Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What you don't want to see when you're four miles from the trailhead

Karen & I arrived in Jackson Hole last week excited at the prospect of hiking up the Cascade Canyon trail. The canyon is situated between Grand Teton which is 13,770 feet high to the south and several peaks over 11,000 feet to the north. Steep cliffs descending from these peaks ensure that the highpoints to the north and south are not visible until one hikes considerable distance into the canyon. Of course spotting bear paws four miles into it tempered our excitement with no small degree of apprehension. After about another mile though we were fortunate to see the bear had gone south towards Jenny Lake and we pressed on - due north!

As the trail wraps around the base of Rockchuck Peak and enters Paintbrush Canyon we hiked past alpine lakes and fields with stunning views of the jagged Tetons. At roughly 10,720 feet we meandered through lodgepole pine and impressive rock walls with awesome views of Jenny and String lakes below us.

We were taking a much needed rest and while eating some of the trail mix we purchased at Dornans, I looked up to survey the world in front of us only to discover we were being scrutinized by this fellow not more than 20 yards away.

It was 17 degrees, we were tired, our feet were cold and I was wishing I didn't have that second snifter of Drambuie the night before, but if you look closely at this last photograph you'll see the visual reference of the word 'happy'.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Eagle o'er the Tetons

The Eagle is a messenger to the Creator. When the earth was created, a great thundercloud appeared on the horizon. Flashing lightning and thundering it's call, it descended toward the treetops. As the mists cleared, there was an eagle perched on the highest tree on the mountain. He took flight and flew slowly down to the ground. As he approached the earth, he put forward his foot, and as he stepped upon the ground, he became a man.

Shoshone Indian legend

In January of 2000 my thoughts were what better way to ring in the new century than to spend a couple of weeks in the Grand Tetons. I needed to feel the grandeur and breathe the atmosphere of this special place and I can still remember the anxious excitement and expectant anticipation I felt as I went hiking up to get the right perspective on the Snake River overlook. The higher I went up the trail the more stunning the view became and the sweeter the air smelled. Once I was in position I wanted to enjoy taking my time while setting up my tripod and camera, but while I was taking my meter readings I noticed the cloud passing over the mountain range. No time to think, hardly time to meter, this photograph was composed in seconds and I got five shots off before the cloud dissipated leaving me in wonder and awe. For a few timeless seconds I like to think I witnessed something inspired by a higher power.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


So, how rough is the road to Point Sublime? If you are up to traveling a long, rough and remote back-country road, you’ll be rewarded at the far end of this drive with one of the most breathtaking views in the West. When we picked up our rental, an off road, four-wheel drive, high clearance jeep, I was hoping this vehicle was up to the backcountry expedition we were about to undertake. The road is mainly just a dirt path that travels through the Kaibab Forest, desert areas, canyon cliffs and sublime meadows. In some places it is a double track deep in the earth. In other places it is just a small trail cutting thru the forest. Some of the hills are riddled with deep ruts that must be carefully negotiated. These roads are very narrow in places and most of the time scrub brush and pinion pines were scraping the sides of our jeep. The final section of road passes through a portion of the forest that is layered with tiny lavender flowers.

There is no way to adequately describe how beautiful the canyon looks from this vantage point, where you can see in three directions. Canyon Swallows, Vultures, Ravens, and Golden Eagles are commonly seen soaring or maneuvering over the canyon. Occasionally an endangered California Condor is seen.

We all gathered at the furthest most point to watch the canyon glow warm and red as the sun set below the horizon. We sat feet from the edge staring thousands of feet down to the canyon’s depths, watching as shadows slowly overtook more and more of it. Standing here overlooking the sheer beauty of what has to be one of the most fantastic views on earth, is where I struggle: there are no words to describe the view that greets you at the rim. Everywhere you look are the most majestic views - each one more amazing than the last. It truly makes me feel that my life is just a pinpoint on a very long timeline. The Grand Canyon is truly something that has to be experienced.

The Revolution starts...NOW!


If 1967 gave us the 'Summer of Love', 1968 brought the confrontations in Chicago and the assassinations of Kennedy and King. By ‘69 things were starting to feel very dangerous. If the Revolution was going to happen it wasn't going to be without a little violence. The status quo was not about to give up without a fight. Volunteers is the rock album for The Revolution That Never Was. In many ways it's as relevant today as it was 40 years ago. That Revolution may not have succeeded, but Grace Slick (pictured here in a photograph I took of her in 1969) and the Jefferson Airplane certainly did. Of all their albums, 'Volunteers' political stance overshadows the rest of their albums and one of those songs "We Can Be Together” contains a lyric that's eerily as relevant today as it was then.
"All your private property is target for your enemy.. And your enemy is greed."
If that isn't a warning for Conservative America, then I don't know what is.
This album is an unrecognized timeless masterpiece that I still get the chills playing, preferably as loud as possible.




Since Christ rose from the dead, the power of love has been stronger than that of hatred. This is the certainty of the Church and is the reason for its joy which, during the night of the Easter vigil, is manifested in the singing off the Exultet. This is the third symbol of the "vigil of all vigils," together with the fire and water, and all of them are "manifested" in the resurrection. This photograph, taken at sunrise on New Years Day, symbolizes the lighting of the new fire and the living water.