When the world is in chaos, and you find yourself fearing checking the news feeds every morning, it’s time for a break.I took some time to go hit the road with one of my best friends. Our mission was simple, go see some places we’ve never been, and try to stay out of cell service as much as possible. We traveled about 3,000 miles in my Outback around the American West to go see some of our country’s greatest treasures, our National Parks.
Before starting our journey through these parks we took some time up in Coeur d’Alene Idaho for some R&R. We fished, sailed, kayaked all over the lake, laid out on the dock and let ourselves slip into vacation mode. On our 14 hour drive up to Idaho I looked up in the sky and noticed we were close to a new moon. I thanked myself right then for bringing my tripod. I’ve always wanted to take a stab at astrophotography. So I waited till I thought it was dark enough and set up my tripod overlooking the lake and you can see the results below. After a few more days of living the good life it was time to hit the road.
Our first park we stopped in was Yellowstone, it’s difficult to describe because I’ve never seen anything like it. It was like being on another planet, with barren features and bubbling mud pits, the smell of sulphur in the air – you almost expect to see aliens come around the corner any minute. Then you go through the other side of the park, see the great plains and the herds of buffalo you suddenly get transported to a western flick and feel like a real American cowboy. It’s truly a spectacular place. The next park we visited was my personal favorite of this trip.
The Grand Tetons are something to behold, as cliche as it is to say, you really have to see them to believe them. Most of my backpacking adventures have taken place in the Sierras of California which I thought were truly rugged, then I saw the Teton Mountains. They stick up like daggers in the sky surrounded by boulder fields. A place I plan on returning to with my climbing gear.
Our last stop on our tour of the American West was Zion National Park. It’s such a beauty, also with a very unique layout. I’ve never driven through a park and felt like I was on a Disney ride. It has an immaculate two lane red road through the park. It takes you through a huge tunnel to reveal a magnificent canyon that you begin the winding decent into. All to end up with you finishing at the gift shop/ranger station. With the Covid-19 situation going on, most of the Park was limited but it was just the taste I needed to get me to come back and do some real exploring.
When I go on a trip my main goal is to take in my experience to the fullest. A lot of times that means leaving my camera at home. If I am taking pictures I use my phone for personal moments. This trip was different, I wanted to challenge myself to do something that I don’t normally do, landscape photography. It’s not something I’ve had too much interest in to be honest unless that involved me going full Ansel Adams and using a large-format camera. This year has been different though. This virus has tested my patience again and again, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s taught me to take it slow, be kind to myself. If you spend enough time locked in a house during COVID one of two things is going to happen, either you’re going to be better to yourself, or you’re going to be miserable. Part of being better to myself is forcing myself to do things I normally wouldn’t do to break habits. So that’s how we ended up with this black and white series. I hope you enjoy them.