The last month has definitely centered around spending time with family and friends.
Sadly, it also included Rost’s first trip (of what I’m sure will be many for this little mountain goat) to the ER. After exhibiting a fever of 102.8 and difficulty breathing we took him in one night. After 4 hours of waiting we got the diagnosis of an ear infection. Due to my history of ear infections as a child, which resulted in multiple sets of tubes, I hope this kid has his father’s ear canals.
Sometime around 2015, I won an auction on eBay for a used camera. This particular camera was a Nikon D4 from the set of Joel Sartore’s Photo Ark. Up until this point I had only periodically played with full manual settings. Reminiscent of when I bought Mi Baja there’s no better way to learn a new skill than to jump in feet first. My D4 and I have had countless adventures over the years traveling not only numerous states but countries as well.
Recently my most reliant travel companion has been acting up a bit. A trip to Nikon for cleaning did not address the main issue. Before I could even get her back to Nikon for a diagnosis Brian surprised me with Nikon’s newest camera, the D6.
*insert lots and lots of happy tears here*
The following photos are from D6’s maiden voyage. I reserved a ticket to the Albuquerque Biopark’s Garden and spent the morning enjoying the sights and my new toy.
Established in 1939 to provide a critical layover for migrating waterfowl, the Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is just a hop, skip, and jump south of Albuquerque. Over the winter this outdoor haven is known as home to TENS of thousands of ducks, geese, and cranes. I’d heard whispers of this magical place but had yet to explore it myself until tonight. Hoping the holidays would keep a bit of the crowd at bay, I took off for a quick road trip tonight. The place did not disappoint. I cannot wait for my dad’s next trip to NM to show him this bird watcher’s dream come true.
My wonderful niece & Seester flew to ABQ to spend Thanksgiving with me. We took the opportunity for sightseeing, a reason to visit new states (Colorado, NM, Arizona, & Utah for them), and a great chance to spend Thanksgiving together.
Growing up in the Appalachian Mountains there are few people in my childhood who didn’t hunt. As a small child, when angry at my father, would threaten to joint PETA when I grew up just to piss him off. I clearly was the only non-hunter in a long line of hunters.
So when I married Brian, and my life combined with his, I promised that I’d at least give one of his favorite past times a try. Not long after moving to Alaska I took my hunter safety course. That was as far as I was able to get mentally.
Six years later, Brian won a veteran Oryx tag on the White Sands Missile Range. As a once in a lifetime opportunity, I didn’t want to miss the chance so I started mentally preparing myself. My plan was to shoot the way I’d come so comfortable with, Nikon in hand. However, as a secured military and missile range, cameras were not allowed, so my D4 stayed home while we scouted the range. Only a single photo, under strict guidelines was allowed by a point and shoot (or smartphone).
The hunt itself was over in less than two hours. I thoroughly enjoyed scouting & driving the dirt roads of a scenic place with such restricted access.
Most importantly, I am so thankful for all of the delicious meat that now sits in my freezer. I’ve never understood trophy hunting, but there are plenty of meals that may have passed by in my childhood were it not for the ability of my father to set the table with the food the land provided. Delicious, nutritious, and another happy memory.
Down the Reddit rabbit hole I fell. The longer I lay awake, the further, and harder I fell.
It started with an image of a dust covered Jeep. Although it was the beautiful red rocks that surrounded it that really captured my attention. It only took me a few days to track down all the information I needed to know I could pull this off. Anything else was up in the air, but that’s all I needed at that time. Once I knew it was doable with what I already had on hand, I knew it was only a matter of time.
Moab is exactly a 6 hour and 4 minute drive from my house. After packing the truck and kissing my critters goodbye, Brian & I took off for the New Mexico border. Now while we’re fully aware that there is a global pandemic going on, we packed in such a way that required no human contact for the duration of our trip – extra gas, all the food (and them some) for all meals in the Yeti cooler, Tepui tent sleeping quarters, and all the other ammenities to make travel comfortable and devoid of all human contact.
We arrived with plenty of time to scope out our camp for the night. It was a balmy 107 at the peak of the afternoon when we arrived. Brian stayed in the air conditioned truck, while I basked in the heat after freezing my butt off in Alaska for 4 years.
I will say when the sun finally set it was the perfect temperature for sleeping. We were up with the sun and it was a beautiful time for photos while breakfast cooked on the grill.
After packing up, we hit the trail for the off-road adventure we had come here for: Chicken Corners OHV Trail. There’s not much I can say about my experience of climbing over 4,500 feet of rocky trail in one of the most beautiful places I have had the priveledge of exploring, so I’m just going to let my pictures doing the talking for me. Enjoy.
I’m supposed to be back on the East coast visiting my family for the first time in over two years, but thanks to Covid, that trip will have to wait until another time. I’d take time with my family over just about any adventure any time, but as a consolation prize, this was about as good as they get.
It takes all kinds to make the world go round. Even so, it still amazes me that there are people out there who prefer to stay in their own little bubble over getting out and exploring the world around them.
My friend, Monica, is one of them. I’ve been threatening to kidnap her since just after I met her roughly 1 year ago. Today, I finally made good on my threat.