Denver Pride 2016

Denver Pride 2016

 

I went to my first Pride this afternoon here in Denver. It was an incredible experience. My daughter’s wedding in January was the last time I’ve been surrounded by so much love and happiness. I went to show my love and support for the LGBT community in the wake of the tragedy in Orlando. But what I received was this huge gift of being with an incredibly loving community that was much more open and expressive and joyous than I usually see in our broader culture.    I’m looking forward to next year’s Pride.

 

So much joy.

So much joy.

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The love this couple felt for each other was palpable. It was a beautiful thing to see.

The love this couple felt for each other was palpable. It was a beautiful thing to see.

Awesome to be surrounded by joy.

Awesome to be surrounded by joy.

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I was struck by this woman's demeanor.

I was struck by this woman’s demeanor.

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I'm always up for a hug.

I’m always up for a hug.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Athens

Athens

 

Athens was a wonderful surprise.  I was prepared for petty crime, scams, and an unappealing city.  Without exception, everyone I talked to who had visited Greece spoke of Athens as a place you needed to see for the historical significance but to get the hell out as quickly as possible.   Spend a day or two and then head to the islands pretty much summed it up.   After a visit to Athens, I call bullshit on that sentiment.  Athens had good food, wonderful neighborhoods, friendly locals and an effective metro system.   I def recommend staying in a neighborhood close to but not right around the Acropolis.  We stayed a fifteen minute walk away and it was perfect.  A quiet area with good restaurants and friendly locals.

 

I did get my wallet lifted on the subway on my way back through Athens so that took a bit of the shine off an otherwise wonderful visit.  But that’s partly on me.  I was all chilled out from the islands and a little off my awareness game.  Live an learn.

 

All images were made with the Leica Q.

 

The entrance to the Acropolis. The upward tilt and with flare looks cool but I was just trying to get a shot without a million tourists in it. And this is it.

The entrance to the Acropolis. The upward tilt and flare looks cool but I was just trying to get a shot without a million tourists in it. And this is it.

Just hanging out with a few friends at the Acropolis. It actually wasn't too insanely crowded because we got there about an hour after it opened that morning.

Just hanging out with a few friends at the Acropolis. It actually wasn’t too insanely crowded because we got there about an hour after it opened that morning.

It's all Greek to me.

It’s all Greek to me.

The graffiti in Athens was amazing. I like this image but would have loved it if the dude had a cigarette dangling from his mouth.

The graffiti in Athens was amazing. I like this image but would have loved it if the dude had a cigarette dangling from his mouth.

This old Byzantine church dated from the 11th century.

This old Byzantine church dated from the 11th century.

A priest inside the church.

A priest inside the church.

Looking up an alley at the Acropolis. All the winding alleys around the Acropolis are what I loved most about Athens.

Looking up an alley at the Acropolis. All the winding alleys around the Acropolis are what I loved most about Athens.

Athens wins the coolest museum award. I'm not a huge fan of museums. They are usually so disconnected from what they are trying to convey. But this one did an amazing job of bringing the Acropolis and Athens into the museum.

Athens wins the coolest museum award. I’m not a huge fan of museums. They are usually so disconnected from what they are trying to convey. But this one did an amazing job of bringing the Acropolis and Athens into the museum.

I loved the way the ruins were still very much a part of modern Athens.

I loved the way the ruins were still very much a part of modern Athens.

I spent a few minutes taking photos of this guy feeding the pigeons. I guess what struck me most was the dignity I saw in his eyes. I don't often verbally ask to take a photo of someone but I do try to make a connection with my eyes or a nod. I don't want to be just taking something from them.

I spent a few minutes taking photos of this guy feeding the pigeons. I guess what struck me most was the dignity I saw in his eyes. I don’t often verbally ask to take a photo of someone but I do try to make a connection with my eyes or a nod. I don’t want to be just taking something from them.

I was struck by the utter disrepair of this old mansion in Athens and i thought it was a cool photo...

I was struck by the utter disrepair of this old mansion in Athens and I thought it was a cool photo…

...and I'm peering through the viewfinder of my camera, shooting this sorta creepy house just after sunset, and this black cat pops up about a foot in front of my lens. (Anyone around the Acropolis that evening a couple weeks ago that heard what sounded like a little girl screaming, that wasn't me.)

… and this black cat pops up about a foot in front of my lens. (Anyone around the Acropolis that evening a couple weeks ago that heard what sounded like a little girl screaming, that wasn’t me.)

It is so often the little scene that captures the vibe of a place.

It is so often the little scene that captures the vibe of a place.

 

 

Posted in Europe Travel

Annecy, France

Annecy, France

 

Annecy, France has taken the top spot on my “I’ve Got to get Back Here Soon” list!   Think of Venice but smaller and without the smell, rude waiters or mediocre food.   That’s Annecy.  Plus, it’s nestled in the French Alps so it’s surrounded by amazing hiking.

One of the most surprising things to me about Annecy was that for a small town it didn’t seem overloaded with tourists.  Lots of locals at the market and in the cafes.  Part of that is we were there during the shoulder season before the summer throngs descended on Europe.  Unless it can’t be helped, I’m pretty much done traveling in Europe in the summer.  Fall and spring are so much less crowded and the weather is still fine.

Annecy is like a relaxing, friendly version of Venice but with killer hiking. And better food.

Annecy is like a relaxing, friendly version of Venice but with killer hiking. And better food.

The view from our loft did not suck. And at $70/night it was a bargain.

The view from our loft did not suck. And at $70/night it was a bargain.

Every alley or walkway I turned down in Annecy was like stepping back in time.

Every alley or walkway I turned down in Annecy was like stepping back in time.

I couldn't help but think how much fun it would be to ride my motorcycle on the roads around Annecy.

I couldn’t help but think how much fun it would be to ride my motorcycle on the roads around Annecy.

And castles. How awesome are castles?!

And castles. How awesome are castles?!

I loved the market scene in Annecy, France. Fresh bread, food and the yummiest pastries.

I loved the market scene in Annecy, France. Fresh bread, food and the yummiest pastries.

And love.

And love.

Loved the mood that the rain added to my photos.

Loved the mood that the rain added to my photos.

Cool cafe scene in Annecy.

Cool cafe scene in Annecy.

The rain made for some cool reflections.

The rain made for some cool reflections.

I loved the hiking that is in Annecy. Lots of trails that are literally a fifteen minute walk from the historic part of Annecy.

I loved the hiking that is in Annecy. Lots of trails that are literally a fifteen minute walk from the historic part of Annecy.

Hiking with this awesome human being was one of my fav parts of the trip. I love hanging out with brave, inspiring people.

Hiking with this awesome human being was one of my fav parts of the trip. I love hanging out with brave, inspiring people.

Au revoir, Annecy.

Au revoir, Annecy.

Posted in Europe Travel

Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park

 

I think I have a new favorite National Park in Utah.   Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands…the competition is stiff.  But Capitol Reef National Park is up there for me now.   It has great slot hikes like Zion NP, stunning arches like Arches NP, and the hiking is every bit as good as in Canyonlands NP.   What Capitol Reef National Park doesn’t have that the other parks often excel at is hordes of tourists.

 

I love Zion NP  but as I encounter throngs of people after an awesome hike there I can feel my nature high ebbing away bit by bit.   There is something magical about not seeing another soul on an all day hike.   The flip side is if you slip and break your leg, you may not see another soul for a day or two!     So be careful and always sign the trail register and stick a note on your dash with your expected return date.    I never used to take these basic precautions but Aaron Ralston cured me of my carelessness.

 

I love the international vibe of our National Parks.  At breakfast one morning in Capitol Reef I could hear French accents and German accents.   And even as a confirmed introvert, I look forward to meeting folks from other countries on the trail.  And the people I meet way way in the backcountry are almost always Europeans.  Germans, Swiss, Austrians…they do some serious hiking.

 

All images were shot with the Leica Q or Sony RX100III.

 

I rolled into the Chimney Rock Trailhead just as the sun was coming up. It's a six mile hike with killer views of the park. But it was the this ancient tree that caught my eye more than the views.

I rolled into the Chimney Rock Trailhead just as the sun was coming up. It’s a six mile hike with killer views of the park. But it was the this ancient tree near Chimney Rock that caught my eye more than the views. Something moving to me about these seemingly dead trees that really aren’t.

 

Upper Muley Twist Canyon is now in my top ten fav hikes.   Although the ninety minute drive over the roughest washboard roads, followed by a a stunning drive up the switchbacks on Burr Trail Road. After that it's a 4wheel drive road the last three miles to the trailhead. I understand why I didn't see anyone else on my hike the next day.

Looking down on Burr Trail Road. Upper Muley Twist Canyon is now in my top ten fav hikes.   Getting to the trailhead is a ninety minute drive over the roughest washboard roads I’ve seen, followed by a a stunning drive up the switchbacks on Burr Trail Road. After that it’s a 4wheel drive road the last three miles to the trailhead. I understand why I didn’t see anyone else on my hike the next day.

Upper Muley Twist Canyon is now in my top five fav hikes. I was a couple miles into my hike when I saw the sun coming up over the horizon through the trees just as I got to Fifth Arch.

I was a couple miles into the Upper Muley Twist hike when I saw the sun coming up over the horizon through the trees just as I got to Fifth Arch.

Stunning views from the top.

Stunning views from the top on the Upper Muley Twist trail.

Although a little more ominous to the north. The thunder clouds kept me moving.

The weather was a little more ominous to the west and north. The thunder clouds kept me moving. A little hail definitely help me pick up the pace.

A rock wall protecting a cactus that was in the middle of the trail.

A rock wall protecting a cactus that was in the middle of the trail.

Something else had walked this way earlier.

Something else had walked this way earlier.

Years ago a ranger had recommended the Burro Wash hike to me. It did not disappoint. Although going through the narrow slot canyon at the end of the hike cured me from ever hiking the Narrows in Zion NP. Something a little claustrophobic about being in a slot canyon that's 30-50 feet deep, wading through freezing chest deep water in a space that's not wide enough to turn around in with your backpack on. Nah, I'll pass on the Narrows.

Years ago a ranger at Capitol Reef had recommended the Burro Wash hike to me. It did not disappoint. Although going through the narrow slot canyon at the end of the hike cured me from ever hiking the Narrows in Zion NP. Something a little claustrophobic about being in a slot canyon that’s 30-50 feet deep, wading through freezing chest deep water in a space that’s not wide enough to turn around in with your backpack on. Nah, I’ll pass on the Narrows.

Roots of a tree growing up the canyon wall in Burro Wash.

Roots of a tree growing up the canyon wall in Burro Wash.

 

Posted in Uncategorized