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 photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photography. 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.

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.

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.

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.

02 June 2017

Printers Alley

Back in the early days of Nashville, the printing and publishing industry was thriving in the downtown area. Between 3rd and 4th avenues and stretching from Union to Church streets, Printers Alley was born.
Today the work of this industry is only a remembrance in the signs and victorian architecture that still remain. It still has that Bourbon street feel though as you walk along the bars and restaurants. 
I find open art galleries and street singers during my wandering that delight my fancy in the cool Spring of the evening. Hearty beers and crazy women celebrating upcoming wedding nuptials seem to be on Nashville's menu tonight.

I disappear into an old bank building, find a bar stocked with library shelves of old books stacked from floor to ceiling.

I order a moscow mule, then another, finally melting away to the sounds of country music.

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.

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.

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?

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.

03 May 2017

Navajo Bridge

The open road winds through the Navajo Nation like a slow moving snake. Your thoughts can easily be swallowed up in the vastness.
You see a small gathering of manufactured homes with a row of new Ford and Chevy trucks, rusty playground equipment teeters in the winter's breeze. Abandoned roadside stands hold artwork of the Native American.

I stand beside it for awhile and think about loss.
I come to a bridge, Navajo Bridge to be precise, and get out of the car. An old Navajo woman is selling jewelry in the rain. I greet her with a smile but don't buy anything. I walk towards the bridge and wonder how many have taken their final plunge here.
You feel closer to God out here under the gray skies and Red Rocks. I walk back and forth along Navajo Bridge, looking down into the Colorado river and seeing my own reflection, I look up into the sky and see nothing but simple truths.
As the song says, all that you have is your soul. Save my soul, save myself.

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.
******

06 April 2017

Of Falconry, Glass Blowers, and Nasty Well Wenches

Twas another glorious weekend at the Faire, and the full regalia was out.
I wander on over to the ancient art of glass blowing where a fine Lord and his lady are putting on a class while making a most beautiful vase.
From there, I across the courtyard and find myself enveloped in the hilariously nasty musings of two ugly washing well wenches. They have me in stitches from laughter, and wet from their flinging of dirty laundry.
I grab a turkey legg and some ale and rest in the cool grass for a Falconry show. All manner of interesting birds of prey fly close over my head, and I have to hide my legg of roast beast from both a hungry hawk and an African vulture.
Aye, it was another wonderful day at the Renaissance Faire.

Huzzah!