Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top

On top of the world
looking down at the sunrise
rocky mountain high

It can be a feeling, a perspective, or a physical location — share a photo that says “On Top.”

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Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top

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Over The Rockies

High altitude flight
500 miles per hour
Thinner atmosphere

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Over The Rockies

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Colorado Landscapes

14,000 feet
above the Earth’s sea level
oxygen deprived

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Colorado Landscapes

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Wandering the Arkansas

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wandering along
rocky mountain river banks
relaxes the mind

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Mt. Evans | America's Highest Highway

The drive up was exasperating. It may have been one of my scariest experiences driving ever. I was having trouble sleeping the night before, so I was up till the wee hours of the morning researching cool spots to photograph in Colorado. After some time, I decided I would take a day trip to Mt. Evans and try to capture the “Blue Moon” from 14,000 feet above sea level. I was operating on pure adrenaline by the time I was driving up the pass. I was physically exhausted, sleep deprived, and running on fumes.

I caught the sunrise and the moonset in one photographic frame, I gasped for breath and watched the sun pull back the shade on the night to reveal an ocean of mountaintops as far as the eye could see. I explored the ruins of an old restaurant that burnt down in the 1950’s and offered to take a portrait of a couple who were openly regretting not having their camera with them. I emailed them the image, but I never heard back from them. Perhaps they googled me and saw something they didn’t like. I don’t know. I broke a lens trying to take a self-portrait in high winds, and my knuckles ached from gripping that giant VW bus steering wheel, a nervous reaction to the extremely steep drops and sharp curves. I can’t remember ever being more scared driving a vehicle, and I have driven some crazy things in my time. Mt. Evans is unique in that it is one of the few summits that stand over 14,000 feet above sea level and can be accessed by a paved road. It’s an amazing place with thousand year old bristle cone pine trees, breathtaking vistas, and abundant wildlife. If you ever get the chance, you should definitely check it out.

 

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Mt. Evans | America’s Highest Highway

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Wanderlust

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”

Maya Angelou

It is our family’s goal to permanently travel someday. As much for ourselves and the experience of traveling, but also for our daughter and the education that a traveling life can provide. I don’t claim to be an expert on traveling, nor do I have any sound advice to offer for those who share the dream of becoming traveling families. For us, it is a reason to get up in the morning, to study hard, to go to work, to save our money. It is a shared goal that we strive towards together. We have sacrificed a lot. When my flat screen television broke, we did not replace it. When our landlords told us they were selling the beautiful home we rented from them, we moved into a small apartment close to work.

We have cut our monthly expenses in half and are still working on purging our non essential belongings. We estimate we can be on the road within 3 years, with a modest amount of funds saved up to at least survive the first year. We sacrifice modern comforts that we know just get boring after a while anyway. I think my daughter could use a life without a couch and a living room for awhile. A world where the TV is not the center of our attention. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up in the 80’s, I love TV.  I just don’t want it to define my daughters or my family’s life.

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Wanderlust

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Street Art: Salida, Colorado

I am attracted to colorful walls, or maybe it is just color in general. I am color blind, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t see color. I just have problems deciphering between blue and purple, and green and red. When they bust out the chart with the colorful dots, I can’t see anything past the first card. I see color and I run to it like a mosquito to a bug zapper.

I have to say, this is one colorful town. There seems to be a mural around every corner, and the streets are lined with bars, art galleries and coffee shops. There is a beautiful park right along the river, as well as a really cool amphitheater that I would love to sit in and listen to some music. While camping just outside the city, a gentleman hanging out by the boat ramp at the Bighorn Sheep Canyon campground approached me and asked if I was from out of town. He said it was because I was taking pictures like I had never seen the mountains before. I just told him I’m always taking pictures. He replied “Oh, your one of those..”

I made several attempts to make my departure and get out of the conversation, but he had that masterful ability to hold me in the conversation, he was that guy that just doesn’t pick up on the uncomfortableness, or he just doesn’t care. Long story short: He informed me that Salida is home to the nation’s oldest whitewater festival, the yearly FIBArk. The festival coincides with an annual whitewater rafting race that has been going on since 1949. Originally the race started in the Arkansas River in Salida and was a 57 mile course culminating in Canon City by way of the Royal Gorge Canyon. Due to treacherous conditions over the years, caused by heavy spring runoff, the race was shortened to its current length 27.7 miles from Salida to Cotopaxi.

I suppose this is really an ad for Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, and I’m not sure if that  disqualifies it from being street art or not, but I like it. I’m not sure what the rules are regarding this, but to be honest, I’ve never been much for rules anyway. I like the fact that it’s painted on the wall, I think the beer cans in place of kayaks is a clever twist. The Arkansas River runs right through the center of town, so this fits right in. The whole town is actually covered with painted walls similar to this. We didn’t stay long, but I get the feeling we’ll be back. It’s just that kind of town.

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Salida, Colorado

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