I once wrote that I would try to post every weekend (or closely thereafter); I’d read that to keep and increase readership, one needs to blog and blog (relatively) often.
I’m on vacation right now (Aug 24 – Sep 2, 2012). I packed up one of my Canon 5D Mk II bodies, two rented Canon 5D Mark III bodies, my 70-200mm + 1.4x teleconverter, my 16-35mm lens, 40mm pancake lens, and 24-105mm lens (in addition to the circular polarizers and Lee 4×6 .9 soft graduated ND filters) for this trip. I arrived in Denver, then flew to Durango, Colorado and am now staying at the Far View Lodge in Mesa Verde National Park. Now you know which cameras and lenses I used to take all of the photos you will see in my future posts. FYI, I’ve used my 16-35mm more than any of the other lenses so far, with the 24-105mm coming in second.
Since I’m saving my photos (so far I’ve taken over 2000 which I need to cull through and edit) and commentary for the numerous travelogues I will post upon my return to Texas, I won’t go into a whole lot of detail here, except to talk about a few things.
As a fellow blogger put it, water is the most important thing to mankind. It’s one of those required staples, without which one cannot live for maybe more than 3 days. Water creates the landscape, nourishes plant- and animal-life, and in many cultures living in arid lands, is worshipped. The longer I stay in Mesa Verde NP, and the more cliff dwelling tours I take in the hot sun and dry air, the more I understand the importance of water. Yes, I’ve heard others go on about the importance of water, but when I get my water from a faucet with a few twists of the tap, I guess I’ve just taken it’s availability for granted. Out here, I don’t.
Something else that I am trying to accomplish is to become more observant during my hikes. Oh, I look around a lot in search of a grand photo op, but there are times when I’m just putting one foot in front of the other to get from Point A to Point B. With this trip, I’m actually looking, observing, listening, and smelling. I’m taking my eye away from the viewfinder to just soak in the atmosphere around me.
I can smell the Utah juniper and pinyon pine. I can smell (and see) the brilliant yellow rabbitbrush that covers the land here. I can hear the songbirds hidden in the Utah serviceberry, I can hear the night wind whipping around my lodge room balcony. I stand on said balcony (with a Buffalo Gold Ale in my hand) and watch the clouds rolling across the mesas, casting blobby shadows hither and yonder.
I did not observe the little grass snake crossing my path as I tiredly trudged back to my car, until I looked down, saw it, and jumped sky high, scaring myself and the poor little snake. I did observe the black widow spider crawling up my lodge room’s bathroom wall (no, I did not take a photo of it – I hate those things – snakes and tarantulas I can deal with, but not black widow spiders).
I am also reflecting more on each thing I learn from the rangers guiding the tours I have taken (Ranger Pete, Ranger Pamela, “Willa Cather” – aka Ranger Paula, Ranger Denice. My backcountry tour to Mug House was lead by a ranger who is an adopted daughter of the Hopi Bear Clan. Of the many interesting and thoughtful things she said, the one that really stands out is that people must respect the land, and respect all life, for everything has a spirit. To disrespect life is akin to a mental illness.
An interesting thing to reflect upon, since I don’t much care for people, although I notice that I am much more loquacious during this trip, because I am happy. When I am in my element, then I am happy and I actually like people more (most of the time, anyway, until some moron tries to tailgate me because he wants to drive faster than the posted speed limit within the park).
So, stay tuned for more thoughts, travel tidbits, and of course, lots of photos. I’ve got 2 more days here in Mesa Verde NP before heading up to Arches NP in Utah.