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

20 August 2017

McCloud Falls

Lately I've been waiting until I arrive at my destination before looking for things to do in the area. I like the spontaneity more than the prior planning. My last day in the Mount Shasta area of California finds me searching for a hike before I head back down the mountain to the airport.

Enter the tiny mountain town of McCloud, and McCloud Falls.
You can enter this hiking trail from a few different areas, but I choose to start at the bottom where Lower McCloud Falls is visible, and make my way upwards to Middle and Upper McCloud Falls.

In the early morning light I find only a single Native American woman, fishing for breakfast as her fire gets going to stave off the chill. I start hiking along the trail, but turn around momentarily and capture a picture of her casting her pole into the river. It starts my soul on fire as much as the kindling in her fire pit as the wood crackles and burns.
Further on up the trail I pass the occasional cluster of tents, their occupants still sleeping in warm blankets. I tiptoe past them in silence.
Morning mist dances above Middle McCloud Falls. A girl and her dog are splashing in the river below. I have a morsel of breakfast as I watch the mist and spray weave and turn in the power of the falling water.
A sharp incline has me climbing above the gorge and eventually I find myself at Upper McCloud Falls. The water rushes through the rocks more quickly here as the canyon narrows itself. I have not encountered another soul for this last little bit, and cherish the solitude.
The trail starts to fill with more adventurers as I make my way back down, the campgrounds come alive with the sounds of children waking and bacon sizzling on camp stoves.

18 August 2017

the sunsets of the Guanacaste province

After every adventure filled day in Costa Rica, I would look forward to chilling in the hammock on the deck of my little villa and watch the sunset over the Guanacaste Province.
Tropical birds would gleefully sing in the ancient tree next to me. Howler monkeys would scream their haunting calls along the forest ceiling. Large iguanas would usually make an appearance, and one evening I even saw a strange creature that resembled a mix between a hedgehog and an anteater. I wish I could remember what that animal's name was....(maybe an armadillo?)
What I do recall though is that these were some of the best and most peaceful evenings, memories that I never want to shake off.

12 August 2017

Bear Creek Falls

A Muslim, a Buddhist, a Hindu and a Christian all call water by different names, but it's all still just water.
These words echo in my head as I start the early morning hike up to Bear Creek Falls in Telluride, Colorado.

No more than ten minutes on the trail before I realize that my bear spray is still on my bed. I laugh uncomfortably to myself, say a pray for safety, and continue on. I have my intuition that will protect me.
For a Saturday morning, the trail is unbelievably empty. I see only a few other hikers as they pass me quickly and are gone from my view. I have this place to myself as I make the 2.5 mile journey to the Falls. I arrive as the sun starts to peak over the mountaintop.

I bathe in the waterfall spray.
No one intrudes my meditation principles up here. I rejuvenate in the clean air and forested beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Clouds start to form on my way back down, changing the landscape in dramatic fashion so that it feels like a new hike on the descent.
I knock out a 5 mile roundtrip hike before most people eat breakfast on a Saturday.

09 August 2017

The Boriquen room

The place you sleep can make or break your Holiday, which is why research is critical before you travel, especially when venturing to a new country.

If you are going to the Guanacaste province region of Costa Rica, and you enjoy mountain solitude, a room that is more cabin than hotel, and a place that has wide open spaces in between visiting travelers, the Boriquen Mountain Resort may be the place for you.
Be forewarned though, there is no wifi in the rooms, only in the common areas, and no room service either. If those things are important to you, this is most likely not your cup of tea.
However, if you enjoy luxury accommodations in a beautiful mountain space close to all kinds of adventures, I can't recommend it highly enough.

04 August 2017

The sculpture gardens of Minneapolis

If you find yourself in the downtown area of Minneapolis with some free time to kill, might I suggest making your way to the Sculpture Gardens. You may just be pleasantly surprised with what you find, and the money that you'll save (it's free).
Minneapolis has a bike rental system like most metropolis's where you can get super cheap transportation. Two dollars later I'm riding through downtown over to the park. The clouds almost seem touchable up here in the North land as they pass over the rising steeples of the Lutheran churches.
I find a bike docking station and make my way to the park. I'm met with a giant colored giraffe and the quintessentially iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry.
The art is quirky, fun and thought provoking all rolled into one artistic burrito. It's the perfect place for families to enjoy the day outside as well as couples in love, the weird and wonderful alike.

I fit in like a lonely princess trying on the perfect glass slipper.
If you are in the area, perhaps you should try the park on for yourself and see what fits you....

02 August 2017

Rincon de la Vieja

I've dreamed of being on the edge of a volcano, staring into the abyss that leads to the center of our earth. Rising smoke and golden molten lava.

Rincon de la Vieja in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica seemed to be my chance to make this dream a reality. As I arrive to the park's entrance, the first sign I see dashes those hopes....."volcano trail closed due to unstable activity..."

Bummed for sure, but my guide tells me of another trail that leads to an amazing waterfall, and we will still see the volcano along the route. I'm all in for this alternate adventure. As we get our tickets their is a table display containing jars of various poisonous snakes that have been caught in the park. 

My adrenaline skyrockets as we start our hike.
My shirt becomes a sweaty and soaked mess minutes into the hike as the humidity is no joke here in Costa Rica. I hydrate and carry on as my guide points out the wildlife in the trees. We make out way past aloe and agave plants, then come to an open meadow where the smoke from the volcano is rising in the distance like a slow moving marching band.

After a few miles, we start to descend into a canyon. We both slip on the rocks and smile as we take it slowly the rest of the way to the water. No reason to hurry and twist an ankle in the jungle.

I hear the deafening roar of the waterfall well before I see it. Once we arrive the cascading spray cools our skin in refreshing fashion as the clear blue water hypnotizes my senses. One old man is bravely stripping down and skinny dipping in the cool water.
We decide to hike around to get closer to the waterfall itself. We carefully cross the river over moss covered rocks, then make our way through the lush jungle to get behind and under the waterfall. As we near, I slip and feel a sharp pain in my groin. A protruding stick impales me and almost takes out my right testicle. Luckily though I am only bleeding on my upper leg, and the injury doesn't prevent me from hiking back out.
My guide tells me that sixty percent of the people that try this hike do not complete it, so I feel a great sense of accomplishment.

Pura Vida my friends.

28 July 2017

Mount Shasta

It was easily over four hours from the bay area up to the pristine mountains of Mount Shasta in northern California. Years before a friend of mine had shown me a picture of them hiking here, and that was all she wrote. I took a mental note and planned for the day that I would one day witness the beauty with my own eyes.
I pull into my cabin by the lake, and unpack my groceries of fresh fruit and whiskey, break out the ice and relax on the porch. I only want to be here now, no other place to be. In this moment, with just you and me.
Oh yes, just be here now.

27 July 2017

La Casa Azul de Frida Kahlo

This adventure started from the television show "American Pickers", of all places, in which a person had some old furniture that appeared to have belonged to the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

This got my curiosity going, as I was heading to Mexico City in a couple of weeks. I found that her home was now a museum, and one the the top places to see in Mexico City. I wanted to learn more about this artist.
On an early weekday morning my cabdriver drops me off in front of Casa Azul. The vibrant blue walls surrounding the home already have a large line outside, and it is nearly one hour before the place opens. I find that I have plenty of time to relax and reflect as I'll be waiting a few more hours in this line before finally entering Frida's home.
After the madness at the entrance, a calm is found inside amongst the gardens. I start exploring the life of Frida and her husband, Diego Rivera.
The pain of Frida's life from her constant battle with polio and her devastating bus accident as a teenager are on vivid display through her self portraits and artwork.
Her tumultuous relationship with Diego is also on display, as they had married twice, both having multiple affairs, including one in which Diego was sleeping with Frida's sister. The intense love and loss is on full display in Frida and Diego's art.
You also learn about their relationship with Russian author Trotsky, whom was given asylum in Mexico after being banned from Russia. Their relationship with the USA and the world regarding communism, fascism, capitalism and democracy are all eye opening tales that cause one to look at the world from a different angle, a new perspective.

Which I think is one of the greatest gifts that travel and exploration can give.

25 July 2017

The high country around Cortez

Dirty and disheveled, the lone wanderer makes his way along the scenic backroads through the high country of the Navajo Nation on his way to Cortez, Colorado.

Lone crows call out his name like psychotic girlfriends from prior lives. The sun paints haunting images in the sky.
He finds a place called Negro road that is the loneliest place he can recall being in for the longest time. A single tree seems out of place amongst the tall weeds that sway gently in the breeze. He feels like resting his back against the tree trunk and letting his body die.

It wouldn't be a bad place to go.
A semi appears out of nowhere and rumbles him back to reality. He shakes off the dire thought of death and focuses of the peacefulness of this place.

Peace, not death, instead of peace from death.

22 July 2017

Minnehaha Falls

This story started with a single picture, as so many of these tales do, of a waterfall just outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

It seemed to be a good start for my northward travels into the woods of Wisconsin. As I park and try to locate the trail, I find a small white house with a picket fence surrounding it. The home of  John H. Stevens, the birthplace of Minneapolis and Hennepin County.
A little further on down I see a foreboding face overshadowing the lush greenery of the park. The mighty Indian's face calls to me.

It is the start of the path to the Falls, one that Longfellow called the "song of Hiawatha".
If you had enough time and energy, you could follow this trail all the way from it's starting point of the mighty Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico, and see the life that has sprung from the mighty river.

I only have time though to get a quick bite to eat at a local restaurant next to the Falls. The Sea Salt Eatery has a wide variety of succulent seafood dishes, which is a pleasant surprise for a place in the park.

I choose the scallop tacos which hit the spot on this humid morning, then make way back onto the road....

20 July 2017

New York City

I was extremely anxious about traveling to New York City by myself, although I wasn't quite sure why. I've been to many places as a solo wanderer, but the intensity and magnificence of this particular city had me on edge.
The last time I was in the big apple was in 2008 with my brother and his wife's family. It was a cathartic time as we were still in the grieving and healing stage of my sister's death only a year before.
As I woke up though and started walking the streets, the beautiful familiarity of this city encompassed me like a warm scarf. I tingled with electricity from the vibrancy of this city, and my anxiety quickly dissipated into the morning air.
I felt the immense power of being here by myself, akin to the stories of lone souls that come here looking to achieve their dreams, in whatever shape and form that may be.

Which I believe is the true power of this great city.

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.

10 July 2017

Tonto Natural Bridge

In the dark of night I lay out my equipment on my bed for today's adventure to Tonto Natural Bridge just outside of Payson, Arizona. Believed to be one of the world's largest natural travertine bridges, I look forward to the possibility of seeing wild javelina, scenic Arizona beauty, and a caving adventure in the high country.
I arrive in the early morning with only a few other people already here. A large group of javelina's are grazing in the green grassy area just to the left of the Ranger's station. I keep my distance as I enjoy seeing the wild and ugly beasts having their meal.

I see that their are several different routes one can take to the bridge, from overhanging viewpoints to trails that take you down varying degrees into the canyon. I opt to take the trail that is farthest to the right of the parking lot and have unknowingly chosen the way that will require some bouldering and fighting of overgrown brush, but it is ultimately the best way to see the bridge.
Water cascades down from the lip of the canyon onto those of us brave souls at the bottom. The water pools and follows gravity as it turns into a flowing river to sustain the life down here.

The start of the mighty bridge comes into view, and I momentarily forget to breathe.
The Spring runoff makes the boulders slippery and treacherous. I decide that sliding on my bottom is the best course of action to get across these immense boulders. I come to the center of the bridge, and look to my East and to my West to see the towering entrances from both sides.
Humbled I am by the power of Mother Nature, and put into my place in the Universe by Tonto Natural Bridge.

I stay for a while, then start my ascent back up, cleansed and renewed.

08 July 2017

museo nacional de antropologia

A giant Mexican flag is slowly flapping in the soft breeze as I make my way toward the entrance to Museo Nacional De Antropologia. After a little confusion due to the language barrier about where I needed to store my backpack, I hand my ticket to the lady officer and enter this all encompassing museum covering the history of Mexico.
Hall after hall showcase different time periods and civilizations of the regions of Mexico. It is a fascinating walk, and one that will continually surprise you.
One of my favorite areas was a screen that took an x-ray image of your face as your stood facing the wall, then projected your image for you to try and find among the many faces. Can you locate me?
Artwork, stone statues, ancient craftwork, etc...it all can be found in the beautiful National Anthropology Museum of Mexico City.

Don't miss it.

07 July 2017

the NYC library

It's fairly early in the morning for a Saturday in New York City. I zip up my hoodie, wonder about my choice to only wear shorts as the rain starts to fall. I step out onto the streets, take in the subway smells and the taxi traffic, and make my way to the public library.
The great lions named Patience and Fortitude greet me at the steps of the mighty building. I believe this will be my first time traveling to hang out in a library, but oh what a library it is!
The architecture of the halls feel more like a museum, and the great artwork hanging on the walls add this feeling.

I could go into great detail here about the research I did, the exhibits on display while there, the amazing history of the building itself; from it's construction, the generous donors, and the people of New York itself that helped make this institution what it is today.
But my goal is not to labor in my experience here, it is only to inspire you readers to get out there and explore the wonders of this place for yourself.

06 July 2017

Puerta Blanca

The trail head signs are overshadowed by a larger warning :

"Illegals and drug smugglers may be crossing in this area. DO NOT attempt to approach them, immediately call the police!"

The morning fog is thick as I make my way along the White Door in the southern bowels of the Sonoran desert.

A lone coyote howls.
Here in the misty mountains of Organ Pipe I don the comfort of the gas mask, strapping  it on tightly before caressing the hollow bones of the Saguaro.
The hollow emptiness here is not conducive to even the bravest of smugglers, lest it be of the human kind or the other.
All souls just disappear into the mist.