Hello all and welcome back to my blog! I'm excited to share another post, I will be talking about my summer trip. I went on a vacation with my grandparents and little cousin. Starting in Texas driving up to Minnesota then westward to Glacier national park, into Canada and back down to Texas through Colorado. I am dividing this up into two posts, the first post will be about my experiences on the trip. The second will be about the artwork I produced from the trip, in specific my photography book. Hope you enjoy.
It was the end of July, it was hot and muggy in Texas and I was ready to leave and find cooler weather and to trade the cityscape for mountain peaks. Leaving civilization isn’t easy, it is a long and slow process of letting go. Traveling by road you can see it in the landscape around you. Tall buildings clumped together and stretched up to the sky, streets leading you in and out from every direction like rivers. Cars swarming the roads drifting in and out of lanes and stopped by traffic. Strip malls and corner stores fill the view surrounding themselves with a sea of houses. The suburbs go on and on slowly spacing out to open land until open space is in the majority. The land though is still under men's authority. It’s sectioned off and divided into rectangles filled with crops of corn and soybeans. Finally, when all this fades away the landscape comes alive and here, is where you need to stop and slow down. Stop and allow yourself to fully take in and appreciate where you are. Breathe it in, feel the wind and the sun, hear the leaves sing, watch the birds soar, feel the wonder within you. This is the wilderness; the landscape untouched, to be kept unclaimed and out of man’s grasp. For all to journey and all to see, so all who come can stand in awe of the wondrous creations and take a memory that will fill their mind long after they are gone.
Clear Lake Iowa, a small town just south of the Minnesota border. We ended up staying at a small RV park nestled into a farm. Chickens roamed around the rows of corn and soybeans. We were finally out of the city and it was quiet. I'm normally not very intrigued by farmlands, but the peacefulness of the place took over and it drew me in. There was no mass of cars or traffic jams, no block after block of strip malls, and no seas of houses. It was the place to begin to restore my connection to the landscape. I let go of a part of the city life and took my first step back to the wild.
Goose Berry Falls State Park, MN. My first hike of the trip. When we arrived it was already really busy, fighting to find a parking spot. We walked down to the first and biggest waterfall. It was a warm day for Minnesota and the mass of people was gathered there to swim and stay cool. There were more people there than I expected but I was happy to be out hiking once more. I found a trail that looked good and set off by myself. As I started, the crowd of people faded away and then it was just a passing hiker or two. I followed the river upstream as I was hiking to the upper falls. The trail was fairly easy with some short little climbs. The soil was red, rich with iron, flowing into the river and dying it brown, yet the water remained clear. The blue of the sky contrasted with the ground and water, making both more vibrant. The early afternoon sun left harsh shadows across the ground making an unideal environment for photos. Readjusting my eye and my camera I began to look for spots to capture. When I am out in nature, some sites shout out begging me to take their picture while others will say they are the iconic spot of this place. Then there are some that only whisper a humble plea to be captured in time. I took in the surroundings and saw the waterfalls. It was a nice hike and a next step closer to the wilderness where my heart longed.
Logan Pass, Glacier National Park. Standing at an overlook, I looked down on Hidden Lake. There you could see a small lake down in the valley below, the lake was dark blue and the overcast sky made the surrounding colors more vivid. The lake ran up to high cascading peaks it wrapped all around the lake except for one side where the ridge fell back to the ground and there you could see peaks and valleys for miles in a misty blue. It was my first day in Glacier, my first hike, my first experience. There was so much to take in. The mountains crested high into the sky creating large narrow valleys where lakes of glacier water pooled over years of glacier melt. It was like nothing I've seen before. These mountains have a majestic spell over them. They seemed so much more grand, more pure than those I’ve come across before. While I was taking in the sight of such creation, a thought occurred to me. They say that when sin entered this world it not only corrupted man, but it was so great it spewed down onto the earth. Seeping down to the core of the earth and erupting back up tainting and cracking everything in sight. Even the majestic wonders of this world, the purest untouched places are infected with sin. I was there taking in such a beautiful place and my mind couldn’t even process something grander than this. If this landscape around me is tainted how much more are we? I've always wrestled with that thought and come to conclude that sin is just that powerful, that devastating and destructive. Even creation’s purest forms have fallen from what they once were. Yet, there is still so much awe and wonder when I looked out towards the view. It's the closest thing to pure beauty that we have on this earth and it shines indeed.
Waterton Lakes, Canada. It was early evening but a dense layer of clouds and smoky haze from wildfires covered the sky made it feel much later. I was on the beach shore of the lake walking with my cousin, Lele. We were skipping rocks and walking across driftwood washed up on shore. I came up to a point where I stopped. It seemed the sun was starting to set making the clouds glow a soft golden yellow. It was a beautiful moment in time. I walked up to the water, looking out it now where it seemed as if I was transported to another land. The haze covered the mountains turning them into enchanting waves of misty blue. The mountains wrapped around the lake shooting up from the water’s edge to high sharp peaks. The water was clear, the rocks that filled the shore ran down to the bottom of the lake could be seen as far as I could venture without going in. The clearness mixed with the rippled reflection of the mountains. After taking in the view I captured a few pictures with my phone, but I wanted to go back to camp and get my camera. As we walked back, more clouds rolled in and it began to rain. The moment was gone. I was glad I got to be there when I was and I at least got a picture with my phone.
This trip took me over ten states plus Canada and 4,000 miles of roads, about 70 miles of trails hiked, and memories to be cherished. It was a wonderful time and I'm lucky to have been given the opportunity to see these unique landscapes. The memories, photos, views, inspirations I brought back will stay with me for a long time. As an artist I feel it especially important to travel and see new things, it develops my craft and pushes me to better. While on the trip I kept a sketchbook and drew something almost every day. You can see those sketches down below.
I hope you enjoyed this and stay tuned for part 2 where I will be talking about the book I made from my time in Glacier.