Chiricahua and Beyond – Day 1

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Drive east across southern Arizona
veer southeast at Willcox
and cross the high desert.

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Here are the Chiricahua Mountains, a sky island,
and Chiricahua National Monument.
Begin in the mixed oak and conifer forest and

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ascend 6000 feet, finish amidst the highest rocks,
Chiracahua Peak is 9,759 feet high.
An Apache place name, it  means “a wonderland of rocks”.

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The rocks are rhyolite, volcanic rock,
the trees are juniper, pygmy trees,
and the Chiricahuan Raven calls this mountain his home.

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Return the way one came, descending Bonita Canyon Road,
and return to the high desert.
The tumbleweed blow. A storm approaches.

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Drive east again, towards New Mexico,
the first day of travel nearly done.
The air so dry and hot, the rain evaporates before it reaches the ground.

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Cross country travel. Using iPhone and Hipstamatic app. There is little time to stop for photographs, so these are on-the-road shots.

Driving to the Desert – Arriving Home

 

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1500 miles in the past, 300 miles yet to come.

Driving towards Alamogordo, New Mexico. Clouds hug the mountain ranges.

The snow from the last hundreds of miles has melted and, except for a few puddles, the desert looks like the desert.

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Ready to be home.

The Organ Mountains, one of the newest National Monuments (2014), rise above the clouds.

Warmer air blew in from the west and trapped the cooler air below it. This caused a cloud inversion which pushed clouds low in the canyons of the mountain ranges and exposes the high peaks.

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It was a late and very dark arrival — and included a bonus! A meteor shower through the front windshield as we drove the final 30 miles. Even a green shooting star! What a welcome!

The morning after the late arrival…the sun had yet risen over the Santa Rita mountain range and the clouds were bright with desert glitter sunlight!

And I am home. Home in the desert.

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This is the last of the “every 100 miles” series.

All photos taken using my iPhone and Hipstamatic app with filter set on random. Since time and distance were the priorities, all photos were taken “on the fly” = zipping past at 65-75 miles per hour.

Essence of travel.

Traveling to the Desert – Day 3

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1000 miles done, 800 miles to go.

January 2nd and businesses are open, back to business as usual.

The 6 am crowd, grits and coffee and conversation, at a diner west of Liberal, Kansas.

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Excuse me, you there in the front seat. Can you please tell me…what does “1800 miles” mean again?

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1100 miles done, 700 miles yet to go

Hooker, Oklahoma

“It’s a location, not a vocation.” Town motto.

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Grain elevators…in every town along the way.

I see these elevators as visible symbol of each town we pass through, as a conglomeration of add-on buildings, as central figure in a town or as building on the periphery. But I also see them in an abstract way – composition, light and shadow, and what can I capture instinctively, no time to stop or study. What do I see, where do I focus? Sometimes I like what I see in the many grain elevator photographs I take, sometime I press delete a lot.

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1300 miles in the past, still 500 miles to go

Santa Rosa, New Mexico.  A stop for lunch – complete with a tres leche pudding (not a baked custard, a creamy pudding) which made my sweet tooth happy in a most contented way.

Prickly pear cactus in the snow. The house was abandoned, but the cactus garden was thriving.

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1400 miles done, 400 to go.

A surprise. The remnants from Winter Storm Goliath that covered eastern New Mexico with several feet of snow a week ago.

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Only 5 to 8 inches remained, but the high desert was a winter wonderland. Junipers and cedars still glittered with an icy coating.

Desert shrubs in white.

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I’ve arrived in the desert, but documentation of “every 100 miles” took awhile to process (in between cleaning, getting groceries, and all the other jobs required after a long absence).

Since time and distance were the travel priorities, all photos taken “on the fly” = zipping past at 65-75 miles per hour.

All photos using my iPhone and Hipstamatic app with the filter set on random. Optional post processing.

 

Traveling to the Desert — Day One

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December 31.

Heading west from Wisconsin.

Driving to the desert.

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100 miles done, 1700 to go.

Crossing the Mississippi River at Dubuque, Iowa

River is icy, not frozen.

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200 miles done, 1600 miles to go.

Iowa farm

Minimalist. Lines.

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300 miles done, 1500 miles to go. break in travel for a hometown visit

crossing the Mississippi again, this time into Illinois

river is high on December 31st after unprecedented winter rains

much of Quincy is built high on the bluffs, natural flood protection

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the bridge of my childhood travels

crossing this bridge always meant some version of travel adventure — a visit with family who across the river in Missouri or Iowa, or a weekend trip to St. Louis (the big city)

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Since driving and arriving are the priority for this trip, all photos are drive by. And on the first leg of the journey, all shots are taken through winter-slushed windows.

Hipstamatic filters set on random (but still available for some post processing when desired) and my iPhone add a sense of photo adventure with a modicum of control.

Honolulu – First Impressions

Honolulu Skyline

Honolulu Skyline

To the arriving and leaving. To the journey
I wake to freshness. And do reverence.
~ Jack Gilbert

Circling the Hawaiian Islands – part family tradition, part pilgrimage, part challenge.

Family Tradition:

I’ve been traveling the United States – summer road trip! – for nearly 50 years; my husband and kids joined me in the annual camping/cross-country road trip over thirty years ago. By the time our three kids had graduated from high school, we had visited 46 states. My younger daughter and I explored Washington and a bit of Oregon in 2010 to increase our “states visited” number to 48. Our recent visit to Hawaii made the island state #49. With good fortune, Alaska will be #50 in 2016.

Almost a year ago Manda and I began planning a visit to Hawaii. To take best advantage of our short stay of 9 days, two of which were travel days, we planned to fly into Honolulu and then take a 7 day island cruise, with stops at Maui, the Big Island (day long stops at both Hilo and Kona) and then an overnight stop in Kauai before cruising back to Oahu. The plan worked well for us as first time visitors – it was a delicious taste of Hawaii. We now have a long list of new favorites to visit the next time we head (far) west.

St. Augustine Catholic Church and Waikiki Coastline

St. Augustine Catholic Church and Waikiki Coastline

Pilgrimage: a spirit-renewing ritual, a journey to find/see the sacred in the ordinary.

~ Bo Mackison

Part Pilgrimage:

We arrived in Honolulu a day early to get our land legs after our long flight, although in retrospect it wasn’t so much the land legs I needed as a stronger pair of sea legs…

The view from the hotel – iconic. Not only the golden Pacific, a sea of honey-hued waves aglow in the setting sun, but also a bit of the Waikiki coast, the iconic surfers (and surfing students) waiting to ride incoming waves, palm tree-lined streets. And this church, tucked into the hotel hustle and beach crowd – St. Augustine by the Sea. The modern church, built in 1962, replaced an older wooden structure built in 1901. The older church was well-known as the “church without windows” — latticework walls provided an open structure and ocean breezes provided ventilation. I hoped for time inside the church — a soothing place to sit with my thoughts and a place to rest my knees for a bit — but the building was locked.

Instead I found refuge sitting on a bench tucked under a banyan tree and watched the rhythm of the surfers and the waves.

Hotel Visitors, 26th Floor

Hotel Visitors, 26th Floor

“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”

~Toni Morrison

Part Challenge:

This trip was on my maybe list for months. Though we’d made the reservations almost a year ago, 2015 was one of those challenging years, punctuated by way too many ups and downs. I’d had to cancel several greatly anticipated trips throughout the year, aware that in order to best care for myself I had to limit travel and other activities.

So it was with a mixture of concern and relief that I packed my luggage for Hawaii. I also packed a mental self-care list, acknowledging the need to balance the joys and frustrations of travel with my awareness of limitations and the willingness to practice extreme self-care when needed.

Challenge…but I wanted to fly.