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 exploring. Show all posts
Showing posts with label exploring. Show all posts

13 July 2017

Mesa Verde

Sometimes a road trip can alleviate all your stresses and worries that come from every day life.
I leave Phoenix at mid-day on a Friday and head to the remote town of Chinle, arriving as the sun sets. In the morning I make it the rest of the way to my destination, Mesa Verde. My last time here was in 1997, traveling with a potential girlfriend to a wedding in New Mexico. We didn't do much exploring as it was November.

This time around was much different, and more my style of exploration.
If you can just imagine yourself as an Anasazi Indian, living in the adobe cliff side dwelling, you can get a real sense of the lifestyle here a few hundred years ago.
The park lets you wander and explore the rooms found here, which is a rare treat for such precious artifacts. Be careful, take your time, and explore the wonders of Mesa Verde National Park in the four corners area of colorful Colorado.

03 July 2017

the Cumberland Caverns

I haven't spent much time in the Southern part of the United States, in fact, I've never stepped foot in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, or North Carolina.

Three main reasons why : racism from the Civil War, nasty swamp snakes, and scary hillbillies.

Yet I'm trying to internally change my attitudes about this area. Tennessee is helping me with this, and although I do still find many of the stereotypes of the South to be true, I'm also seeing the truth about "Southern charm" and how it's effects are slowly creeping into me and leaving a positive impact.
I hit the back highways outside of Nashville, and enjoy my two hour drive through the country. I'm on my way to the Cumberland Caverns just outside the town of McMinnville. It's the second longest cave in Tennessee and full of moonshine and mining history.
As we enter, you can see the remains of the bootleggers that worked in the cave during prohibition. The network of caves here cover over twenty six miles, and this allowed the men to transport liquor from one county to the other without detection. McMinnville to this day is a dry county.
The cave is wide enough that a road runs through most of it, allowing vehicles to drive inside. We come across running natural springs, and all manner of stalagmites and stalactites.

The cave is enormous. I'm always amazed being under the surface of our planet, as it truly is a completely different world.

We come to a giant ballroom, and get to listen to the bluegrass bands warming up before their Bluegrass Underground show later in the afternoon. It's the true reason for my visit, and I have tingles on my arms seeing the venue.
The mighty chandelier that is hanging above is estimated to be worth over $485,0000 dollars, and was brought to the USA from Austria in the 1800's. To learn more about how this happened and many other fascinating stories, you must visit Cumberland Caverns for yourself.

02 July 2017

Pirate Tower

Could his long lost love be locked away in a tower, just like in the fairy tales of olde? With just a sprinkle of imagination and a childlike wonder for adventure, he goes on a quest to find out...
A tiny clearing is found in between the maddeningly small streets lined with homes of financial giants. He steps lightly, as he doesn't want to wake the sleeping beasts. Brightly colored flowers open their pistils and stamens, pointing him in the right direction.
He comes to the edge of the ocean, watching sea creatures scurry along the moss covered rocks, clinging tightly as the waves crash down upon them.

Some lose the battle and are swept back out into the Pacific. He crawls along the rocky precipice with stealth precision. In the breeze he hears the faint call for help from an angelic voice.

"I'm up here...."
The Tower looms before him, yet their are no stairs to climb, nor a door to enter. The voice calling to him is maddening, like the never ending waves crashing all around.

"How will I reach my long lost love?"
A tiny opening is found, large enough that only his hand can fit through. He bravely reaches inside. The softest caress brushes his callused and aged fingers, letting him know she is inside, waiting eternally for him....

to find the key.

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?

28 February 2017

All Hail! The Arizona Renaissance Festival

For the past twelve years (give or take a year or two), I've been driving past the "Renaissance Festival" sign at the base of the Superstition mountains in the east end of the valley. I would look out into the vast desert and wonder what truly happens here for six weeks.

This past weekend, I finally made it myself, and it was, in one word, glorious.
As soon as I entered the gates, I felt transported back in time to the Renaissance era of yesteryear. Busty corseted women and lanky knights sauntered past me, wizards and pirates strolled across the courtyard, executioners donning black capes and elf children scampered through the trees.
I'm pulled into a comedy show of irreverent nuns, a man with a mean fiery whip, three guys and some drums, belly dancers, fire eaters, and a spectacular carnevale.

This was only the tip of the iceberg though. You can try you hand wielding an axe as you attempt to throw it at a target, practice your archery skills, or perhaps show your strength as you lift the mighty mallet to impress your lady.

I go grab a leg of tasty meat with a dark pint of ale, sit back and enjoy.
So much to see and do, I'm thrilled that I decided to get a season pass so I can return for more adventures all throughout March, as there is still so much awesomeness to be found.

Be prepared, as there will be more to come over the next few weeks, but until then you wenchs, spires, kings and wizards....
Huzzah!

29 December 2014

playa El Mirador

Without much stress, I use my own internal compass to find Highway 19 out of Cabo, and before I know it, I'm cruising along the BCS coast toward the town of Todos Santos.

It's a little over an hour, and with the window rolled down and the music turned way up, I relish the tingling feeling of sun burnt skin.

The town, not without it's subtle charm, doesn't have the "it" factor I was looking for. The Hotel California stationed here seems more to trap tourists than having any historical or musical significance. I'm somewhat bummed, and start to head back....

Only a couple miles outside of town, and a car heading the opposite direction on the highway suddenly veers off onto a dirt road, and disappears. The urge to follow is a strong one.

I reason that if my head is to become severed and put on a stick by drug dealers and left in the Mexican desert for vultures, it will happen regardless....so I turn quickly down the same dirt road.
The other car is nowhere to be seen. I find old, abandoned buildings in various stages of decay. I can hear the ocean but can't see it as the desert brush and cacti obscure all view. At a crossroads in the dirt, a weathered sign has the words "El Mirador" painted on.

I follow until the sand looks too deep for my little rental car to enter without getting stuck. I park and look around me....

The beach is perhaps fifty yards away. I cautiously step to avoid a chance encounter with a rattler, and find myself completely alone on a pristine sandy beach with massive ocean waves from the incoming tide.
I run like a wild horse, kicking my feet in the water and screaming to the pelicans overhead. Shoes leave my feet, and the freedom that only childhood holds floods my body, if only for a little while.
The smile from such an unexpected discovery stays with me the rest of the day, as I look for more little dirt roads to explore.