photography

Park Peek // A SUPER BLOOM in Joshua Tree

We visited Joshua Tree National Park for the first time in October 2017. I knew right then that it would be a “home” park for us. Ellen and I are both drawn to the desert, and Joshua Tree is a unique blend of Mojave and Colorado deserts. It is where the two meet, and mingle.

When we decided to do a desert tour, instead of our usual winter in Florida, Joshua Tree came to mind one of our focus areas. I knew there was BLM land close by, which for full-time nomads is like finding flowing water in the desert. We can camp for free (for nearly as long as we’d like) just outside the park. Little did I realize when planning that we would be arriving just in time for a rare experience, the 2019 super bloom.

It has been truly spectacular to witness this once in a decade event here in Joshua Tree. The lupines, sunflowers, poppies, and countless other species have been popping up everywhere.

  

  

But I assure you, there is much more to this huge park than just wildflowers. It is approximately 800k acres of desert and mountain terrain.

There are of course incredible vistas.

Amazing night skies.

Hidden desert gems.

Cholla cactus gardens, treacherous and beautiful.

And of course, the otherworldly Joshua Trees, for which the park is named.

I like to try to combine several elements for which the park is famous, all in one photo, if possible.

We’re here for a few more weeks, so I know I will have much more to show all of you… this is just a preview of what I’ve seen and experienced.

It’s a fascinating park. And one that I know will take me many years to fully explore. Good thing Ellen and I have both fallen for this massive desert parkland in the heart of Southern California.

–Andrew


Ellen and I hit the road full-time in June of 2016. We are on a mission to inspire and educate everyone on the importance of getting outside. Check out my workshops and my prints, made #ontheroad in my mobile print studio. The revenue will help propel us further on this great adventure. Enrich yourself and others… and feel great about it too as you’re helping to ensure our public lands are cherished and to keep the wild spirit of the American Dream alive. Our goal is to visit all 59 National Parks in 3-5 years. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE



Want to learn photography and enjoy a guided experience? Check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates:
 
PHOTO 101 // LEARN TO SHOOT LIKE A PRO // SELECT CITIES // USA
GRAND TETON // FALL COLOR // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
TELLURIDE // FALL COLOR // LUXE LANDSCAPES
 
I’m excited to announce my “The Photographic Guide to Our National Parks” series of eBooks:
 
Rocky Mountain National Park
Grand Teton National Park
 
If you are interested in purchasing a “print from the road”, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
Andrew Slaton // prints from the road
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // Andrew Slaton
  
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2019
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photography, travel, writing

N O M A D // no 7

We only have so many summers so get out there and live.”

The towering rocks of Sedona were glowing red when the sun rose over the Verde River. The meandering rivers and endless red rock faces are what Jef (@jefalope) lives for. He’s the quintessential climber dirtbag / river rat, and a man of few words. He’s a leading guide for multi day backpacking in the Grand Canyon. He’s also a rafting guide for rivers all over the southwest, and in the off season, he picks up odd jobs from friends.

“Guiding life takes me all over the country for work. My free time is spent heading to climb between seasonal work.”

Jef lives in his 50 square foot ’92 Ford Micro Schooly. For the uninitiated, that’s a converted short bus. He’s been living in it for nearly two years.

He told me the story of how this home on wheels came to be… and I’m paraphrasing here.

“It was when the Super Bowl came to Arizona. Bud Light made this party bus, so it had wrap around couches and a stripper pole in the middle. And of course Bud Light branding all over the exterior. They didn’t need it anymore after the game, I guess, and they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

  

I haven’t really had any hardships. Yet. You live in the elements every day. It just becomes natural.  I guess saying good by to new friends along the way is the hardest part, but you usually see them at the next crag.”

He tells me that he loves the freedom this lifestyle provides, and how it’s made him better at all the activities he loves. “As a guide you travel a lot. If you want to be a strong climber, you have to climb. Being mobile I can be at the crag for multiple days.”

His schooly has small mementoes and trinkets strewn throughout, but he singles out two feathers that were given to him.

“The Turkey feather is from my friend who’s mother just passed. The eagle is from Garrett, who mentored my into professional guiding. I couldn’t have done it with out him.”

  

I ask him if there’s anything he misses about the “traditional” lifestyle, he simply replies,

“No not really. I have a way better view now.”

And when asked how long he plans to do this, he simply states,

“I hope as long as possible. I have everything I need.”


Ellen and I hit the road full-time in June of 2016. We are on a mission to inspire and educate everyone on the importance of getting outside. Check out my workshops and my prints, made #ontheroad in my mobile print studio. The revenue will help propel us further on this great adventure. Enrich yourself and others… and feel great about it too as you’re helping to ensure our public lands are cherished and to keep the wild spirit of the American Dream alive. Our goal is to visit all 59 National Parks in 3-5 years. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE



Want to learn photography and enjoy a guided experience? Check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates:
 
BIG BEND// WILDFLOWERS + STARS
PHOTO 101 // LEARN TO SHOOT LIKE A PRO // SELECT CITIES // USA
GRAND TETON // FALL COLOR // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
 
I’m excited to announce my “The Photographic Guide to Our National Parks” series of eBooks:
 
Rocky Mountain National Park
Grand Teton National Park
 
If you are interested in purchasing a “print from the road”, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
Andrew Slaton // prints from the road
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // Andrew R. Slaton
  
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2019
 
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photography, travel, writing

N O M A D // no 6

I love this life, and although I may not have money every day, I know that everything will work out, and as long as my daughter and I are healthy and happy, that’s all that really matters!”

Shanti Roadrunner (@shanti_theroadrunner) is one of the most unique people I’ve ever met. And as far as this NOMAD project goes, she’s the most authentic and perhaps holds claim to a blood relation to the ancient Romani people (the original gypsies).

I met her in Sedona, and when asked, “Why a nomad,” she responded, “I’ve been a nomad my entire life, with the exception of living in a house for about 5 yrs altogether on and off. I think it’s just in my blood, I can’t help it! My ancestors and relatives are all gypsies, so, it’s kinda just a normal thing for us. Plus, in my opinion, it’s the freest we can be in this society!”

She struck me as a proud, hard working mother, whose main concern is cultivating a lifestyle of freedom and wilderness for herself and her daughter. She and Robyn live in her 1987 Toyota dolphin camper, all in all about 50 square feet. She said this camper was gifted to her somewhat recently. Before that, the pair lived in her van… She’s very glad to now have a stove and shower.

For me personally, this lifestyle allows me to raise my daughter myself, which is the most important thing to me! I don’t want to send her to daycare and work a 9-5 job. This lifestyle doesn’t require rent…or at least not as nearly as insane as house rent! It requires gas and propane, but yeah… A lot more feasible! I get to take her to my job which is everything to me.”

  

When asked what she does for work, she replied, “I do some crafting, I make water bottle holders (crochet) but I also do housekeeping gigs for Airbnb’s.”

I asked her a question that Ellen and I get all the time… do you ever plan to settle down?

“Really, no future plans of settling down! Although I wouldn’t mind getting some land if I ever save up enough money. The hardest thing (about life on the road) is probably the law, always trying to get rid of us! It’s unfair! And frustrating.”

She then told me a story of camping in a well known park in Sedona with her sister a while back. They’d been there for about a week when law enforcement showed up. She apologized and let the officer know that they were not aware that they couldn’t camp there. Regardless, he wrote her a ticket. When she asked if there are any signs that say “no camping”, he said, “yes.” But when she asked if he could show it to them, he said “no.”

I looked all around the park for any signs and saw none.

 

She carries few possessions. But one that caught my eye was a replica of Frodo’s blade, Sting, from Lord of The Rings. I find that every nomad carries at least one thing with them that doesn’t really have any utilitarian value. But it usually carries some emotional significance.

“Ok so Sting… my sister and I were huge, and I mean, huge, Lord of The Ring fans. Those are the only movies we would watch and everything in our life had to somehow relate to LOTR! We had many more swords and memorabilia, but we had to let a lot of it go. I couldn’t bring myself to leave Sting. It was the first sword I owned and I loved it too much to leave behind, plus it’s super cool to have a sword…” Shanti and her sister remain close. Her sister and father both live on the road as well.

Shanti also carries a banjo.

“I had an era of my nomadic life where it was just me and my pack. I was traveling across the country with my boyfriend at the time… he was a folksy bluegrass musician. We went down to New Orleans for a while, and he played on the streets to make money. I didn’t know how to play anything. But as soon as I could I bought my first banjo and it went everywhere with me, even if I don’t know how to play. It’s a comfort knowing it’s there to fiddle around with when I’m feeling inspired, and some day, I would like to play like a pro!”

“Being a nomad isn’t as hard as it seems! And as for myself, I own everything I’ve got in my rig! No debt! Not a lot of money, but i make it day by day. We don’t need a house, an endless hot shower or 3 crazy huge meals a day to be happy or comfortable,” she mused.

Living this lifestyle also puts a whole new perspective on how dependent we are on so many things, and really, how lazy humanity has become. It’s good to get out and connect to the wilderness, and really, our true and original state! Humans are tribal… we need community, we need to connect! We aren’t meant to be set in front of a tv in our lazy John, sending our kids to strangers so we can go to work to make money and never see them, all in order to feel secure.”


Ellen and I hit the road full-time in June of 2016. We are on a mission to inspire and educate everyone on the importance of getting outside. Check out my workshops and my prints, made #ontheroad in my mobile print studio. The revenue will help propel us further on this great adventure. Enrich yourself and others… and feel great about it too as you’re helping to ensure our public lands are cherished and to keep the wild spirit of the American Dream alive. Our goal is to visit all 59 National Parks in 3-5 years. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE



Want to learn photography and enjoy a guided experience? Check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates:

 
BIG BEND// WILDFLOWERS + STARS
PHOTO 101 // LEARN TO SHOOT LIKE A PRO // SELECT CITIES // USA
GRAND TETON // FALL COLOR // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
 
I’m excited to announce my “The Photographic Guide to Our National Parks” series of eBooks:
 
Rocky Mountain National Park
Grand Teton National Park
 
If you are interested in purchasing a “print from the road”, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
Andrew Slaton // prints from the road

 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // Andrew R. Slaton
  
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2019

 

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photography, portraits, travel

N O M A D // no 5

We have more options than we think to live the life we desire!”

Starr (@appreciateandlove) oozes joy. That is the first thing Ellen and I noticed when we met up with her in Telluride, CO just days before she was to embark on her maiden voyage in “Rodger”, her newly acquired 160 sq ft 2008 Coachman Freelander.

She has now been on the road a little over two weeks with her 4 cats, Essence (the senior, the Queen), Jacob William, Princess Mia, and Petunia (“Tootie”).

“I embarked on my maiden journey for this off-season and to see how it goes! I have stationary home in Florida for the winter seasons if I so choose, an option for a home base. Keeping Roamin’ Rodger on site, docked for edits and organization for future galavants!  I have a couple of ideas for cat-related structures I would like to install. And to paint everything pink is another goal. Currently feeling out how the cats are doing / what’s fiscally reasonable moving forward. Planning on traveling around Florida in Rodger on my off days to visit loved ones and see things I’ve never seen before!”

I love the wild enlivened freedom of being able to take your home with you wherever you want. To have everything you need right with you, like the biggest backpack ever! To see my loved ones in their space, while I am in mine. Conveniently providing a balance of independence and freedom, with the comforts and sentiment of home. To root down when I feel like it, or to boldly adventure into the sunset at the drop of a hat (and a releasing of the emergency brake!)”

Starr lost her mom recently, so she has decorated her new mobile home with a few mementoes that keep her memory ever-present.
“My sweet and sassy mom loved quilts and this blue quilt was one she frequently used. Using it feels like a hug from her. And I’m trying really, really hard to keep her plant alive! I love having life in my home, a breath of fresh air and a sentimental connection. Also got the plant pot at a thrift store, another beloved pastime we shared. I love my mom!”

  

When asked if she’ll miss anything about the “stationary” life, she responded, “Yes, the sturdy ground beneath me to be just as careless and quickly moving as I want to be, dancing around without shaking a whole vehicle, etc! Also ease of access to facilities like laundry, recycling, a large sink. The general feeling of longevity of a stationary home strikes me as something I’ll miss. Seems to be a safety in being sturdier or rooted down. The space inside. I bump my head a lot!”

So then… why a nomad?
“I want to balance my desire to be near the ones that I love with the desire for freedom and to discover new places. Having my sweet cat fam with me makes anywhere I am seem like home, and when I can be nearby my loved ones but still have my own independent space it increases my comfort and the longevity of these adventures.
I tend to work seasonally in the hospitality / food service industry, so being in my RV for the season in one place for a couple of months and then traveling in the interim is a fluid and workable setup!”

I am touched by the camaraderie I see in people living the nomadic lifestyle. I respect the courage of those who seek to follow their passions, even if not ‘conventional.’ I want to be open to the possibility of being able to do exactly what I want, while being fiscally responsible still. By letting my own light shine encourage others to shine as well! And I see that with the nomadic community. We have more options than we think to live the life we desire!”


Ellen and I hit the road full-time in June of 2016. We are on a mission to inspire and educate everyone on the importance of getting outside. Check out my workshops and my prints, made #ontheroad in my mobile print studio. The revenue will help propel us further on this great adventure. Enrich yourself and others… and feel great about it too as you’re helping to ensure our public lands are cherished and to keep the wild spirit of the American Dream alive. Our goal is to visit all 59 National Parks in 3-5 years. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE



Want to learn photography and enjoy a guided experience? Check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates:
 
BIG BEND// LANDSCAPE + THE ART OF SEEING
PHOTO 101 // LEARN TO SHOOT LIKE A PRO // SELECT CITIES // USA
EVERGLADES // WINTER // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
 
I’m excited to announce my “The Photographic Guide to Our National Parks” series of eBooks:
 
Rocky Mountain National Park
Grand Teton National Park
 
If you are interested in purchasing a “print from the road”, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
Andrew Slaton // prints from the road
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // Andrew R. Slaton
  
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2018
 
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photography, portraits, travel, workshop

THE MAGIC OF BIG BEND

I feel very fortunate to have been to Big Bend National Park a lot. I really mean it. A whole lot.

I’ve been to Big Bend at least 2-3 times every year since 2001. I’ve experienced the park in every single month of the year.

But this past December blew me away.

I’ve heard of snow storms hitting the Chisos mountains ever so often, but never seen it myself. Well, December 2017 brought a unique situation to the otherwise temperate Chihuahuan Desert.

A gorgeous snow storm hit the desert and Chisos mountains, bringing a rarely seen blanket of white to Big Bend.

It didn’t stick around long… maybe a few days. But the magic of seeing such a rare sight was just incredible.

I can say, that in all the times I’ve visited, I’ve never regretted being there. Whether it was hot as hell, cold as the north country, stormy, windy, dry. Doesn’t matter. There’s a magic to this place that you cannot explain. You just have to experience it.

The light is just magic here. And that’s why it was one of the very first places that I started teaching workshops.

I love sharing special places with people. I want them to love it as much as I do. And to understand it. To become concerned with its health and well-being. To want to take care of it. To treat it with respect, like I do.

So, if you love photography, and special places, you should come out to Big Bend sometime.

Join me for a 4 day, 3 night epic adventure into the heart of Big Bend National Park to learn everything from scouting a new location, to processing your images, the “art of seeing”, and most everything outdoor photo related and in between. Fall in love with Big Bend.

There are only a few spots left, so register fast…

— Andrew


Ellen and I hit the road full-time in June of 2016. We are on a mission to inspire and educate everyone on the importance of getting outside. Check out my workshops and my prints, made #ontheroad in my mobile print studio. The revenue will help propel us further on this great adventure. Enrich yourself and others… and feel great about it too as you’re helping to ensure our public lands are cherished and to keep the wild spirit of the American Dream alive. Our goal is to visit all 59 National Parks in 3-5 years. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE



Want to learn photography and enjoy a guided experience? Check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates:
 
EVERGLADES // WINTER // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
BIG BEND// LANDSCAPE + THE ART OF SEEING
 
I’m excited to announce my “The Photographic Guide to Our National Parks” series of eBooks:
 
Rocky Mountain National Park
Grand Teton National Park
 
If you are interested in purchasing a “print from the road”, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
Andrew Slaton // prints from the road
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // Andrew R. Slaton
  
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2018
 
Standard
photography, portraits, travel

N O M A D // no 4

We enjoy living with less and the tendencies of living in a home are to fill it with stuff, but stuff doesn’t equal happiness; if anything, it can weigh you down.”

We met the Fabers (@followthefabers) this summer in Wyoming, by providence. Ellen and I were having a beer at the local brewpub when Morgan ran up for the local run club that meets at the pub… Marc followed. I mistook Morgan for a waitress (still not sure why?!), and we struck up conversation.

It’s really eerie how much we have in common. They’ve been loosely spending their summers in and around Pinedale, living out of their 1981 Trillium 1300. It’s a molded fiberglass camper with 65 sq. ft. of livable space, if you’re being generous. They hit the road full-time nearly three years ago, when they left their home in Grand Rapids, MI.

ARS_NOMAD_20180920_2636

“We do miss is our family and friends and a sense of community, but we don’t have an end {to full-time travel} in sight,” Morgan reflects.

They just purchased a home in Wyoming, but have no plans to stop traveling. “We’re just going to use it as a home base and it’s in one of our favorite places in the country. Plus, now our friends and family can come visit us and have a place to stay instead of the other way around :)  Also, we plan on traveling in different ways.  Once Marc retires, we plan on hiking – a lot!”

They have goals to thru-hike the CDT, AT, PCT and the Arizona Trails, specifically. “We think it’s great to live minimally, and there’s something exciting about carrying all you need to survive (and thrive!) on your back!”

Ellen and I couldn’t agree more…

“We feel that we’re pursuing a life that is really intended for all of us. We want to gather experiences, not things. We want to develop friendships that encompass people from all walks of life. We want to explore this beautiful and crazy world that the Lord has created and revel in the beauty of it,” they said.

We don’t feel that God intended us to live in one spot, in one neighborhood, in one group of the same people, shut up into a routine and sheltered from the rest of the world.  The world is an incredible place filled with incredible people, and until you actually step outside of your comfort zone and experience that, you’re not really living.”

“Unfortunately for most people, ourselves included, ‘living traditionally’ is and was ‘living safely’ and in our minds, after what we’ve seen and experienced, that’s no way to live.”

They travel everywhere with their mascot, “Monkey”, a sock monkey given to the Fabers by a friend on their maiden voyage with their trailer.

“Yeah, we know, super creative. Just like our camper’s name, Trilly. We’re naming geniuses.” Morgan laughs.

ARS_NOMAD_20180920_2600

In the short time we’ve spent with the Fabers, we got a glimpse into their laid back, fun personalities. They are deeply caring and open people. They pour into others and the little communities they come across.

This sounds cliche, but traveling has restored our faith in humanity. People are inherently good and kind and that is not what is portrayed in our current society. The media and news paint a picture of fear and hatred and division and when you live ‘traditionally’, you’re constantly bombarded with those images and that fear of others or the unknown can be crippling. We lived in a neighborhood for years and barely knew our neighbors. We’d go to the same church with the same people and the same friends and not really ever try to branch out. Traveling has changed all that.  We are constantly meeting new people and doing new things. Our ‘neighborhood’ changes constantly and we make it a point to meet our neighbors.  I’ve always said, campgrounds are a great equalizer.  You have people from all walks of life and backgrounds and economic statuses. Where else will you find people with half million dollar rigs and others living out of tents because they have to, and everything in between – all within the same ‘neighborhood’ gathered around a campfire together? You won’t. If it weren’t for traveling – for camping – a lot of these people would never cross paths, but now, we call all of those people friends. It’s beautiful. ❤”

— Andrew


Ellen and I hit the road full-time in June of 2016. We are on a mission to inspire and educate everyone on the importance of getting outside. Check out my workshops and my prints, made #ontheroad in my mobile print studio. The revenue will help propel us further on this great adventure. Enrich yourself and others… and feel great about it too as you’re helping to ensure our public lands are cherished and to keep the wild spirit of the American Dream alive. Our goal is to visit all 59 National Parks in 3-5 years. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE



Want to learn photography and enjoy a guided experience? Check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates:
 
EVERGLADES // WINTER // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
BIG BEND// LANDSCAPE + THE ART OF SEEING
 
I’m excited to announce my “The Photographic Guide to Our National Parks” series of eBooks:
 
Rocky Mountain National Park
Grand Teton National Park
 
If you are interested in purchasing a “print from the road”, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
Andrew Slaton // prints from the road

 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // Andrew R. Slaton
  
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2018

 

Standard
photography, random thought, travel

INTO THE WINDS (Part 2)

Continued from Into The Winds (Part 1)

We arrived just as our friends were tying up their horses.

They came with gifts. Gifts of glorious food.

One of the things that inevitably occurs when backpacking is that you begin to fantasize about certain foods that you couldn’t possibly take with you into the backcountry. It may sound nuts, but Ellen was dreaming about fresh salad. I know, I know, let me explain. Nothing you take in a backpack with you is fresh. Most of it is high sodium, high protein, processed energy foods. And as we all know, when you know can’t have something, it tends to gnaw at you.

Ellen couldn’t imagine anything better than a fresh salad. Not even pizza.

Spoiler alert. They brought Ellen a huge, fresh salad in tupperware. Me? Oh yeah, they brought me some goodies too. Fried chicken and skittles. No, it’s not autocorrect. You read that right; fried chicken and skittles. And it was glorious. Not together, of course.

Oh, also beer and cookies…

We gorged and laughed with our friends all afternoon, smelly as we were. It was a real treat. In the evening light, our friends saddled up and headed back to town. The next morning, happy and with full stomachs, Ellen and I repacked our packs and hit the trail again. We were energized from all of the calories and conversation, but our packs were the heaviest they’d been that entire week.

And we still had 50 miles to go.

I had resolved that we were going to finish this hike together, come hell or high water. My shin would get to feeling a little better every morning, but by the end of a 10 mile day, it felt as though it were still day 2. We rationed the ibuprofen so I could sleep, and made the decision to keep pressing on.

My shin seared with the pain of a newly 50+ lb. pack. Thankfully, I had peppered in a few “day hike/ rest days” in to the 12 day trek. It was unfortunate, but I really did need to stay put and rest on those days.

It’s funny how difficult it was for us to chose to actually rest on those days. I felt a bit like a failure. I think our culture dictates a “never slow down” work ethic, and it’s done great things for our society’s productivity. But there’s something to say about the fact that even the Lord took a day to rest… just sayin’.

As we continued, we reached the high country. Towering spines of granite surrounded us, majestic and mighty. I spent my mornings and evenings wandering and photographing… not far from camp, just enough to change my perspective of the gray monoliths and reflective lakes. The clouds passed overhead without notice of us or our affairs.

With each day dawning, it was getting a little bit cooler. The mornings brought dew, and then ice to our tent and packs. The willows were fading from bright green to golden yellow.

One of the main things that I took away from this trip is that I’m not getting any younger. It is of utmost importance that I take great care of myself. Gone are the days of eating junk and somehow still feeling great. Gone are the days of taking a fall, and simply brushing myself off, unscathed.

I’m certainly not old by most standards, but as I approach 40, I’m realizing that the lifestyle I love will take more and more work to maintain.

As someone who is always up for a challenge, I welcome this new realization.

I remember sitting at my grandparent’s kitchen table as a young teen. My Papa sitting across from me and Nana making a sandwich for me, on a summer afternoon of mowing the lawn for them. “I can’t wait to be older. How fun will it be to say ‘I remember 20 years ago when X happened. Ah, those were the days!’” I mused. They looked at me smiling, glancing back at each other with a seemingly secret wisdom. At least secret to me.

Well, I may only be pushing 40. And I may be in arguably the best shape of my life. But now, I really can say that I remember 30 years ago, sitting at my grandparents kitchen table, admiring the passage of time. It feels good. Even with the aches and pains, weak shins and sore back.

We arrived at the Green River Lakes trailhead, where our truck had been delivered just days before. We were relieved to be done, but in a strange way, a little sad that it was over. A decade and a half of planning paid off, but all that time was suddenly cashed in. The reward was knowing that we could do something this grand and exciting, and that made us both happy and proud.

Into the Winds also reiterated the point that we would be doing this again. And other treks like it. No matter how many years we have under our belts.

Aches and pains will come and go, but there are few experiences like waking up to a fresh dawn in deep in the wilderness. And that’s worth all the struggle and work.

— Andrew


Ellen and I hit the road full-time in June of 2016. We are on a mission to inspire and educate everyone on the importance of getting outside. Check out my workshops and my prints, made #ontheroad in my mobile print studio. The revenue will help propel us further on this great adventure. Enrich yourself and others… and feel great about it too as you’re helping to ensure our public lands are cherished and to keep the wild spirit of the American Dream alive. Our goal is to visit all 59 National Parks in 3-5 years. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE



Want to learn photography and enjoy a guided experience? Check out my exciting, NEW workshop dates:
 
EVERGLADES // WINTER // LANDSCAPES + WILDLIFE
BIG BEND// LANDSCAPE + THE ART OF SEEING
 
I’m excited to announce my “The Photographic Guide to Our National Parks” series of eBooks:
 
Rocky Mountain National Park
Grand Teton National Park
 
If you are interested in purchasing a “print from the road”, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
Andrew Slaton // prints from the road
 
If you are interested in licensing any of the images/ video from this post, please visit my stock agency:
 
Tandem Stills + Motion // Andrew R. Slaton
  
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
All images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2018
 
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