The Best Laid Plans

When all the plans have been made, the only thing left is to enjoy the experience.
When all the plans have been made, the only thing left is to enjoy the experience.

I am a planner.  A researcher.  An organizer.   I love the process of developing a plan.  I research all options to exhaustion before coming up with a great idea for a TRIP.  I can’t be the only one!

I spy on campgrounds and individual campsites from Google Earth to see which might be the best spot.  I obsess over hiking trails and topo maps looking for rewarding daytime treks.

Planning and packing!
Planning and packing!

I read reviews for local restaurants to find a yummy post-hike meal.  After months of planning and obsessing over all points of the trip, I can hardly contain myself when it arrives!

When it does finally come, I am like a kid on Christmas.  I am so excited to be there that I let all the planning go and just enjoy myself.  Don’t get me wrong, it IS helpful to know where a trailhead is located or if the dive on the corner has the best pizza, but the plan does not dictate my trip.

I have learned that the fastest way to have a bad trip is to have a rigid plan.  While I enjoy the planning process (okay, I love it!), I know the plan is there to give me options, not to dictate my every move.  So I encourage all of you planners to embrace your plan, but also to let it go and enjoy the moment.

Time to start making plans for 2016!


Dumpster Diving

A new favorite from Glacier NP from our trip in 2011.
A new favorite from Glacier NP from our trip in 2011.

Sometimes when I have a lack of new images to work on, I go back through old files to remember past excursions.  Normally I work on a few mediocre images  and relive the experience of taking those photographs.  It is a enjoyable trip down memory lane and keeps some of my post processing skills up to date-ish.

This day I was going through images of autumns past and enjoying the memories of those outings when I came across this image from Glacier National Park.  I came home from that trip with a volume of images like I had never seen before.  I must have been overwhelmed at the beauty of the place and by the number of images to have passed this one by.  It might be my new favorite!

In a rut

This magnificent bull elk was hanging with his harem in RMNP a few years ago.
This magnificent bull elk was hanging with his harem in RMNP a few years ago.

It happens a couple times a year, typically.  It comes on without warning and lasts for various amounts of time.  A rut.  It’s been with me now almost two months.  I can see it ending in the next few weeks, but I have to hold on until then.

This rut is a little different because it is self-imposed instead of being from a lack of inspiration or a bout of terrible weather.  I am doing a lot of chores around my house that need constant attention over the weekends.  As a result, we aren’t hiking each weekend, aren’t heading out for sunrise or sunset, and are hanging indoors more than normal.

I’ve had to enjoy this fall through online photos and by looking through my own images of past autumns.  Thankfully this season comes around each year!


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Two of the 8 hand-stitched handkerchiefs found in the chest

I recently went through an old cedar chest that belonged to my mother.  Inside I found the typical things that mother’s keep: my christening gown and first communion dress, her wedding dress, wedding invitations, and so on.  There were also many pieces of needlepoint work.  My mother used to sew as did her mother and aunts back in Denmark.  In the bottom of the chest, I found eight of these these linen handkerchiefs.  They are identical and perfectly stitched by hand.

It has been 14 years since my mother passed away.  I have no idea who made these or why they mattered to her enough to store with her other keepsakes in her cedar chest.  I do know that they are a part of my family fabric (no pun intended) and I now carry one with me on all of my outdoor adventures.  I feel as though I am bringing some of my family with me on my travels.  It is these little things that make me smile.

Take out the trash

My computer has been yelling at me for some time now that I am almost out of space.  What that means to me is that my updates aren’t installing and things aren’t running too fast.  I understand from my IT husband that we can install a larger drive and this will give me more space so things will run better.  What I know, deep down, is that my photo hoarding is root of this problem and it is time to clean house.

One of the many images I permanently deleted today.  It is not my best work...
One of the many images I permanently deleted today. It is not my best work…

In my physical life, I am a great purger of unnecessary stuff; just yesterday I took donations to the public library and Goodwill.  My technical life, on the other hand, is a nightmare world of ill-named files, copies of copies of copies of bad photographs, duplicate music files, and half-written blog posts that I will never finish.  My computer hard drive is the junk drawer of my life.

I decided to go through my photos and clean house.  Thanks to digital camera technology I can take gazillions of photos.  Today I permanently deleted about a thousand, maybe more, but it’s a start, right?

4am Always Sucks

Bierstadt Lake after an early morning start. We had the trail and the lake to ourselves for 2 hours! I hate the waking up, but I love the experience once I get out there.

I’m not one of those people who wake up before my alarm with enthusiasm to start the day.  I work a regular 8-5 job Monday through Friday so when the weekend comes around I can’t wait to turn it off and just relax into my day.  Unfortunately that rarely happens.  Instead I set my alarm for 4am (sometimes earlier) and prepare for the grind that will be the next morning.

I will wake up grumbling and grumpy as I put on whatever clothes I laid out the night before.  I will make a cup of coffee, the one highlight of the early morning, and pout as I drive to a trailhead I have already mapped out.  My mood is only slightly sweetened when I get outside to a quiet natural place and hoist my too-heavy backpack.  My mood sours again as I start walking and every muscle tells me to go back to bed.

The first 5 minutes of every morning hike are the same:  Why do I do this?  Is there any picture worth this (answer: yes, if I get one with a unicorn)?  I tell myself there are plenty of people living happy lives who are still in bed right now and I hate them a little for it at this moment.  Then it happens…magic.  I turn a corner or look up from my internal rant and see something.  It can be a grand view catching first light, a deer quietly standing in a meadow, a stream babbling nearby, a small patch of wildflowers, but it makes me stop and smile.  The rest of the hike is fun after this point and I can’t wait to do it over and over again.

But 4AM always sucks.


Disclaimer: I am relatively tech savvy…relatively.

I can get around a computer, camera, photography programs, etc without much incident.  When it comes to things that are hip, I am a little bit of a dunce (do people even say “hip” anymore?).  I just figured out the purpose of hashtags for crying out loud!  Ugh.

Recently I started noticing on texts and posts I would get a little alien emoji (I recently learned that this was a word).  I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what this little alien in a box was about.  It was showing up everywhere!  I complained to my techie husband about this stupid alien and he hadn’t seen it.  He looked it up and figured out that because I hadn’t updated my iPhone to the latest operating system I couldn’t see some newer emojis so Apple inserted the damn alien.

Mystery solved!