete all 109 miles.

I settle for 14 though, and it's a wonderful compromise. A couple of miles in, I chat with a lady on horseback, a family out for a picnic, and a couple of young mountain bikers. We all have the same grin on our faces from such a perfect day in the mountains.

I swig some water and carry onward.
I reach a summit and find a split in the trail, which is lucky for me as the alternate route is a loop that will eventually take me back to Deadwood, instead of having to return on the same route.

Hours later, I run into the same lady on horseback, and we smile as our paths cross again.

I wasn't aware that I had my camera on the "painting" setting, yet it captured the beauty of the hills perfectly, and I couldn't be more pleased with the results.
Of all the hiking trails in all of the places in this world, I couldn't have been luckier to find myself on this trail, on this day, in this place in time.

14 March 2017

The cliffs of Elwood

Emerging from Goleta Grove I can hear the old familiar sound of ocean waves breaking on the shore. Roads crisscross along the Elwood Cliffs in playful fashion, the young run along the trails, the elderly hold hands in the morning sun.
I find a secluded spot on the cliff's edge, cross my legs in meditating fashion, close my eyes and recite poetry in my mind.

When I open them, a lone crane is a few feet from me. It is watching the ocean too as the morning fog burns off in the sun and escapes into the seaside bluffs.
A kinship is born between us, two creatures placed upon this earth at the same time, neither looking to harm the other, both only making their way through this world with a semblance of self awareness in their surroundings.

Do you take the time to truly appreciate where you are?

08 March 2017

Scheurman mountain trail in the Sedona Vortex

Sedona is affectionately called "The Vortex", due to many people believing it is the center of the Universe, or at least the preferred landing base for extra terrestrials.
Surrounded by stunning red rock formations, this place is home to mystics, gypsies and outdoor enthusiasts.

Get out your chakra stones, meditate upon a mountain top, become inspired with the unique beauty here.
This time around I hike the Scheurman mountain trail, one of the less popular routes in the area. I want a quiet morning hike, free of people and distractions.

As the morning sun rises high into the blue Arizona sky, a large herd of deer thunders across the mountain side. The noise quickens my heart beat. I look up and a lone buck is patiently watching me from the top of the hill, his antlers shining in the sun.

I watch back, motionless, feeling his strength. I take in the moment of connection with Nature, then move on.

I feel the energy point of spiritual power in my body being unblocked by the stones of the red rocks.

05 March 2017

no sleep in the haunted Grand

The old United Verde Hospital perches like an old witch at the top of Jerome, it's watchful eye looking over everything below.

The historic and haunted Jerome Grand Hotel is calling me, taunting me, to enter. The dark clouds quickly envelop the blue sky, casting down shadows upon the town.
I walk into the lobby, a gray and wispy haired woman at the front desk gives me a nonchalant look as the lobby elevator is hand cranked downward by some unseen force. I don't see any people inside.

"Can I help you?"
"Room for one please."
"ah...the Nursery Suite. Good luck Mr...."
I shrug off her bewildering demeanor, grab the key and decide to take the stairs up the two flights to my room. The elevator never did return.

Along the way there are portraits of patrons and patients hanging on the walls. Their eyes seem to follow me no matter where I go. I can feel their stares on my back as I walk past.
Cabinets line the hallways, filled with the medical instruments used in the former hospital. I am at first intrigued, then become unhinged as the hairs on the back on my neck tingle.

The severed foot, with its blue veins and too white toenails, gives me the Hebe Jebes. I stumble with the lock due to sweaty palms, but finally manage to open the door to my room. I hurriedly get inside, lock the door, and put my ear against the wood to listen.....
for any out of the ordinary sounds.
I open a bottle of wine to cool my nerves, and survey my surroundings. The feeling of watchful eyes is just as strong in here as it was in the lobby and hallway. I don't feel as though sleep will be my friend this night.
Orbs of light float across my vision, dancing above the bed before disappearing into the ceiling. It must be 2am, but laughing children are running up and down the hallway just outside my door.

Yet I can't seem to rise to look out the peephole, nor open the door to ask them to go back to bed. I feel restrained and confined in my own prison, as if an unknown force is keeping me bound by my own sheets.
The sun slows starts to rise at 5am. I wearily make my way down to the lobby for a cup of coffee. The young man running the desk asks how my night was. When I tell him the story of the loud children in the hallway, he smiles maniacally.

"Yeah, the nursery room children have always been a bother to our guests for some seventy odd years now. God knows what happened to them while they were here originally to keep them around this long...."