So last week was a bizarre week. I got a call last Saturday to see if I wanted to accompany a pair of journalists from Time Magazine's The Drive website as their videographer in a new 2016 Camaro on a road trip from Portland to San Francisco for their Find New Roads campaign. The thing is, we had 36 hours to cover 800 miles...Read More
he next few days in Big Sur were nothing short of magical. We woke up the following morning, our first in Big Sur, and figured the most logical thing to do would be to hit the beach. And, well, who are we to argue logic? The universe led us down the 3/4 or so mile hiking path from the campsite, through a covered canopy of trees that straddles the Big Sur River, all the way down to the quaint cove that makes up Andrew Molera State Beach. We spent several hours here sunning, swimming, playing, fighting off the seagulls that boldly flew off with half our food, and watching the surfers slowly but surely converge at Molera Point as they anticipated the swells from Hurricane Marie, the category 4 that had hit Baja California earlier that day, to come ashore any moment. And boy did they!Read More
Had to get out of the house for a bit today just to refresh the brain so got in my car and headed over to Peter Strauss Ranch off Mulholland in the middle of the Santa Monica Mountains and found a few things that, well, definitely helped me air out the ol’ noggin’. Seemed like they might make some pretty decent Autumn-themed backgrounds and wallpapers for your iOS devices, so why not…here they are.
Simply right-click and ‘Save As’ or if you’re on your iOS device, just hold down and choose ‘Save to Camera Roll’ and there you go. Again, I only format for iOS because that’s what I use, but if enough of you request for other formats, I’ll be happy to provide those as well. Anywho…Happy Fall Y’all!
We woke up the next morning to warm golden sunlight bathing the 2000-foot sandstone walls that surrounded us. If you don't get up, stand up, and stare in absolute awe, you're simply not human. We made ourselves a quick breakfast of oatmeal, powdered eggs (yummy…) and instant coffee (double yummy…), packed up our packs for the second half of this puppy, and hi-ho, hi-ho, back to the Narrows we go.Read More
Earlier in the week, I passed along a few iPhone wallpapers with that parallax dynamic madness in celebration of the iOS7 release, and now that the new iPhone itself has been released today, figured why not...I've gone to Society6 and done some fancy shmancy cases using some of my photographs you've seen on these pages and on my Google Plus page to protect them buggers!
Oh, and if you use this link to order before September 22, you'll get free shipping...
Ok, that's about as much shameless self-promotion as I feel even mildly comfortable with, so I'll back off...for now...
...and the next part of the 3 National Parks, 3 States, 2 weeks, 1 Crap Bag story coming early next week...
So to continue in what I hope to be an ongoing tradition (all depends on how my memory decides to treat me week by week...), here's another one optimized for an iPhone background so you can play with all that new iOS 7 dynamic parallax 3D wallpaper psychotica in style. This one's from Utah, just on the outskirts of Zion National Park on the way to Bryce Canyon National Park. Looked in our rearview mirror as we were driving and I hit the brakes immediately. If you missed the latest blog post from yesterday which tells the story of this adventure "3 National Parks, 3 States, 2 Weeks, 1 Crap Bag - Entering The Narrows," click HERE. It's the 3rd part in an ongoing series. If you want to start at the beginning, click HERE.
Anyhow, have fun with iOS 7. All you gotta do with the images below is just simply drag n' drop or right click and 'Download Image as...' or 'Save As...' You'll notice the parallax versions are a bit larger, so if you've got a 4s or newer, I recommend downloading those ones - you'll see why when you start to play... I've also added parallax versions of last week's wallpaper on that post as well. Click the 'Continue Reading' button below the image to access all available versions for your device.
And again, if I get enough interest for other devices, I'll gladly begin to format for those as well. Feel free to drop me a line...
Yes! Here it was! The morning of not only one of the most anticipated parts of this trip, but one of the most anticipated hikes of the past decade and a half…the Narrows! While Angel's Landing was a test in the fear of heights, this one proved to be the complete opposite, hiking Zion National Park's Narrows was a test in our threshold for claustrophobia…and this one, I found myself MUCH more comfortable with. I don't know what that says about me, but the only thing I was afraid of here was getting my camera gear wet as, over the next 48 hours, we'd be hiking through Utah's Virgin River for 18 miles.Read More
We were quite exhausted as the sleep the night before was less than optimal, and to top it off, we were forced to rise around 6am to get in line to ensure securing one of the limited number of backcountry permits they issue each day for the overnight option of hiking the Narrows, so after a quick oatmeal breakfast and a cleansing and refreshing dip in the river, decided we'd take a midday nap before using our first day in Zion National park to climb Angels Landing.
Now if you don't know Angels Landing, I implore of you to look it up…read a bit about it…and hot dammit people, don't look down! I'd try to explain a bit about it here, but I'd likely get vertigo just typing the description.
It was about 4pm when we hopped on a park shuttle that dropped us off at the trailhead and we began making our way up the steep climb with the goal of reaching the summit for sunset. Now, I'm all for a fairly strenuous 2 hour, 1700-foot climb along some of the most spectacular ridge side switchbacks you'll ever find yourself conquering. The views of the canyon in its entirety are incredulously awe-inspiring to say the very least. The color palate alone - everything from deep browns to bright oranges to ruby reds, forest greens, neon greens, and turquoise blues - was enough to make an Andy Warhol piece envious.
What I'm not all for is flirting with death.
And that's where I hit a crossroads.
Call me what you will, but you don't really realize what you're in for until your wobbling knees are looking ahead at 2600 feet of 3 foot wide ridge line flanked by a 2000-foot drop on either side…and your cajones depending on nothing but chains and rebar drilled into the side of the ridge. If we didn't leave them in the car, those crap bags might have come in handy right about now. Sure there was some consolation in seeing the groups of people that did it and were on their way back, but that consolation proved only half effective once you saw the ridiculously concentrated look of horror mixed with anxiety-ridden focus on everyone's dilated pupils as their white-knuckled hands finally let go of the chain at the base upon their return.
Nope. Sorry. Screw that crap.
So while my buddy decided to brave it, I did what I felt was the smart thing for my no sleep, tired, made-the-mistake-of-looking-down-first self - waited. And that led me to a realization - this was another situation that reminded me why travel is so vital to personal growth - for putting yourself in situations that are unfamiliar and uncomfortable help you learn more about yourself than when you're isolated to your comfort zone. Those situations are necessary in teaching you things about yourself that you can't otherwise learn…and in this case, I learned that I'm much more afraid of heights than I ever thought before. I sat there and asked myself a question "Would you rather risk your own safety for the reward of a sunset from atop the heights of Zion National Park, or swallow your pride and enjoy the same sunset from a slightly different perspective on more solid ground?"
One day I will conquer that fear. Today was not that day.
We got back to camp around 10pm, just in time to get our packs ready for the overnight backpacking trip through the Narrows that we'd begin the next morning, cook dinner, enjoy a couple swigs from the dedicated scotch bota, and finally get ourselves some real, restful shuteye.
The Narrows…been trying to get this checked off the list for over a decade. I'm hyped!
To read the next part of the journey, “3 National Parks, 3 States, 2 Weeks, 1 Crap Bag - Entering the Narrows,” click here.
Below are a few images from the climb up to Angel's Landing, and if you missed Part 1 of this saga, CLICK HERE.
So I'm sitting here writing the entries and processing photos for the next few blog posts for my recent series "3 National Parks, 3 States, 2 Weeks, 1 Crap Bag," and ran across a few images that I couldn't help but think to myself, these would be pretty sweet iPhone backgrounds. So to break up that series of posts, I figured I'd throw these out to everyone if you want 'em both as teasers for the blog posts and just because I've had a glass of scotch, the new iPhones just got announced, and I'm in a sharing mood. I'll try to post one every other week (if I remember). These are sized for iPhone 5 and iPhone 4, and if I get enough interest and comments, I'll resize for other mobile devices as well. If you wanna, just simply drag n' drop or right click and 'Download Image as...' or 'Save As...' Click the "Read More" button below the image for all the download options...
And make sure to watch out for Part 2 of "3 National Parks, 3 States, 2 Weeks, 1 Crap Bag" tomorrow...
So we got the call…our friends were getting married…and they were doing it where? In Colorado?
ROAD (read: PHOTO!) TRIPPP!
It had been quite some time since I've taken a trip really worth calling a 'trip,' so needless to say, I was hyped! Not only do we get to knock a few things off the proverbial 'bucket list,' but it would all culminate in a super celebration with all of our friends in one place…away from everything they knew. It was hard enough to get them together in the same town, but a different state?! I didn't know what would happen, but what I did know that this was gonna be good.
So a couple of buddies that were able to take the time off before the wedding got together three weeks before and over a 12-pack, decided we'd drive in through Utah where we'd hit up Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and then head into Colorado where we'd hit Rocky Mountain National Park before heading into the Loveland / Fort Collins area to visit a friend, then down to Denver to visit another friend, and finally back over the Rockies into Durango, Colorado for the wedding.
And that was the only time we met.
And that was the only plan we had.
And there were no beers left at the end of that meeting.
Next thing you know, it's 3 days before the trip, one of the trio had to unexpectedly drop out due to pressing family matters, and we're suddenly scrambling around to put together any logistics, but, if there's one thing I can count on with my friends, logistics just don't matter. We knew where we wanted to go, we've all done enough camping and backpacking to have an idea of what we'd generally need, so bought a bunch of non-perishables, threw our GSI Dualists and MSR Pocket Rocket into our Osprey packs, chucked it all into the back of the Explorer, and off we went. The 101 to the 134 to the 210 to the 15 through Vegas (can't tell you how good it felt to go right through Vegas and not stop…) where there's a whole lotta nada before finally getting into Utah with just enough time and light to secure one of the last 4 campsites, set up, cook up, and rest up just a 1/4 mile from the entrance to Zion National Park.
The next morning, we got up early to hit the Visitor Center to get backcountry permits to hike the Narrows (where a park ranger treated me to my inaugural introduction to my first back country crap bag - yes…a bag for your crap for the overnight trip through the Narrows) and to find a campsite within the park right along the Virgin River, which we'd become MUCH more acquainted with over the next several days. That's when I got my first daylight peek of what we were in for…insanely ridiculously grand orange and red sandstone peaks and valleys as far as the eye can see in either direction.
There's a moment when you're traveling when everything you're so used to thinking about day in and day out, your monotonous and cyclical comfort zone, just washes away within milliseconds, and you realize that, whether you like it or not, you just have to let go…
This was that moment - the 'ohhhh damn…here we go…' moment.
For Part 2 of this adventure, CLICK HERE.