This is another view of the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota. Capturing unique angles as well as the reflection of light on Frank Gehry’s buildings can provide endless possibilities. As the sun went in and out of the clouds the building seemed to change colors and even textures, which you can see several examples of here. From shiny, hard-edged pieces to dull, less reflective bits, it all somehow works together as a cohesive, almost earthly, structure.
The falls were so massive and so far away from where I stood that it was hard to take them in entirely. The Mississippi encompasses such a vast area that it feels like water and bridges is all that exists. The rushing water poured steadily over the falls as the sun fell behind the industrial backdrop and left the blue calm over the area. So many people gather here near sunset that it feels more like a busy city street than an old bridge in the old factory district of Minneapolis. The sound of the falls makes it feel like you’re all alone amongst the crowd.
This well-known sculpture did not disappointment me when I saw it in person. “Spoonbridge and Cherry” by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen is in the beautiful sculpture garden of the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis. The park is a nice distraction from the nearby city and highways with a great selection of work by mostly modern and contemporary artists. This sculpture is interesting from all sides and it wasn’t as crowded as I expected. One person did try to walk on it (it is called Spoonbridge after all) and a voice appeared from a hidden speaker telling him to get off. We were clearly being watched. After his warning he quickly ran away and I had my opening to take some photos, so thanks, random security voice!
Surprisingly close to downtown Minneapolis is a beautiful park with a roaring crown jewel in Minnehaha Falls. The falls can be viewed from all angles with the main walkway above and a large series of stairs to get to the base. On a sunny Saturday afternoon there were a lot of people enjoying the park, but it still felt somehow secluded. There were a couple of daring teens that took a walk behind the falls; something I would have done on a less crowded day I’m sure. I’ll wait for the one that’s a little harder to get to.
One of the most unusual and interesting places I visited in Minneapolis was the Mill Ruins near Stone Arch Bridge. The old Gold Medal Flour Mill ruins weren’t torn down, but instead incorporated into the design of the new building. I love the way this city celebrates its roots while openly welcoming the future. There are a lot of historic buildings here as well as so many modern ones, with construction underway on even more. This is definitely a forward-looking city and a beautiful one.
The Weisman Museum of Art had a ton of great pieces that kept me busy examining and reading about for a couple of hours. This piece, James Kielkopf’s Untitled, held my attention for quite a while with its ability to trick my eye into thinking it was a 2-dimensional drawing when it’s actually a hanging sculpture. I love the shadows and the way it changes when you walk around it. Some art you don’t expect to grab you so strongly, but those are the best ones. Seeing some paintings by famous artists I’ve enjoyed intellectually, but others just hit me emotionally and creatively, and they’re usually the ones you didn’t see coming.
Minneapolis has a definite feeling of modernity as you pass by buildings with curves, angles, and textures that feel young and fresh like the city itself. The city isn’t afraid to invite new ideas and embrace them. Frank Gehry’s design of the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota is probably one of my favorite that I’ve seen of his work. Sitting on the river, its sleek metal design seems to be right at home. The curves flow with the water and match the billowing clouds above. Inside there is a great modern art museum as well as classes for the University.
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.
On a side trip from our main hiking destination we headed to Allamuchy State Park for a quick day hike around a lake. The landscape changed quite frequently on the overly flat trail through the woods. The changes in landscape were a nice surprise that kept the otherwise normal trail interesting. I especially enjoyed the fern-filled section near the end of our trail. It feels like you are totally engulfed in the plants while standing off the side of the trail and the green overwhelms your vision.
Hiking on the Appalachian Trail, even for a short time, is something special. Knowing that it extends so far in either direction just makes it feel more… adventurous. Although I haven’t hiked it in very long distances, the sections I’ve gotten to do have been incredible and inspiring. Camping at an AT shelter and getting to mingle with those few, lucky thru hikers of the year is another experience that I treasure. Just rubbing shoulders and sharing stories with them makes me feel a little more a part of something I hope to accomplish myself.
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.
Being in the woods and hiking is one of my favorite things for several reason, but I feel like I think better while I’m hiking. I can process my thoughts while feeling like I’m part of the natural world around me. I feel more in tune with my surroundings, and I notice things like this guy poking his head out of the water as I walked by. He posed for quite a while as I quietly crept around him for a better shot. When I decided to stand up to go to the other side he took his opportunity to dive to the safety of camouflage under the water.
I spent the weekend in Washington, DC, and I had a lot of plans to go around and see some of my favorite places. That didn’t really work out because work had me extremely busy and it was pouring rain one night. Before I left I did get to take a stroll around the Mall up past some of the memorials I rarely visit. I haven’t been to the Lincoln Memorial in a long time, but it was just as crowded and popular as always. This shot makes me think of the calm, respectful idea that was intended for the monument.
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.
I’ve grown accustomed to leaving New Jersey at the start of summer, and, even though it hasn’t been too long since my last visit to the southwest, it get harder every time I return. The red rocks of southern Utah remain the place I desire most often, and my plans to return have already begun to materialize. The next couple of months have already planned themselves out, and then it’s time to go back to where the sun is hot and the humidity is not. It might be a long summer on the East Coast, but sooner than I think I’ll be back among the landscapes of the desert.
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.
It was late in the day when I decided to hike the Lost Mine Trail at Big Bend National Park. It had been a day without a lot of physical exertion and it was set to stay that way with possible storms coming. I felt like I really needed to do it, so I got myself up and hiked very quickly up the gently steep trail. The views along the way were incredible as well, but the nice payoff at the end had me viewing into the canyons that surrounded me and past our campground. It was a beautiful feeling and I jogged down the trail back to my car after taking in the view for a few minutes.
The dunes at Great Sand Dunes National Park are constantly changing. The sinuous lines that weave to the summits of these moving mountains of tiny granules are in perpetual motion though they seem to be a hard geological feature from afar. When you step on the line it dissolves beneath your feet. The screen of blowing sand from the tops of the dunes is blinding and rough while walking along the ridge. After a couple hours walking here everything is sandy including teeth, leaving you spitting small rocks for the rest of the day.
Throughout all the traveling I’ve done, Philadelphia remains one of my favorite cities; probably number one overall. I assume that comes from all of the time I’ve spent with it. So many shows, meals, beers, walks, drives, bike rides, and jobs. It feels like home when nothing else does. As much as I do enjoy the city, there’s not a lot surrounding it that fulfills my appetite for adventure quite the way I want it to. It’s time to leave my favorite city in the rearview mirror and head into the sunset.
Every night in Austin, Texas thousands of bats come flying out from underneath a bridge near downtown. Spectators gather along the bridge and below to watch the amazing and unique sight that makes Austin just a little more weird. It wasn’t quite the Batman cave sequence I was hoping for, but they were really amazing and kept coming out for a long time.
Catching animals off guard can sometimes cause them to run away, but if you’re lucky enough to catch them sleeping you can see just how vulnerable and peaceful they can be. Even though foxes don’t bring to mind any thoughts of vicious attacks, it’s hard to do anything but smile at this one’s slumbering face. It’s not a fair comparison since foxes are generally some of the cutest animals out there, but it makes me think of any animal having a nap and how gentle they can all seem.
On a drive through Utah from Park City to Provo I just happened to pass by some of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve seen on the side of a road. This open pasture was just too perfect with grazing horses and a flowing stream, but to top it all off the snow-capped mountain range in the background makes the scene. This is just one of many amazing roadside attractions I wanted to stop and spend the rest of my day at along the way. If anyone wonders why I want to spend more of my time in Utah, this is the answer.