earthtrekblog

Adventures of Life


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A years journey through the lens

“It’s funny how day by day, nothing changes.  But when you look back, everything is different.” ~unknown

The past two years have been full of ups and down for me, new job opportunities, loosing loved ones, climbing mountains, going through knee surgery, and finding myself somewhere along the way.  Please join me for some of those moments while I take you down memory lane.
I have pulled photos from 2013 and 2014 – just to share the true depth of where I was and where I’m going!

***THIS BLOG CONTAINS PHOTOS SOME PEOPLE MAY FIND GRAPHIC***

My life would not be as fulfilling if I did not have my little sidekick with me.  Star has given me more than she will ever know.  She gave me a reason to find my feet again and she is a large part of my next journey.  Almost exactly a year from when I had my ACL replaced we made it out for our first BIG hike, Mt. Chocorua with almost a 3000′ elevation gain.

THE BEST PHOTO BOMB OF THE YEAR

can you spot the intruder?

can you spot the intruder?

JANUARY

Janu art disp

The book collection starts

The book collection starts

Yazhi and Kitchi just 6 weeks old.

Yazhi and Kitchi just 6 weeks old.

 

Winter Pebbles - iPhones can be impressive

Winter Pebbles – iPhones can be impressive

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FEBRUARY

February brought great things!  I got my new and improved knee brace, this meant I had the ability to go out and do the things I really wanted to do and be less likely to seriously reinjure myself doing said things.

We were both so excited to have my feet under me!

We were both so excited to have my feet under me!

Sometimes I didn't stay on my feet - but Star was always there to look over me!

Sometimes I didn’t stay on my feet – but Star was always there to look over me!

Some things take you by surprise - the first wave did! Was pinned against a wall with water up to my knees.

Some things take you by surprise – the first wave did! Was pinned against a wall with water up to my knees.

Four months in to growing out the hair!  Time to make this FUN!

Four months in to growing out the hair! Time to make this FUN!

People wonder about me - I'm very special - but if you noticed I am wearing very good foot protection now!

People wonder about me – I’m very special – but if you noticed I am wearing very good foot protection now!

MARCH

True preparation for the AT begins - food storage a must

True preparation for the AT begins – food storage a must

March style

I moved over a ton of bricks during my time working on the house.  They were beautiful

I moved over a ton of bricks during my time working on the house. They were beautiful

APRIL

An afternoon of raindrop photography with my reversing ring

An afternoon of raindrop photography with my reversing ring

My VERY FIRST OFFICIAL HIKE SINCE KNEE SURGERY!!!

My VERY FIRST OFFICIAL HIKE SINCE KNEE SURGERY!!!

 

 

MAY

Exactly a year out from torn ACL and meniscus

My first steps on the AT!!!  I decided I had to make it back here and start in Georgia!  Almost a year to the day of actual injury

My first steps on the AT!!! I decided I had to make it back here and start in Georgia! Almost a year to the day of actual injury

No need to say more

No need to say more

JUNE

When you can't get out for the laughs they come to you!

When you can’t get out for the laughs they come to you!

 

Made it out for a day with the animals before I went under the knife

Made it out for a day with the animals before I went under the knife

PBJ is signed above my knee cap - they don't tell you how badly it hurts

PBJ is signed above my knee cap – they don’t tell you how badly it hurts

You can still make it out if you're determined!!! It was slow and not very far

You can still make it out if you’re determined!!!
It was slow and not very far

Enjoying the view from just under 4,000' This hike did me in for days :D

Enjoying the view from just under 4,000′
This hike did me in for days 😀

Sunset after an awesome day on Mt Chocorua

Sunset after an awesome day on Mt Chocorua

JULY

He's so cuddly!!!

He’s so cuddly!!!

This is how you prepare for a journey stack a ton of bricks!

This is how you prepare for a journey stack a ton of bricks!

Termite destruction in an 1800's house

Termite destruction in an 1800’s house

They had me come back in!

They had me come back in!

AUGUST

Second Art show for me!!! Go EARTH TREK PHOTOGRAPHY!

Second Art show for me!!!
Go EARTH TREK PHOTOGRAPHY!

Where you're still to sore to walk get the boat out!

Where you’re still to sore to walk get the boat out!

Rocking out all the up and coming styles!

Rocking out all the up and coming styles!

This pup likes to play hard and dress nice! Thank you RUFFWEAR for your donation to our hike!

This pup likes to play hard and dress nice!
Thank you RUFFWEAR for your donation to our hike!

Sometimes you get the right message at the right time

Sometimes you get the right message at the right time

SEPTEMBER

sept trillium

Sept sunset

sept field

sept skies

A day tromping through the waves playing with a full moon rising

A day tromping through the waves playing with a full moon rising

Sept Hedgehog mt

Sept hair

Sept work

OCTOBER

oct acadia bay 2013 copy

oct acadia 2013

Skiddy didn't want to be left out of the surgery party!

Skiddy didn’t want to be left out of the surgery party!

Oct ETdew on leaves

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MY FIRST 4K!!!

Mt. Pierce - a true fairytale

Mt. Pierce – a true fairytale

Oct pierce macro

NOVEMBER

Feeling so blessed to have had the opportunity to capture this time for this strong and beautiful woman!

Feeling so blessed to have had the opportunity to capture this time for this strong and beautiful woman!

Nov CA

Nov CA macro

Nov CA Skyline

Loved my campsite

Loved my campsite

Not happy about bringing fleas to the puppy sitters

Not happy about bringing fleas to the puppy sitters

DECEMBER

California was hit with major rain while I was out there the river went from pushing out 500 CFS to 60,000 CFS of water over two days!!! The river rose 20 feet!

California was hit with major rain while I was out there the river went from pushing out 500 CFS to 60,000 CFS of water over two days!!!
The river rose 20 feet!

Dec seaweed

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Do you see the caterpillar?

Do you see the caterpillar?

Do you see the "water bear"?

Do you see the “water bear”?

 

HAPPY NEW YEARS!

HAPPY NEW YEARS!

Quote

 

There is so much to be done in the new year.  My journey has not ended but only just begun.

AT


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Holiday cheer!

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San Francisco Airport a week before Christmas! The customer service line stretched over 40 feet!

The mix of chaos, anxiety, and stress fill the air! People rushing from point A to point B with so many thoughts cluttering their mind they cannot take a moment and enjoy what they are doing and why. The holidays have changed. It is no longer a time to sit and enjoy being with family and friends but a crazed shopping event which starts weeks in advance. There are people who face this endeavor as though it were the Triple Crown.
Forgotten is the joy of sitting around a fire, a table or a Christmas tree, with the people you hold dear. The pressure to cook the perfect meal or buy the perfect gift hangs overhead.

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This is NOT how I perceive Christmas! This year more so than any in the past was a year not to feel stressed. At a young age my parents changed the idea behind Christmas and created our tradition, it was not about spending. As kids we were limited to $20 per person for gifts. We could spend it however we saw fit, buying many small items, one large, or the most encouraged method, purchase supplies to make something. The holiday became a time to sit and think about the people you loved, an opportunity to share a piece of yourself with others. No crazy running around fighting for parking or wrestling with a nun over the last box of crayons.

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This holiday I spent my days preparing small gifts, tokens of appreciation for those closest to me. I took time, not to shop but to see my nephew for an afternoon – you can’t replace childhood. These are the memories I want: seeing my nephew roll over, snuggling with my pup, Laughing with a woman in line behind me at the store, baking with my mother, telling stories with my grandfather.
I’m blessed to have had all of these this holiday season.

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Final day in CA!

I am not ready to depart this beautiful and rugged land. As the day draws to a close I realize just how much I will miss the people I have met and the beautiful land I’ve been surrounded by.
Thank you CA for the insights and experiences you have allowed me!

I hope you all enjoyed this beautiful picture of the White Mountains (directly below) that I posted, uploaded the wrong image from my phone.  Here’s take two (bottom image)!

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The CA mountains are a little less green, or so the case was when this picture was taken.  After the rains the mountains came to life with bright green grass and moss.
CA mountains

 


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Memories are made to be built upon

For the past month I have buried myself in self reflection.  I start my day with stretching both of my body and of my mind.  I have learned much about myself, things I like, things I would alter through self growth and understanding, I am rediscovering me.
Today started off in a spectacular fashion. I climbed out of my tent to see mountains rising above me, mist lingering on the peaks while the sun made an appearance through the light cloud cover.  I woke feeling refreshed, free of negative energy and the sense of foreboding which had been weighing me down the past couple of days.  The morning was an opportunity to deal with chores and to reconnect with the “outside world.”  Oh the glories of Facebook and email.  I shared my latest photo project and caught up with my puppy sitter and that’s when it happened, the email came through from my mother.  My mother who doesn’t share all the information, only what she deems important at the moment (sorry mom).  The email stated “I’ll pick you up in Dover.  Grampa is in the hospital…” for anyone who knows my family hearing that my grandfather is in the hospital is common news, I’m pretty sure he has frequent flyer miles, it was the rest of the sentence that had me pause “he had a hemorrhagic stroke.”  This was not the way my grandfather rolled, he never went in for anything serious.  Needless to say the information was sparse and being on the other side of the country doesn’t make it easy to drop in and see what’s going on.  Instead I did the rational thing, I cried!  I let the fear and the pain flood my senses and run from my eyes. 
There is something so healing about letting your emotions free. For the moment I was on my own with only myself available to process the situation.  All the time spent looking inward became an asset, I let myself truly feel the emotions coursing through me, I didn’t bury them or look to others to provide the support I thought I needed, there would be time for that later. 
Sitting looking at the expansive wilderness in front of me I had decisions to make.  Do I cut my trip short and fly home? Do I stick out the next couple weeks and hope for good news? There were many checks and balances to do. When the life of someone you love has an unknown destiny, one which has a possible time limit, every choice made will impact your life.  I sat looking out at the mountains and the river.  My mind wandered filled with the memories of all the time spent with my grandfather, hikes to his favorite fishing hole, cribbage games, driving my grandmother and him south for the winter (in a 30′ motor home towing a car), his stories of being a WWII POW, and so much more.  His excitement and support of my upcoming adventure to hike the AT.  I am blessed for any and every moment I have with my grandfather.
With much thought behind my decision and knowing what my grandfather would want for me I have decided to finish my current adventure.  Updates on my grandfather say he’s doing well.  I’m looking forward to giving him a great big hug upon my return to NH.

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The flood

And an adventure it has been.  Days upon days of rain falling to the point that my tent had to be moved for possible record breaking floods. The river rose over ten feet in two days.  The grass patch is where my tent was.

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The before flood river.  See normally there are rocks.


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Passing moments

The world flashed by viewed from the back of a truck, trees, rocks, cows, and mountains. Watching the land roll past I saw new things which should have been laid out ahead of me but were now only passing memories. I could enjoy a life of travel where you look not at where you are going but appreciate where you could have been and know that when the time is right you’ll get there.

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Drunk on sleep deprivation

There is a point in time where your body hits a state of drunken euphoria, when you are trying to function off a couple hours of sleep a night. I was at this point. Walking up stairs was safer at a crawl, I had a false sense of happiness which can only be attributed to my body working as hard as possible to keep me functioning on some same level. If you tell yourself enough times everything is in order it still won’t be.
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I have been wrapped in a whirlwind of adventure over the past couple of weeks. I made it up another 4000 footer in the New Hampshire White mountains. Mt. Osceola was a fun hike which challenged me physically. The Rocky terrain kept me on high alert as I climbed, stepped, and scrambled my way up. In some ways I was thankful the trail held few distractions, there was no reason for me to stop and pull out my camera, the trail was bare of flowers, moss, or other macro opportunities.

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Summit view from Mt. Osceola

This was an exciting day for Star, since she’d been left behind on my last hike. I even borrowed her boyfriend for the day and Tamarack was along for the adventure. The day became a training day for Star, it was all about trail manners, these included but not limited to, giving way on the trail, ignoring other dogs, not begging from other hikers, and learning to pose. The posing became a very serious situation both for Star and Tamarack. I don’t know if it is the fact that both dogs are absolutely adorable or if it is the dog packs they wear.

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Pup-arazzi

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Never can get them to both look at me

My days streamed one into another. Work was a constant reminder to the day of the week and the dwindling time before my trip.
Thursday came and it was time to hit the road. Hopped a bus to Boston where I met up with my travel companion, picked up the rental car and we were off. Two drivers one car and almost a thousand miles between us and our destination. Twenty hours later, meals on the road, string cheese wrapped in turkey, and too many “no public bathrooms” I was happy to find our motel.
The next days were full of friends and celebrations as I watched two good friends give their vows to each other. The wedding day was one of a kind. Running around Myrtle Beach looking for a white shirt for the groom, or ending the night with the bride tip toeing into the pool dress and all!
I can’t even start to describe the whirlwind of my trip so here are some pictures from the day.

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Sealing the deal

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Palm fronds

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With another twenty hours on the road I land with my feet back in NH. I have less than twenty four hours to repack my bag and hop a plane to CA where I will see the red woods, revel in the beauty of the world and take time to reconnect with me.
I will do my best to post semi regularly with high quality photos from my phone.


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In the midst of chaos

I feel like I am caught in the moment just before you know the really bad thing is about to happen. For example as a young child I was chasing after our 150 pound dog who was having a blast chasing after a jogger. I don’t know if you’ve ever been pursued by a 150 pound black dog whose bark is so deep it causes every bone in your body to vibrate. Either way you may know why this jogger wasn’t stopping for my shouts of “he’s friendly!” You really don’t want to take the moment to find out if it’s true. As I peddled furiously down the road my mother drove past me and stopped to grab the dog. I knew before it happened that I was in a dangerous situation. As my front wheel passed the back bumper of her car she opened her door. It was the cartoon moment! My bike collided with the drivers side door catapulting me over the top of it. I remember flying through the air and thinking “oh no this is going to hurt!” as the asphalt came up to meet me.

Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches

Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches


Right now I am running around trying to gather all my stuff up for a weekend adventure to South Carolina where I will attend a wedding and promptly turn around and drive back to New Hampshire have one day to put the last of my stuff in order and hop on a plane to California. I am sure that somewhere in this mix a car door is going to open and launch me in some unexpected direction.
For now I will continue to gather my wits and try to appreciate the small things the world puts before me!

unearthly drips

unearthly drips


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Pictures in Words

Wandering through the dawn air I am immediately aware of just how autumn it is. It’s not just the slightly crisp morning air, but the damp chilly bone numbing cold. Maybe it’s because it is just after 5am and the sun is only now making itself know below the horizon. There is no sunlight to create a false sense of warmth on my numb fingers, only the darkness. I find myself standing in wet grass watching the sky turn from black to dark purple to blue with yellow edges creeping in. The slow transition like that of a bruise.

During these excruciating, way to early, mornings I have been blessed with some of the most beautiful images and not enough time. So instead of having photographs I only have words.

Day 1: The first morning, when I was reminded of just how beautiful morning could be, I was driving past the bay. I looked out past the cars zooming along the highway and watched as the morning light pierced the mist resting on calm waters. The boats stood still, colorful silhouettes against the rising suns golden rays.

Day 2: My senses were tuned in now. The morning commute was no longer a tedious drive but a chance to find the one image I wanted to capture in my mind and carry with me for the day. Today it was just outside Beverly, MA. There is a beautiful walking path, or so I imagine it to be, that crosses the road in a number of places and appears to vanish into swamp lands. With the transition of summer to autumn the warm days and cool nights have been creating stunning mists. As I drove past one of these crossings I glanced down the trail to see dead trees. Now on any given day these trees are beautiful as they have been stripped of their bark and now stand smooth and naked. The whole lower portion of them was enveloped making it appeared as though they were rising from a world built of mist, bare bodies of trees protruding into the sky, lit only by the golden glow of the morning sun.

Day 3: I would have stopped in the middle of the highway to capture this on film. Racing along during my morning commute I glance out my window taking in some of the beauty surrounding me. I almost slam on my breaks when the realization of what I am seeing settles into my sleepy, coffee craving, brain. It is not every morning that you are cruising along the highway and when you look out the window you’re greeted by the most miraculous sight. The sun pushing itself over the horizon, lighting beautiful lush green fields, you can just make out fences through the heavy mist, which still lingers from night. Closer to the road the colors are more vibrant and you can truly appreciate the deep greens but off in the distance the dense mist disguises everything. My eyes land on the old creaky windmill which stands near the road. Patches of rust color the blades standing still in the morning air. As my eyes finish focusing I realize the blobs in the background are not trees or rocks but cows. Cows which are slowly materializing from within the mist. The suns rays are warming the air stealing the moisture from it as the cows continue to multiply by the second.

I can only hope you are able to find some small token of beauty in these descriptions!

5:30 am light.  My mornings aren't getting any warmer!

5:30 am light. My mornings aren’t getting any warmer!


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Someone gave themself to me

I am reminded again and again to be grateful for what I have! I have a great job which allows me to make positive differences in the lives of others. I am able to share my own knowledge and wisdom or to gain insight into outcomes through others experiences.
Over a year ago my world crashed down on me. I couldn’t find the positives in my life. The pain and frustrations of my knee injury were greater than I could have imagined. I had looked forward to the surgery thinking it would happen and all would be well. It’s never as easy as it seems.

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When walking is still challenging water is a great option.

Almost exactly a year ago I was battling through the rigors of PT, fighting for a chance to go car camping in Acadia. This year I’m fighting for clearance to go hike the Appalachian Trail, departing in 7 to 8 months time.  It took my physical therapist reminding me of my journey before I truly realized where I was.  Since my surgery I had been stuck in a negative space which had become my life.  With the acknowledgement of my growth from beginning to present I suddenly found light again.  That despite my battles I had gained much, both in losses and wins.  My job reminds me over and over again, life is never easy but there is a way.

I need to thank a family. I’ve been holding onto the donor card from my surgery waiting for the right time. I want to let the family of the person know they made a difference. I don’t know how to word my appreciation. How can you recognize a family’s loss by sending a letter stating that the little ligament in your knee, which their loss provided for you, is opening new doors? Six years ago the idea to hike a trail spanning more than 10 states and over 2000 miles was nothing but a tiny seed. After my surgery I needed a goal, something to give meaning to my life again. The AT was it. I want to share my amazing journey with this family. I want to show them the bright side of their loss. The beauty of things newly discovered, of limits pushed, and strength gained. I want them to know even the little things made a big difference.

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This was my first “hike” after my surgery. I braced up and headed out onto the trail. We took our time and enjoyed the trek.


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The Grind

When I hear the term “daily grind” I picture people who are stuck in little cubicles, starring at computer screens, working the 9-5, and sitting in rush hour traffic. I don’t picture myself. My world is different, my work day does not revolve around technology or small spaces. Rarely do I have to travel on roads where traffic backs up. When I head out the door in the morning it is not with a briefcase but with a hiking pack full of games and initiatives, and a duck strapped to the side. My mind races, not over the number crunching and up coming meetings, but sequencing. Do I want to start with Bumpity Bumpity Bump or High 5? Would a giant game of Thumb Wrestling or Evolution (rock, paper, scissors) be better suited to my clients needs.

Working in the outdoor world is a blessing!

Star is excited to be able to snuggle for just a moment with my Ducky!!!

Star is excited to be able to snuggle for just a moment with my Ducky!!!