I achieved personal goals this year, and also many goals I didn't even know I had... like sleeping outside for 50 nights this year. I improved 100% on my mountain bike with minimal carnage, and turned 30 in Laos.
Numerous hiking, backpacking, and camping trips, millions of stars, international travel, MARRIAGE, fun photo shoots, and many new friends along the way. 2017 was such an incredible year--feeling all the great feels for this year.
It was raining heavily outside our open-air, second story hotel room on the south coast of Sri Lanka. We eventually had to lower the wooden curtains to keep rain from coming in. We snuggled up cosily on the small couch and read our books. Thunder cracked loudly outside, and immediately after the power went out. We found some candles, lit them, and continued on.
Today I’m rewinding to a camping trip high in the San Juan mountains last month. We explored the terrain around Ridgway and Ouray, Colorado. Every hike in that area has massive elevation gain, and we were pretty well whipped into shape by the fourth and fifth days.
We hiked in and slept under the open (billion star) sky the first night, and the second, we camped just outside the park so that we could enjoy a campfire and walk in for sunrise on some of the ‘temples’ in the Park. Lots of laughs, chips and whiskey were shared on this trip…
On Monday evening, I drove up Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park with my girlfriend, Anna. I recently acquired some fun new instruments to play with and distort the light, including a prism and a concave piece of glass and the light that evening was perfect for playing around.
It sure feels like Summer in Colorado! It’s getting pretty hot here on the Front Range, as we are anticipating 90 degree temps this week… though there’s still a great deal of snow in the mountains. Here are some snaps from the Long’s Peak Trail, just a week and a half ago.
Ramming our kayaks through overgrown water plants reminded me of hacking at vines with a machete in Peru. It feels a lot like a jungle. My favorite moments of the trip were those of stillness. Listening to the bugs and animals hum and the trees dance was an amazing experience. Though the alligator swimming in our path was pretty awesome, too.
Around 5 in the morning, I woke up and it was quiet. I unzipped the tent and something bright orange was glowing through the trees…it was Fitz Roy. I shook Aaron, hurriedly got dressed, grabbed my camera gear and headed out to a clearing. We witnessed a burning sunrise on some of the most impressive granite walls I have ever seen. It might have been the cold air biting at my face, but I was teary with a wide range of emotions.
We started at earliest morning light, and around 11,500 feet enjoyed an amazing sunrise. The clouds behind Quandary Peak were ominous, but the peak was still in view. Above 13,000 feet the wind really whipped, it was snowing and we found ourselves in whiteout conditions. Respecting the weather for the day, we kicked up our heels and headed back down the mountain.
I spent a weekend in Tucson at the beginning of February for work. I ventured out and enjoyed Saguaro National Park (4th year in a row, and I still love that place!), and wandered around the neighborhoods in Tucson. The colors there are so vibrant and beautiful…very reminiscent of our neighbors to the south.
White Sands National Park is unlike any place I have visited before. The gypsum sand dunes are surprisingly easy to walk on, and almost have a clay-like texture. You can bring dogs into the park, too, which is awesome…Merle loved running around on the dunes. We obtained a backcountry permit from the visitor’s center, and walked a mile into the sand and set up camp.
It was a rainy, foggy couple of days. We hiked around the base of the Organ Mountains which were dreamy with the fog, and watched the creek fill with water. Finally the rainy weather burned off and we took the highway that cut through the Organ Mountains, headed for White Sands National Monument.