Holy smokes. This last month has seen Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming again, Montana, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Washington and back to Oregon. It has been an epic month of traveling with an almost overwhelming number beautiful sights and experiences.
I took this the first night the moon wasn’t out, we were disbursed camping (my favorite kind) up in the mountains by this lake an hour or so south of Estes Park, Colorado. I set my stuff up by the shore and started to get my shot together when a couple of campers started hiking in to find a spot. The glow their lights made in the wooded cove by the water makes for such an otherworldly, ethereal look. For some strange reason this image makes me think of the extra terrestrial encounter I always feel like I might be on the verge of experiencing. If you hang out in the deep woods at night for long enough it’s bound to happen, right?
I really appreciate the opportunity to get out of my usual daily environment of beautiful wooded mountains and head out into the unknown. Standing in a parking lot in a tiny ( like, really tiny) Montana town at night watching this massive storm roll through filled my body with the energy that seemed to be pulsing through the air. The experience reminded me of my upbringing in small town Arkansas, how much I learned from growing up in the beautiful hills of the Ozarks and how I can probably never live in a place like that again. I understand and appreciate that a lot of those little communities provide everything that their residents need and a lot people are happy living out their days in places like that, but for me there is nothing more fulfilling than the excitement and adventure of a life on the move.
Sitting in the truck on the side of the road and watching this mighty beast above wander the Wyoming country side in his herd of hundreds was a truly calming experience. I’m finally starting to feel at home in my new little camper/house, and after some insane days of getting rid of things and organizing it’s finally starting to look like a house too. Living in a six by nine foot space has definitely posed some unique challenges for me, but at the end of the day I feel safe, happy and secure in that little beast. There’s nothing like waking up somewhere new and amazing all the time.
I spent a long time watching the little family above. The two babies (the other one was out of the shot when i took this) ran around like crazy, playing with each other appearing to have the time of their lives. The mother just ate leaves casually and hardly seemed to pay much attention to the kids. There is something truly moving and incredible seeing a little family like this just out in the woods having fun and living their lives. Seeing something like this that is so intimate and beautiful always makes me reflect on the relationships that I keep and the way that I interact with the people in my life. We could all take a little lesson from this perfect little family.
I think one of my favorite things to see on the road is the view of something familiar, yet somehow alien to me. I remember this landscape above catching my eye. I know everything about what is happening there. It’s grass, clouds and mountains, and still it looks so foreign to me.
I’ve talked about the new moon before, when the stars are the very brightest and easily my favorite time of month. I sat on the shore of Jackson Lake, Wyoming for this shot. It was in the very same campground that I came within suprise spitting distance of a mother Grizzly and cub a few years ago. I can’t say that tromping through the woods at night in Grizzly country isn’t exhilarating. I feel like when an opportunity presents itself to photograph a place like this on a night like this, taking a little chance at a gnarly mauling by Ursus Horribilis is a price i’m willing to pay.
I’ve had a couple of traveling companions this summer, one of whom is pictured above. I feel so accustomed to my living environment now that the space restrictions aren’t an issue. The more folks in the party, the more organized we have to become. It has been a wonderful addition to roadlyfe and my life.
I’ve been visiting this bend in the road for many years now, I think the only National Park I visit more than Yellowstone/Tetons is Big Sur. The Tetons have been my very favorite mountain range since I first saw this peeking through the clouds that first time. This photo is what feel like my one thousandth try at getting somewhere close to the feel of Ansel Adams unbelievable shot of The Snake River from 1942. I will never be able to capture the grandiosity of the landscape like Adams, but I’ll be damned if I don’t continue to try.
Idaho confirmed my suspicions of being unbelievable gorgeous. I don’t know how anything crammed between Montana and Washington could be anything less than spectacular. It was easily one of the more beautiful and unpopulated areas I’ve been to so far. I feel like I could probably spend years exploring those mountains and rivers.
And lastly, a couple of pictures of my sweet house, looking beautiful. Onward and upward.
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All words and images © Adam Smith 2016.