Minneapolis had so many surprises for me– not the least of which was the Mighty Mississippi creating this breathtaking scene at sunset. The sun set slowly and gently as a light, cool breeze blew over the Stone Arch Bridge where I stood. The distant roar of St. Anthony Falls was little more than a whisper, but it was enough to drown out all of my thoughts while I sat in awe at the beauty of this midwest metropolis that I have somehow missed out on for so long. With the day’s last light the city tightened its grip on my heart and made it certain that I will be returning here whenever I get the chance.
While I was walking through the Philadelphia airport I saw a caption on the screen that caught me by surprise. “Same-Sex Marriage Legal in All 50 States.” I was blown away and amazingly excited for everyone that has been denied this fundamental right for so long. As luck would have it I was traveling to Minneapolis, Minnesota, which is a city that supports and celebrates the LGBT community in ways that I didn’t know existed. The Pride festival was also in full swing when I arrived so I got to spend some time wandering about as people celebrated life and love and freedom. Even on the streets far from the festival there would be cars driving by honking horns, waving streamers, and flying the rainbow flag. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, and this unprecedented decision seemed to have everyone in a great mood! There is still a lot of work to be done, but this deserves celebration. Love wins!
When hiking at Catcoctin Mountain Park in Maryland, I felt like everything was easy. There were some rocky paths and steeper climbs, but I was just enjoying it so much that I didn’t notice the difficulty of the terrain or the 8 miles we walked. The things I noticed were the beautiful scenery, the great weather, and having good conversations with a friend. It’s easier to notice all the good things when you’re in a better mood, and I noticed these really cool flowers once we returned to the trailhead after a great hike.
A welcome cool breeze blows over the raised platform overlooking the mountains of northwest New Jersey just before sunrise on a Tuesday morning. The clouds dance in the sun’s pastel painting, illuminating the rolling hills in a soft glow. It doesn’t feel like the state known for farmland and suburban sprawl. It feels lonesome in a good way. The morning has given me energy that seems to only come with the joy of nature’s beauty and its unique scenery. At this point it feels like I could do anything.
Passing through places I’ve never been I often find unexpected areas of beauty that lead to quiet reflection. This barn scene at Capitol Reef National Park was a place that caught me off guard on a day where I needed some time to think about myself and why I had been feeling the way I was. The serene meadow surrounded by the red rock cliffs was a perfect place for a time out among the horses and light traffic before heading up into the canyon for more adventures.
On the precipice of this lake the water dances in the sunset. The beauty hides the darkness beneath that can’t be seen until you cross the threshold. The two exist in such close proximity that the very edge of light is indistinguishable from that of the edge of darkness. You would never know if someone is on either side until they are fully submerged and gone from sight. It would be so easy to slip under, stop treading, and exhale. The last sight is that setting sun coming down with you.
Striking colors distract from the death that surrounds us, aiming our gaze upwards towards the heavens instead of the small plot of land in the ground which our bodies will inevitably inhabit. Whether it was forethought or just the necessary placement of windows, these ideas lurk in my mind while exploring the cemetery grounds throughout New Orleans. The time- and water-stained above-ground graves and mausoleums are monotone while the sanctuaries boast colorful flowers and windows in true NOLA spirit.
Providence is a beautiful, small city with water everywhere, making the sunrise quite picturesque from wherever you see it. I was lucky enough to be working about 100 feet from this view at dawn so I was able to sneak off and watch the light arrive and start reflecting off of everything. A lone kayaker paddled down the river in the morning calm. Sadly I had to pull myself away to go back to work, but the views from all around the nearby park were fantastic. This is certainly a city I haven’t spent enough time in for how close it is to where I’ve lived most of my life.
Seeing views like this in New Jersey is something unexpected but always welcome. The beautiful views from High Point State Park are unmatched in the state in my opinion. They call it Skylands for a reason. Hiking up the steep ridge in the morning fog to find a view of the sun coming up over the smoky mountains northwest New Jersey was an amazing feeling. I could have stayed there all day, but as the sun got higher I moved on. The views persisted, but never rivaled those few moments of peaceful, silent beauty at this overlook.
Ever since I was young I’ve been easily distracted by things. I’d stare out the window, wishing I could go outside, or just spend time thinking about what I want to do later instead of focusing on right now. I still spend a lot of time thinking/planning things I can do or wishing I was somewhere else where I could be doing those things. I have been able to focus my energy on a few specific goals lately, and I feel like it’s been going really well. It’s nice to set my sights on something and feel like I’m actively taking steps to achieve it.
Due to my being very sick over the past weekend and having to travel for work, I haven’t been able to post any new photos and I’ve been slow getting this one posted. I actually haven’t had any desire to take new photos with how I’ve felt, so I went back into the archives and pulled out this one from the roof of the Divine Lorraine in Philadelphia. This was one of the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen, partially because of the colors and clouds but also because I was sitting on top of this gorgeous old relic of a building in center city Philly looking west over the whole town along with a handful of other adventurers who found their way up there on a warm autumn night. Perfection.
Anyone reading this probably already knows that Utah is my favorite place to visit. The National Parks are astounding, but the view from any given drive on a backroad, state highway, or even an Interstate can leave you speechless from the unmatched beauty that rises up all around you. The red rocks paired with the often blue sky seem to exist in perfect harmony and play off one another, creating the most rich, brilliant versions of either color that you will encounter in nature. Everything else seems just a little more dull after crossing the figurative state line.
The midwest has an emptiness that becomes hypnotic while driving through it. Endless fields lead out to distant horizons, dotted with a few trees and tumbleweeds rolling across the highway. The manmade structures are often the most dominant thing in view, and wind turbines are quite beautiful to me. The way they spin separate from each other and the silhouette against the orange sky at sunset is something I’ve always liked seeing when we pass through the vast open spaces that allow for their use.
Eastern Texas is flat. It’s so flat that any little bit of rain seems to fill up the slightest dips in the ground and turn city parks into marshes. It has made it a challenge to find things to do outdoors even though we haven’t been hampered by the falling rain itself. Camping has been tricky as well, but the reflections in the flooded streets had us in the way of a few cars while we shot. All they gave us was a few honks and dirty looks though. Sorry, Texas motorists, we’re just trying to capture the beauty of your state.
The desert regions of the southwest aren’t nearly as barren as one might think. Besides the incredible structures and canyons there are myriad plant species that line trails and backcountry throughout the area. Wildflowers are abundant in warmer months, and blossoming cactuses are some of the more strangely beautiful flora that you can find. The exotically intriguing flowers beckon while the sharp points encourage you to keep your distance. That’s what zoom is good for.
Hiking in Utah has plenty of rewarding views, and they’re often mixed with amazingly fun climbs. In Capitol Reef National Park we did what we could with the short time we had there, but that was a good amount. We hiked up to a wide canyon between two high walls that allowed us to explore several side canyons to climb up into. It was enough fun just playing in those, but the climb back out to the main trail was this great silhouette of rocks in front of the colorful sunset sky. We are so lucky to get to see these things regularly.
The last two days were spent in and around the canyons of southern Utah. Outside the national parks, there are tons of slot canyons that have been carved into the landscape over millennia of wind, sand, and water rushing through them. Peek-a-Boo Canyon and Spooky Gulch are two of my favorite slot canyons and they happen to part of one loop hike. This view is from above after I climbed up, stemming and using counter-pressure techniques that are a big part of why I love these canyons so much. They are basically a huge playground in nature, and they are some of the most beautiful landforms I have ever seen.
Some people enjoy familiar surroundings and the comfort of home, but for me, waking up to a new sunrise in a different place every day is perfect. Opening the tent and seeing a colorful sky over Lake Powell was a great surprise since I didn’t set an alarm or plan to wake up. The colors briefly streaked before the sun came over the tops of the canyons and began to shimmer in the lake water.
It’s been a fun week spent in Park City, Utah skiing, hanging out with friends, and sitting in hot tubs. It was a resort experience without having to stay at a resort. Sort of. Either way, this place is full of fun stuff to do and there is beauty in all directions. There is a hill in the middle of town called PC Hill, named for the big “PC” letters that adorn the side of it, visible from most anywhere you are in the city. We hiked to the top of the hill last night to watch the sun go down on this great place one last time before we leave. This paints a nice pictures of a very Utah kind of city.
One of the challenges to being on the road is finding a place to sleep every night. Places like Wyoming, which we drove through yesterday, don’t have a lot of places to stop. We set up camp at a rest stop inside a picnic shelter with our tent and it was windy but good. The morning brought this incredible sunrise just outside our tent food. Sometimes you get lucky.
Couch surfing has been a big part of our trips for the past few years. Once we discovered the network of likeminded people who offered their homes for travelers to stay we have been getting more into it ever since. I’ve met some great people that I keep in touch with from all around the country and internationally. This shot is from the deck of last night’s host at sunrise near Lyons, Colorado. Cheri was a great host, and her house was beautifully located high up in the hills with views in all directions. I’ve really enjoyed all of my experience so far with couch surfing, and I can’t wait for more.
We got up quite early to go find a spot near Lake Michigan for sunrise. It’s a good thing we did since it’s not that easy to find parking along Lake Shore Drive. The sky was great and the sunset was beautiful over the water as it lit up the city. I wanted to post a shot from behind my camera since this is what I see a lot of the time and I just really like this shot.
As I’m heading west for a while I’ll be trying to post a snapshot of the previous day. The plan is to be up for sunrise daily and try to catch sunset in some amazing places. I always make note of the last New Jersey sunset I see before a trip. In this case as I was driving north to begin the trip the sun was setting over the highway I just came from. While things don’t always go as planned and riding off into the sunset seems like a fairy tale at times, I’m trying my best to look forward to the sunrises.
The last few hours have been hectic as I’ve been packing for a lengthy road trip to some of my favorite places. At times none of it seems real and my mind is struggling to put all the pieces together to form cohesive thoughts. Ideas come at me from all different directions in varying levels of formation while I try to make sense of it all and make sure I have everything done that I need to. I have finally reached the end of that process and now all that’s left is the waiting to hit the road. Looking forward to new sunrises, sunsets, and everything in between. All that from a window.