I haven't posted in a while. I've been crazy busy. Again. Or still. Either way, I'm having a few
I suppose I'm pretty much always busy, but in this case I was in Canada for a week so I was truly out of touch (purposefully so), and as I write this I'm in a hotel near Charlotte, NC. I've enjoyed my summer vacation, or at least what I've turned into my summer "Holiday", but now it's time to get back to the realities that pass for life these days.
I'll get to the Canada trip in a second. Over the past couple of days I saw two sort of indie movies. Yesterday I saw "Moonrise Kingdom". Today I saw "Safety Not Guaranteed". Both were different. But I enjoyed both of them.
The common thread that binds them is the concept of a cultural outsider and how they react to being forced to the fringes. Both are quirky, are sort of like Love Stories, and perhaps most importantly both make me think beyond the time I leave the theater.
Anyway - I digress. Back to the week in Canada. I wrote this last week - on July 11:
I am back from my Canadian Rockies wilderness adventure. I’m tired, my legs are sore, but as usual with these trips it becomes overload in every sense of the word – physically, spiritually, mentally, and sensually. It’s not without at least a small bit of irony that I realize that I need a vacation.
If you go back far enough in my Blog archives you’ll find several of these kinds of early July trips with my friend Molly. She and I have known each other for a number of years and although we’ve got a number of things in common several in particular bring us together on these adventures. One is that she is an accomplished hiker and camper – both are things I enjoy but have rarely had someone to do them with.
She’s very knowledgeable about outdoor “things”. We both share an appreciation for beauty, and she’s one of the only people I know who’s as crazy as I am when it comes to making whatever sacrifices are necessary to get to it.
And, perhaps most significantly, is our connection through photography. We both love it. We soak it up, and we’ll get up at 4am and drive a 100 miles to get early morning light shots.
But we’re different as well. She’s driven by different motivators than I am. More than once on this trip she pushes on to get to a higher point while I find a perfect spot to stop and enjoy the moment. I’ve also come to realize on this trip that many of these “moments” involve water.
Two days ago I stopped and sat by a small lake that probably doesn’t even have a name and had some of those soul-sipping moments that make the journey worth the effort. And yesterday I stopped by an amazing glacier fed river tumbling deep into a valley while Molly pushed further upwards. We both have our motivators, and I’m confident that we both achieve our goals on these adventures, which is why we keep doing them.
One of the best parts is that all I need to do is show up with my camera and my outdoor gear. Molly does the rest. She knows where she wants to visit, she makes the arrangements, she plans the days….I’ve grown to trust her in that regard and she hits a home run every day, every time. Whether it’s a 15 mile hike that leads us across snow fields, up steep inclines, across rivers, and ends at an amazing pass that has incredible views on both sides or a day of scrambling across glacier debris to get to some geological formation that she has known about but wants to see for herself – the theme of these individual trips is the same. It’s all about the journey. The destination is simply the gravy.
I flew into Vancouver last Thursday and she picked me up. We drove to Lake Louise in Banff National Park, where campsite J13 would be home for the next several days. We set our tents, and once we were settled we were ready for action.
The weather was incredible for the entire week. I’ve seen more mosquitoes over the last several days than I’ve seen in my entire life and it’s just now that I’m letting down my guard that I’m realizing just how many of the little suckers decided that a good suck of blood was worth overcoming whatever component of Deep Woods Off is supposed to keep them away. The days in Banff are amazingly long, with the sun rising before 5 and significant sunlight until between 10:30 and 11 at night.
The perimeter of the camping area is surrounded by an electrified fence. It’s there to protect those inside from the grizzly bears outside. It’s a good thing, too, since a momma grizzly and her two mid-sized cubs caused a commotion more than once by grazing in a field near the fence. People on the trails wear bells like cowbells but which Molly explained to me are “bear bells” to scare off any bears on the trails. I found them to be more humorous then anything but I suppose if they work that’s the important thing.
Water is a theme that ran thru the weekend. Amazing lakes. Powerful rivers fed from the still snow-covered peaks melting during the warm afternoon sun. If I found one theme in the hundreds of photographs that I took over these last few days, it’s water. And mountains. You can’t get away from the grandeur of the mountains in the Canadian Rockies. And where the two of them come together? Well, that’s magic.
It rained on us once….a 45 minute thunderstorm at dinnertime that gave way to a rainbow. Otherwise, days were sunny and warm (upper 70’s) and nights were chilly (lower to mid 40’s). We emerged from our tents each day at 6am, we finished breakfast shortly after 7, and we were well on the way to wherever we planned to spend the day by 8. We’d get back to camp at dinnertime – tired, sweaty, and generally ready to sleep. We’d cook some form of pasta for dinner, Molly would play her guitar, and we’d aim to be in bed by 10 to regenerate enough energy to do it all again the next day.
I had several “conversations” with my dad, or at least with the spirit that I consider to be my dad. He would have loved this, and more than once I wished I had brought some of his ashes to spread there.
I posted a number of photos I took with my iPhone to my Snaplog. It was photography heaven....
I had a business meeting here in Charlotte today. It's the first time I dressed up and put on make-up since the cross-country drive a month ago. It felt good to get back to it....not sure exactly why but I've missed it.
I went to the doctor earlier this week. Blood pressure is good (114/78) which is amazing considering all that's going on in my world.
That's it for tonight. It's time for bed.