Hiking at El Malpais

Things can only get better!  Yesterday we went on a little hike to El Malpais.  The last couple of weeks have been crazy with the beginning school and managing to get a bad cold on top of that not to mention two amazing weekends in my new home state of New Mexico.  

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El Malpais is a National Monument which has some great hiking trails and it is just outside of Grants.  Check out the NPS website here: El Malpais- National Park Service.  

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The wildflowers were blooming! I didn't realize that New Mexico would be so beautiful this time of the year. 

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It was a beautiful hike.  

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Caves caused by the lava flows.  

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So I don't have a lot to say. It was a wonderful day (and weekend) and here are some more images.  

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I'm not in the mood to rant about politics.  Humans are disappointing.   

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We hiked to the cinder cone.  Which was pretty cool! There aren't a lot of ancient volcanoes to see in Oklahoma.   

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I visited this hiking trail last fall and didn't complete the hike to the cinder cone.  

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It's never a waste of time when you're out in nature. 

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The Indian Paintbrush is beautiful to see because it reminds me of spring at home.  

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So, let's be still...  

 


Oklahoma Nights

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I did a little night shooting while I was in Oklahoma.  I did a lot of front porch sitting in Oklahoma this summer.  I got divorced this spring,  so I spent the summer at the farm with my parents and my sister. It was good.  I need to spend time with my parents.  I love the farm I missed it.  

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I miss my Oklahoma comfort zone.  I can run around backroads at night and not worry.  

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This year has been a very different year.  Difficult, I don't like being alone so much out here.   

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I've been back home in New Mexico for a couple of days now.  I am in two worlds right now, a difficult transition.  It is strange when you make a major life change, you lose your idea of what your future will be like.  In a way my past was my future and not having my past, I don't have a future.  It's a little disconcerting, not having a vision beyond the next school year.  I don't know where I'm going or what I'm doing right now.   I hope this feeling leaves me soon.   

 


Driving Across Colorado

On June 7th my sister and I drove across Colorado with the goal of visiting Dinosaur National Monument the next day.   We started our morning in Canyon City and visited the Royal Gorge first thing in the morning and then proceeded to drive across Colorado on our epic road trip 2017.  Eventually I'll post road trips from 2014-16!   

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I stopped to take a few shots of the Arkansas River which was flowing into the Royal Gorge.   We were traveling from the Royal Gorge to Salida on the first leg of our journey to Grand Junction.  

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We were heading towards Monarch Pass...

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Snow covered mountains; I think so!

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Driving across the country in our tiny car... 

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So we continued...  

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This is the area between Gunnison and Montrose, we didn't go through Montrose though, we continued north to Hotchkiss.   This is Curecanti National Recreation Area which is AMAZING.  

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This area is the Dillon Pinnacles.  

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Just beautiful.   

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So I believe this is part of The Black Canyon of the Gunnison, but it is also Curecanti National Recreation Area. 

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Incredibly beautiful, I had to stop multiple times to take photos!

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I believe I've been so far behind with posting images I didn't know where to start.  Maybe I can begin to work on this blog again.   

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I really want to go back ! 

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But we continued on... 

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The scenic route was worth the time! 

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The Royal Gorge

Add this to a list of "Things I do not like."  Suspension bridges, that move and shake and you can look through the boards and see a thousand feet down.  This bridge would be on my big "nope" list.   Nope, not going back and I did it once, no need to walk across it again.  Also, how do I begin to catch up on this blog with a move out of state and over two years worth of travel barely touched.  I guess I will begin with whatever I feel like posting.  This bridge spans the Arkansas River which I find fascinating for a few reasons; one being Spiro is near it.  

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What is a gorge?  Why is this one "royal," you might ask.  I do not know why it is the Royal Gorge, but I will soon, because I'm going to search for this information on google.

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  A Gorge is a narrow valley between hills or mountains, typically with steep rocky walls and a stream running through it.

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We visited the Gorge on June 7th at the beginning of our annual road trip.   

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I did walk across this.  

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This great American river, which traverses Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.  You can see more posts about it here: http://www.expeditionoklahoma.com/2013/04/wd-mayo-lock-and-dam-near-spiro-oklahoma.html

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If you want an extreme view of the Royal Gorge bridge, you can see it from above.   

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Or from below, since you can take the train through the gorge.   

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I didn't take a lot of photographs here. I was pretty much ready to be off of the bridge.   I'll drive over mountain passes any day (and I did).  But I'm not a huge fan of bridges like this. 

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It is definitely a sight to see. 

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Here is the link for the official information...  Royal Gorge Bridge.com  don't worry - click on a link it takes you to a new window!   

 

 


Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument in New Mexico

It is finally time to start working on photography again.   I've been a terrible blogger for the last couple of years and I have so much content to post.  Some of this is because I've had not-so-wonderful internet service.  

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A little bit about the Tent Rocks from the National Monument website

The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is a remarkable outdoor laboratory, offering an opportunity to observe, study, and experience the geologic processes that shape natural landscapes. The National Monument, on the Pajarito Plateau in north-central New Mexico, includes a national recreation trail and ranges from 5,570 feet to 6,760 feet above sea level. It is for foot travel only, and contains two segments that provide opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, geologic observation, and plant identification.

The cone-shaped tent rock formations are the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago and left pumice, ash, and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick. Tremendous explosions from the Jemez volcanic field spewed pyroclasts (rock fragments), while searing hot gases blasted down slopes in an incandescent avalanche called a “pyroclastic flow.”

Precariously perched on many of the tapering hoodoos are boulder caps that protect the softer pumice and tuff below. Some tents have lost their hard, resistant caprocks, and are disintegrating. While fairly uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet up to 90 feet.

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It was worth the drive.  The first hike was around the tent rocks, which apparently are also called "hoodoos" in geology.  

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A relatively short drive from Albuquerque or Santa Fe, it is worth hiking the slot canyon, which is pretty amazing.  

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This was one of my last May outings.  I didn't know about this place until my brother mentioned that he'd like to visit last fall and I've intended to drive up and see this place.   A national park is usually always worth your time.  

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This was a day trip that was definitely worth it.  

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I really enjoyed walking through the trail that led through the slot canyon. 

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I still take photographs like I used to. I still shoot fairly often, but perhaps not with the intensity or dedication that I did a few years back.  I need to spend time working on this page and my other pages and get back to where I enjoy the hobby of photography like I used to.  I'm sure calling it a "hobby" would set the passionate, absorbed, serious photographers in a furious rage.   It's just that it is my hobby.  

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It was a great day.  

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Take the time to go see your world, even if you don't stray too far from home. 

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Tent Rocks National Monument is worth  your time if you're visiting New Mexico. 

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Oklahoma State Track and Field 2017

So it was my first time to have a child of mine compete in athletics at the state level.   My youngest boy competed in State Track and Field last weekend.  

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I've been a runner for years so to have my son competing in running is just awesome!  

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Once we got to this point in the day it was great.   

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I have to remind myself that this was what I was there for. It was an incredibly difficult weekend for me.  

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The boy can run! 

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I'm so glad I drove home to see him though.  

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At the same time there is nothing more that I want to forget than that entire week.  

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What is amazing about maintaining a blog since 2010 you can look back and see my baby when he was 9 and now he's all grown up and 16!   


I've Decided

That it's time to work on this blog.  A few weeks ago I went to El Malpais and wanted to do some night photography. 

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This wasn't a good evening.  I was homesick for Oklahoma.  I just wanted something normal.   

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Driving around in the desert to shoot the stars.  My divorce was just finalized and I've been feeling lost.  

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I just don't remember a lot about this night except how terribly homesick I was.  

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But how amazing the night sky is in the southwest.   

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I'm trying to remember that night. I knew I felt better by the time I was home, at the same time I was still lost.   I'm grateful for the friends I've had this last month who have helped get me through. 


I Haven't Felt Like

Blogging... despite the incredible amount of content that I have.  I've got an amazing archive of all of these places I've visited.  Yet, I have writers blog.  I just don't care about sharing myself on this format as much.  I don't worry about my images and content.  I don't need the following and I'm just no longer interested or truly engaged in maintaining this blog.  

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Last Saturday morning I was in Oklahoma. I got my wildflower shooting in.  I'm glad I was home, but at the same time it was a trip where I experienced the most pride in my son and it was the worst trip that I've made home.   

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I was so homesick the week before. I am so tired of the snow every week that we get here on the Colorado Plateau.   I just wanted to go home and feel like I was at home.   

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But sometimes home isn't a place. Home is a person.  

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And I didn't have that person last weekend.   

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2017 has been an incredibly difficult year.   

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I just want everything to be okay.   


A Dead Blog

My blog is nearing the state of one of the lost ones.  Seven years I've worked on "Expedition Oklahoma"  but this last year and a half have been the hardest to maintain interest and stay motivated.  I have also spent the last six months in technological limbo; a failed internet connection and just a state of apathy about continuing to write my life down and document it one photo-essay at a time.   So I've had a huge change in my life and it is truly changing and my "expedition is no longer Oklahoma"  - I have moved to New Mexico.  Starting over.  

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In 2009 I was a frustrated teacher looking for images so I could educate my students about the state of Oklahoma; when I realized I didn't know Oklahoma at all.  I wasn't familiar with the history and the sense of place outside of the textbook.  I could teach but I could not educate because my own depth of knowledge wasn't deep enough.  So I took my camera and I started exploring when I had the idea for a blog.  I wanted to learn everything I could about Oklahoma so I could become an effective educator.  Here I am seven years later and I'm in a new state and I am an educator of state history - so once again I embark on a journey.  My sister suggested I rename my blog to "Expedition Oklahoman"- which is a wonderful idea but it probably won't happen. 

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This fall I made the great pilgrimage to The Grand Canyon and it was everything and more that I imagined it could be.  Less than a day's drive from my new home and I can see this incredible place.   I think the last year I have re-entered the education profession after two long years of graduate school.  I worked in a difficult school where I commuted a hundred miles a day.  I spent 2015-16 exhausted.  The pay in Oklahoma never allowed me to feel caught up with anything or enjoy my life as an educator so I decided to make a change.  I moved to a state that at least compensates their teachers with a living wage (which I do not see Oklahoma ever being able to do).  It is much easier to work in a position where you feel independent and able to support yourself.   I also moved because my asthma is so bad in Oklahoma that it affects my quality of life. 

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I moved in September and it's late February now.  I've appreciated the slower pace of life of living in a rural,  isolated community.  I've had to adapt to experiencing winter.  I've learned that not everything is as urgent as it could be and staying home and not always being busy is possible.   I want to find my love of writing/blogging/and photography again.  I want to find a love of a lot of things again. I feel that in the last year that I've begun to lose some of my passion for living and am choosing to not explore like I had.   

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A few weeks ago we were snowed in for a week.   My house surrounded by the towering Ponderosas and a foot of snow.  I am adjusting to high altitude living and am better off because of it.  

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In the last year I've practically given up astrophotography and the drive to go out and work on landscapes is leaving me; perhaps this is what happens when you feel that you've reached mastery level.  I grow bored once I realize I can do something and do it well, yet I know I can still improve.  I've grown bored with Oklahoma and my life and I want to find the spark that keeps me interested in living again even if that means I have to do things the unconventional way. 

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These are low res images so they don't appear as sharp on the page.  This is the first night shooting I've attempted in over a year.  I love shooting at night yet I haven't worked up the courage to do much night shooting in New Mexico.  The skies are dark and amazing though.   

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This post is all over the place. I have kind of stopped writing, yet there is so much I have to say.  Perhaps with my internet working at my new home this will be a start again.