Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Assignment: Buildings

Per usual, my original assignment took a turn towards random so I have decided to rename it. Honestly I've just been aiming to capture a building towering over me with blue skies and white puffy clouds.

towering

Ok, done. Now, on with the post.

stained glass


"Each evening he walked the two miles from the quarry to little town where the workers lived. The earth of the woods he crossed was soft and warm under his feet; it was strange, after a day spent on the granite ridges; he smiled as at a new pleasure, each evening, and looked down to watch his feet crushing a surface that responded, gave way and conceded faint prints to be left behind"

diamonds

"Only when you can feel contempt for your own priceless little ego, only then can you achieve the true, broad peace of selflessness, the merging of your spirit with the vast collective spirit of mankind. There is no room for the love of others within the tight crowded miser's hole of a private ego. Be empty in order to be filled."

all good things come to a 4

"In spiritual matters there is a simple, infallible test; everything that proceeds from the ego is evil; everything that proceeds from love for others is good."

messy photoshop

"The man who attempts to live for others is a dependent. He is the parasite in motive and makes parasites of those he serves. The relationship produces nothing but mutual corruption. It is impossible in concept. The nearest approach to it in reality - the man who lives to serve others - is the slave. If physical slavery is repulsive, how much more repulsive is the concept of servility of the spirit? The conquered slave has a vestige of honor. He has the merit of having resisted and of considering his condition evil. But the man who enslaves himself voluntarily in the name of love is the basest of creatures. He degrades the dignity of man and he degrades the concept of love. But this is the essence of altruism."

lines


Ayn Rand was another screen writer turned philosophical figure who's ideas became drastically twisted after her death. Much like L. Ron Hubbard (Scientology) Ayn came to Hollywood with a dream and a script in hand based on her groundbreaking books. "This is the motive and purpose of my writing, the projection of the ideal man. The portrayal of a moral ideal, as my ultimate literary goal, as an end in itself - to which any didactic, intellectual or philosophical values contained in a novel are only the means."

She advocated individualism and rejected alutirism and religion. She was a strong, complicated woman. She stood for everything that I hope is not true. I want to believe that people can truely be altruistic, that we can exist with different people beliveing in their own religion freely and that we can have a partner to live the rest of our lives with...but as I get older and suffer loss, heartache and the ability to trust in another human being I have to wonder if she wasn't on to something.

Kendall Katwalk

I had a hard time falling asleep after my Blue Lake trip. I wasn't sure if it was just because of pure exhaustion, but I tossed and turned all night. Surprisingly I woke up early and had energy so I decided to take a drive up to the Katwalk, a hike that has been on my list for the entire summer. It was one of the last nice days of the season and there was no way I was going to waste it

I didn't want to go it alone, so I called a few people who had wanted to join me on the Blue Lake trip, but strangely enough no one was actually awake at 8 am on a sunday! I did get a hold of one person, who declined, but then ended up going out on an adventure of his own. I tried not to be too bummed about it. It's my own fault for wanting to spend less time together, but it still got me down a bit.

Once I got to the exit at Snoqualmie, the calls started coming. Too bad most of my friends don't have cars and there was no way I was driving back to the city, so I decided to head up it alone.

Guye Peak Pano

At first I was a little dissuaded by the trail. I had heard raves about the views, my co-worker told me it was some of the best in the Northwest and the Pacific Crest Trail. All I saw were trees and mud. But then the trees part and you get a glimpse of Guye Peak. Then you go further and the views open up to the surrounding peaks, some still snow covered. I decided this would be a good time to try a pano with my new camera.

mini forest

I continued up, not wanting to stop too much as it was going to be a long hike and I was still a bit tired from the day before. I noticed these little sprouts on the rocks and thought it looked like a mini-forest.

slippery

The two filters I purchased on my limited budget this week were a polarizer and a neutral density. I came across the only real water source on the trail and climbed up some slippery rocks all panda style and set up my tri-pod in the water. ND filter on, I took a few frames, but I got some flack from other hikers on the trail. Some saying I was "destroying nature". Whatever, they were rocks. I was more in danger of falling and destroying myself. Grr. They flustered my and my composition suffered, cutting off half the stream on one side of the frame. Argh.

birdie

At one particularly vegetated stretch of the trail I found myself surrounded by these little birds. It seemed as though they were curious about me and my camera and flew around me and some right next to me on the branches that jutted out onto the trail. They were cute. I thanked them and moved on.

rainer

About 4 miles I came upon Kendall Gardens, a huge talus field where I turned to my left and was greeted with 180 degree views of Snoqualmie, the Cascade foot hills and all the way to Mt. Rainer. I was shooting right into the sun without a UV filter on, but with a little work in photoshop I was able to pull something out to really show what I had seen up there. My phone actually rang while I was shooting and I hesitated to answer, but it was Casey so I did. I just wanted to share with someone how beautiful it was up there. He wanted to check on me, knowing that I had gone out alone. He's been great with that, every time I go out he wants me to check in. Makes me feel like someone is looking out for me. I was almost in tears up there it was so spectacular and he could hear it in my voice.

peaks

I knew I was close so I didn't stay too long in one spot. The trail became very narrow, one side the mountain, the other side a 500 foot cliff. Hiker ettique no longer applied and those coming down I would let pass. At least four hikers coming down tried to let me pass and almost fell down the cliff!

fall

I remembered this great shot at a gallery my friend had taken me to and this kinda reminded me of it. The hill with fall colors and a bright blue sky. A shot like this is something I'd like to try again as my skills get better.

Mountain of Red

I saw so many peaks up there that I couldn't even begin to list them. Listening to hikers along the way I picked up a few names, and this aptly named peak is Red Mountain. I started to round the corner and with the wind picking up, almost throwing me off the trail, I knew that I had just about made it to my destination.

katwalk

To really get the scope of how steep this cliff is, click on the link and then go to "all sizes" and you will be able to see the people walking across the katwalk.With a lot of dynamite trail engineers blasted a 100 yard stretch of the 75 degree slope into part of the Pacific Crest Trail. If I wasn't so tired I could have continued on another mile and reached two alpine lakes. I was already exhausted and figured that wouldn't be the best course for me. I sat on the other side of the katwalk and ate my lunch.

I ran most of the way down, passing many of the happy hikers who had joined me on the trail. I employed my iPod for help and it made the descent a lot easier. As I watched the sun set on the drive back home I felt like I was saying goodbye to Summer and what a goodbye it was! Two hikes, two different parts of the Pacific Crest Trail 200 miles apart from each other, and views that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Blue Lake - North Cascades Highway

I'd been looking forward to this trip all week. I was on a quest to see golden larches and if I had to drive 150 miles to see them then I would. I wanted to get to bed early the night before, however I ended up being out a bit too late. A bunch of people from work went out to Nectar in Fremont and Casey joined me in a long night of gin and tonics.

IMG_4814

Luckily I woke up bright and early at 7:30 am, sans hang over. I quickly showered, put my gear together and headed to Starbucks. The drive was long, longer than I thought it was going to be and as I came upon Mt. Vernon I realized it was going to take a bit longer than I had thought. Highway 20 ran through quite a few towns and speeds slowed considerably. As I drove through fields and small towns I started to wonder if I was heading the right direction. I did not see any mountains and there was no elevation gain at all. Finally I reached Concrete, and here things started to get strange. Many buildings and homes were abandoned and I would see strange signs like "Beer Crossing" and "Got Wine?" and then very large highway signs with full size pictures of families killed by drunk drivers and the warning "Beware! Drunk Drivers are out there!"

I drove passed a sign that said "Gateway to America's Alps" and I almost laughed. I still hadn't seen any mountains and where were all the lakes I had heard so much about?

IMG_4788

Then, it hits. Waterfalls higher than the tallest mountains, jagged snow covered peaks, lakes...oh the lakes. North Cascades National Forest is like Disneyland for hikers. Each trail was clearly marked with signs etched with the trail name and set in stone at the trail head. Clean rest rooms at the beginning and trail maps marking the way.

why don't we do it in the road

I stopped quite a few times before I made it to the trail. I was close to having the road to myself and as I crossed it I snapped a quick picture. I really like this shot. Although the clouds had cleared to a bright blue sky, it reminded me of the solitude I was craving on this adventure and felt the only way to do it justice was in black and white.

IMG_4840

The beginning of the Blue Lake trail gave me glimpses of what was to come. Meadows bursting with fall colors, peek-a-boo views of Liberty Bell and not a soul to be seen. It was a gradual 2 1/2 miles to the lake and I took my time. The peaks surrounding me are a rock climbers dream and there were little off-shoot trails all over leading up to Liberty Bell and Early Winter Spires.

trail

I followed one such trail to a boulder field where a curious little chipmunk tried to each half of my sandwich. I looked up to see a bald eagle gracefully soaring over the sky. I grabbed my camera to follow it and noticed two large dust specks in my view. What proceeded that finding was an all out assault on my camera that not only made the situation worse but made me so frustrated I almost forgot that I was surrounded by beauty and that I was there to enjoy the trip.

shoe shot

Reaching the lake I remembered why I was there so I kicked back, ate the other half of my chicken salad sandwich and pulled out my iPhone, which all the rest of the pictures are taken with.Blue lake is aptly named. A gorgeous alpine lake nestled at the base of a ridgeline that still had traces of snow and surrounded by vegetation and my precious larches that were alas still pretty green.

Blue Lake

There were two men out in little rafts in the lake and every once in a while they would yell in delight as they plucked another fish from the lake. Soon others started to join me on the trail and then I heard children which was my signal to head out.

Early Winter

One last look at the spires then I was on my way. I got to the trail head quickly, 2 1/2 miles flying by fast. I vowed to myself that I would return the next day to capture what I had not been able to and as I drove back down Highway 20 I kept a mental image of the strange little things I saw through each town, excited to make the trip again and thinking maybe I'll do a whole post devoted to the road leading up to the mountains.By the time I hit Everett and the Saturday night Seattle traffic I wanted nothing to do with that drive ever again. I was exhausted by the time I made it home and passed out at 9:00.

last look

320 miles driven and a whole new world discovered. I wrote the post in my head as I drove, but now that I've written it down and left so much out I'm actually glad that there are still somethings I'm keeping to myself. I can't wait to come back.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

2 Hikes in 2 Day

red mountain
11 miles
3000 foot gain
1 old pair of shoes almost thrown off a ledge

I did not deliver a trip report for Blue Lake as promised because I went up to hike Kendall Katwalk, which has been on my list all summer.

All I can say right now is...ouuuuuuuuuch.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Blue Lake

320 miles driven
5 miles hiked
1 camera almost thrown into the lake

Argh. I'm flustered by this new camera. On the trail it got some dust in the sensor...or so I thought. Cleaning didn't seem to work and I still have no idea how to fix the mess that is now my lens.

So, here is one picture and maybe the only picture I will show from this adventure.

Trip report will be coming tomorrow, but I will say this: spectacular, beautiful, amazing, breathtaking. All those words don't even come close to explaining this trail and the road leading to it. I'm blessed to have seen it with my eyes today and as I lay my head down on my pillow in exhaustion tonight I will dream of blue skies, alpine meadows and peaks so high that they touched the clouds.

why don't we do it in the road

Friday, September 26, 2008

Larches

A preview of what is to hopefully come this weekend...I can't wait! I'm really excited to be doing an adventure on my own. So often I assume that I need others around me in order to enjoy life, but mostly it's just to show someone else what I'm lucky enough to see. The great thing about having a camera at my side is that I can spend alone time and still share with others what I did, where I was and what I saw. It's a revelation for me and hopefully will help me to break my cycle of relationships and give me strength to stand on my own without the constant need of a partner.

Growing up is a funny thing...I kinda like it.

Yay larches! Check back on Sunday for a full report.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Yup...it's still 3 days till the weekend

a beautiful night


The rain over the last couple days has cleaned the air and the cold is starting to make it's way to the area. It's officially fall and you can feel it in the air. The sun may be shining, but people are still bundled in fleece and scarves. From my street I could see the Olympics perfectly as the sun set behind them. The air so crisp that the lights of the Space Needle were crystal clear. It's a touristy shot, I know, but it inspired me to head out tonight.




I walked up to get coffee and sit with Casey to hear about his first days of school. It's nice to know people still in college, they are always up on current events and ready to debate politics, religion...rocks. I bid him farewell after his 10 minute break was over and proceeded to wander the streets, looking for something pretty.

old faithful

When in doubt, shoot a flower. I started framing this the way I typically do with my point and shoot, which is straight on, but I decided to try something different and took it from another angle. Success! I really like it and it shows me that if I just spend a little time on something I can make it look the way I saw it in my mind.

pider

Oh 8 megapixels how I love thee! I went down a residential street and almost walked into this guy. When I sat down my tri-pod to set up I noticed he had friends...lots of them. There were about 7 large spiders hanging out on this bush. I was wishing that I had a macro lens, and knew a certain friend of mine would have loved this little guy and probably would have made it so you could see the little hairs on his legs. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how much you like piders, with a little bit of cropping I was able to get only this far on him without compromising the shot.

light

15th was pretty full of people tonight and no one was nice enough to stop while I was taking this picture, which is strange because most of the time I've had pretty good luck with people respecting the shot. I sat for a while on the corner of Harrison and 15th waiting for there to be no one in the way. I looked silly. I didn't mind.

blue

I was starting to get sleepy, but I really wanted to check out this fire station I saw the other night while dropping off my friend Justin at his new house in the Central District. I was surprised when I drove through the neighborhood as the area has become really gentrified. It's still a bit scary, but only a few short years ago I wouldn't have dared to stand at 23rd and Jackson at night. I am enamored with this station and I vow to return to it as I'm extremely unhappy with the way my shots came out. Perhaps an assignment? hmmmm? Gotta, gotta bit of an assignment hmmmmmMMMMM??

Well, random quotes suggest it's time for me to go to bed. Who knows what Wednesday will bring.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I Sold Out

Remember kids, blogging while drinking leads to nonsensical ramblings. Need proof? Please see my last post.

In any case, I eluded to it in my last post but will outright say it now: I bought a new camera. Craigslist was my friend and luckily I was able to stay under $320 for my very first SLR. I was pretty proud of myself, but nervous for what I realized was about to be a big investment of not only money but also time, energy and patience to learn a new camera.

leaf

Luckily I have had a good teacher and after getting over my initial fright, I've started to get the hang of it. All the pictures in this post are my very first tries, and thus not exactly the best. Not that I was the best photographer in the world, but honesty I was so excited to actually figure out how to use the thing that I was proud of every single shot I took.

ghost puppy

I didn't plan on wandering around tonight after work, but the sky was so beautiful that I sat out on my porch watching the colors change. Before I knew it I was a block away, then two, then I found myself standing on the corner on Broadway. I passed a neighborhood garden and practiced on my faithful flowers before taking some night shots of the street.

smoke

I have no idea how the smoky effect got in this picture, but I love it.

laundry night

I headed back to my house as I had been in the middle of doing laundry and didn't want it to sit, but I wasn't actually gone as long as I thought I had been and my clothes weren't dry yet so I practiced on the washer I was leaning against. It's fun playing with the aperture.

I am the master

The season premier of Heroes is on now, so I must go.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

This Feels More Like It

Today I remembered what it was like to be home. Everything seemed exactly as it had been before I left. The rain started early and I awoke to it showering the window sill. I laid in bed until noon watching episodes of 30 Rock before I decided to actually get up and greet the world.

I drove to North Everett today to purchase something that I figured I would never be serious enough to actually buy. A strange feeling came over me when I realized I was actually afraid to drive in the weather. Accidents surrounded me, every few miles I saw crashes, cop cars, near misses. I tried to drive slow and kept a soothing sound in my headphones as I took my time reaching my destination.

My journey began at 2 and didn't end until 6 pm, when I finally pulled up to my street, walked exhausted up to my apartment and poured myself onto my couch. Earlier that day my friend asked if I wanted to see a comedy show later that evening and I knew I only had a couple hours to rest before meeting him.

I grabbed Casey from his house after he was off work and we headed down to the Moore Theater to meet our friend Justin. These two were my partners in crime before I left. I spent every weekend with one or both of them. We would spend hours talking in bars, playing music on their patio, watching shows from the balcony of the theaters. Being back at the Moore with these two guys was like old times, and as we watched everyone leave and wandered through the empty seats as the lights slowly went out, I remembered how lucky I was to have been able to explore this theater along with the Paramount in ways that the normal public can't. I've seen countless shows from all angles of both venues, watched from the side of the stage, spent time in the green rooms, seen the pool below the Moore, and listened to Casey play the grand piano before the venue even opened for the day.

I'm grateful to be home and today I really felt a connection to the girl that I left behind here 5 years ago. I also believe that I've come up with my next assignment and hope that this week I will be able to accomplish it. I'm waiting for the sky to clear a little.

So if anyone would like to join me, the next topic is architecture, inspired by The Fountainhead (my favorite book that I have read more times than I can count on my hands). Off limits: EMP, Space Needle, The Convention Center, and I'm still out on the Smith Tower but the library is fair game.

And with a fond farewell I leave you with a picture of my camera that started all of this, taken with my next step in what I hope will be a fun learning process.

my first picture

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Assignment: Color

rainbow

Laying on my bed going over the pros and cons of a day shooting in the city when I had just hiked in the mountains the day before, my eyes came upon the books I had set up for an earlier shoot. Set up in the colors of the rainbow, I immediately knew where this assignment would take me.

blue eyes

I was being too literal with the idea of color. The books were telling me that I needed to step outside myself, throw away preconceived notions and photograph inner color. Walking around my neighborhood I see the rainbow everyday, a reminder of the diversity of the people who inhabit the area. People who are very "colorful" to say the least.

I started with myself. The sun was shining bright through my window, I set up my camera on it's tripod and attempted to capture my inner color. They say that the eyes are the window to your soul, and as a person who has struggled with self-esteem issues I've always tried to focus on things about myself that I like. My eyes are a sea of color, changing with the environment that I'm in. The blue from my Irish roots, the hazel from the Cherokee, purple from the Oklahoma fields that my fathers family escaped from during the dust bowl. They are my favorite feature and will always tell you everything you need to know about me.

I leave my home on foot, a previous attempt at this assignment had been by car and I had felt very disconnected from the world thus my pictures suffered, so this time I would be walking. The street was empty, and there was a silence I hadn't heard in all my years being in the city. Before I knew it the silence was crushed by the melodic tone of a love song. I came across a large balding Greek man who was painting the outside of his new restaurant, and I smiled as I realized he was listening to Joni Mitchell.

pink

I continued walking and saw a man sitting on a milk crate in front of the impound lot. He was wearing army pants, a white half shirt and suspenders. His long curly hair pulled back with a rubber band at the base of his neck showing off his multiple piercings, telling world of his non-conformist ways and his snubbing of society norms. All the while, he was talking with a bluetooth in his ear. The hypocrisy made for a funny image and I knew I needed to keep my camera out as this was going to be an interesting day.

action

Walking down the hill, Cal Anderson Park came into view. The soccer fields were filled with blue, yellow and red streaks of men running back and forth, chasing after an elusive ball. I sat on the field and followed the action with the eye of my camera. The language spoken on the field was not my native tongue and the fluidity of the sound was so musical that I didn't even notice that my iPod had finished the album I had been listening to.

The walk down towards the market was filled with shouts of a different kind. Encouragement, strength, support, and a strong will lead these chants down Pike in a wash of pink. Breast Cancer survivors, family members and friends waved flags and banners, passing the downtown homeless creating a strange dichotomy of the strength and weakness of the human spirit.

pose

When faced with chaos, I tend to retreat into myself. A childlike emotion comes over me and I refuse to do anything. A sort of "No! I don't wanna!" mentality. As I came down the hill into the market I immediately shut down. It was a beautiful Sunday at the end of an amazing Seattle summer and it seemed as though the entire world converged on the market. In actuality it was not my intentional destination and, although there was a street performer festival going on and who are more colorful of a group than they, I was so put off that by the time I reached the park my camera was already put away.

I sat for quite some time on my own patch of grass in the sun, my view facing away from the water and the music coming through my headphones soothing. My eyes were drawn to two lovely women practicing Falun Gong on top of the hill. People rushing from one tourist attraction to the next, homeless street performers banging on a makeshift drumset and the fumes from an artists spray paint canisters did nothing to break the soft transition from one pose into the next.

birdie

The meditative process calmed me, and also the hike from the day before had tired me, so I made my accent back up the hill. Passing the square near Westlake Village, I intended to spend sometime with the kids who have congregated in that area more and more over the last few years, however I was detoured by this adorable little boy playing with the pigeons. His mother spoke no english, but we communicated just fine with smiles and a similar subject through our viewfinders.

yellow

My last shot of the day I had spied on my way down the hill but didn't take until on the way back up.

As with all my assignments I started out with something in mind and my adventure took it to a completely different place. I set out to capture the colorful characters that inhabit the city, but instead I think I captured the city itself. It's such a wonderful place it's hard not to.

Next assignment to be determined.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Summerland Trail

Last weekend during a lazy sunday drive I spent time at Sunrise Visitor Center at Mt. Rainer. As I always do, I scanned for trails around the road. I saw quite a few so I asked Panda to take a trip out there with me and, never one to turn down an adventure, he obliged. This time bringing two in tow. I was nervous about the company as I haven't hiked with anyone before and we can be pretty hardcore when out on the trail. It turns out that I had nothing to worry about. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The hike begins in an old growth forest, with the sound of the nearby Fryingpan Creek following you along the way. The path teases you with glimpses of the creek at times, but to actually see it's beauty you must work for it. Panda spied a butte and decided to head up over it to see if his instincts were correct and indeed they were, a beautiful waterfall greeted our arrival.

pretty blue

Letting Panda have the moment our companions, who traversed through the brush with us to my delight, waited patiently while pictures were taken of Tamanos Mountain. A 6790 foot mountain that upon looking at the crooked ridgeline Panda uttered "we could totally climb that".

 ice blue

The trail continued and Panda bolted off to our left through the brush yet again, this time I did not follow. However, after a few moments I decided that perhaps small talk wasn't my thing and I went off to find my hiking buddy. I came upon him once again taking pictures of the mountain, but he had spied a lovely waterfall for me to shoot, so I took full advantage. Climbing out on to a ledge over a large ravine, I shot the heck of out it. It was the first of many attempts on this hike to shoot something beautiful, but the end result was never what I saw in my mind. Luckily I get to keep that memory forever in my head, and I'll have some pretty mediocre pictures to remind me when I forget. 

eden's view point

One thing I am very grateful for is that the ice blue of the water came out in my shots. The rocks teal, purple, blue, magenta; the water almost a periwinkle, but literally the definition of ice blue. It was perfect. I put a nice puncture in my hand on the way down to this waterfall and every time I'm on my yoga mat and the pressure of a downward dog makes me gasp a little in pain, I smile immediately after; grateful for the reminder of the beauty I saw.

peaking thru

We broke through the forest and played a game of peek-a-boo with the giant mountain that had towered over my home town growing up. When I was young I spent a great deal of time here, playing in the snow, taking the drive up to Paradise, spending hours on my back porch gazing up at the mountains beauty. When I moved to LA it was the only thing I missed about home. I would dream about it, and for a time I had a reoccurring dreaming that I had traveled up to Seattle but the mountain was always obscured. I could never see it and I woke up so sad, wishing my eyes could gaze upon it just one more time.

shadows

We came to a log bridge about a mile from the end of the trail and bid our companions farewell, sushi awaited them in the city far away. Panda and I were not so lucky, the hardest part of the trail awaited us. We switched back around the mountain, passing quite a few people on the way down. There were an abundance of people on the trail, to my dismay. I tired of smiling and the awkward hello to every member of the family, every trail companion, every tour group member.

beargrass

Every fake smile was worth the view at the end of the trail. Sweeping meadows, the mountain so tall it dwarfed the sun in the sky, details in Mt. Tahoma that you can never make out from the city. Sitting to enjoy lunch and the lavishness of an actual outhouse, I took it all in. After the meal, we walked a little way but was detoured by a massive mountain goat who had staked his claim in the land run for the meadow and was hunkered down in the shadows. Panda decided to test his animal prowess against the mighty goat, and I spent my time in the dirt taking pictures of bear grass. Growing only at elevations above 5000, I had only seen pictures of it. My highest elevation hiking at that point had been Mt. Si, a 4167 foot behemoth that had been conquered for the second time only a few short days before.

beargrass in the sun

I met two nice gentlemen hikers who upon my telling of the goat in the field the shared with me the presence of marmots just up the way. Bounding up the trail, I heard the whistles of the little buggers but the other people on the trail had scared the rodents off into the brush. I decided to drink of the stream flowing down either side of the trail and await their return. I looked behind me, up the small hill I had just come down, to see the bear grass basking in the sun. I was extremely happy that I could capture what I saw.

valley of the...

I met up with Panda after a loss of communication, which seemed to be a strange re-occurrence for him this trip, and we attempted to head towards the panhandle gap. We were stopped in our tracks by a talus field and two large waterfalls cascading down to an unbelievably huge canyon before heading out of sight to yet another fall our eyes could not see.

Goat Island Mountain


We picked our separate ways; he down to capture the canyon, me up to capture the falls in all their glory. Alas it was not my day for taking in the falls via my camera so I called down to Panda for the ok to shoot the entire view and I concentrated on meditation, the sound of the water falling over the boulders and took the occasional picture of a flower or two.

IMG_2234

I noticed the long shadows of the trees along the rocks and thought to myself that it looked like sunset, but figured that was absurd; the sun still had not been high enough over my head to constitute the notion of it actually going down! As I mentioned earlier, a 14,411 foot mountain will dwarf the sun and it obscured my view of the natural light of the day. It was indeed setting.

grade

I believe it was 6:00 as we decided to make our descent, assuring a headlamp lit trail off the mountain. My feet were hurting on this one, although the rest of my body was pleasantly sore. A trip to the store for a new pair of hiking boots is surely on the agenda before the next hike. As we made our way down the trail, I spotted a deer on the trail, grazing in the grass. I pointed it out to Panda and he slowly made his way over to the gorgeous animal, smooth and easy. At one point she came as close as 20 feet from him, if that. It was such an amazing moment to see him there in the midst of the forest with a wild animal that sensed the good in him and came close enough to be touched.

With the full moon high in the sky and a lotus calling our names, we drove off the mountain and into the night. Another hike down, another beautiful sight seen, another adventure that makes me say thank you...thank you...thank you. Marinate on dat doh.