random thought, travel, workshop

The First 10,000 Miles (part 3)

What I Learned From Life On The Road (Part 3)

Well I was born a rambler friends, and I intend to die that way.” — Townes Van Zandt

Sorry it’s been so long, folks. Season 2 of #nomadlife got a bit more complicated and difficult… as a consequence, I took a bit of a hiatus from writing. But I always intended to have a Part 3 to the First 10,000 Miles… so here it goes.

Stay tuned for The Next 10,000 Miles.

A 6 month old blue eyed red merle australian shepherd puppy

Islay Blue was growing fast… and needed a ton of exercise. So we got in the routine of hiking almost every day, at least 5-8 miles. We ended the summer in the best shape of our lives. Breathing fresh mountain air, swimming in the clearest, cleanest water, eating healthy at home, reveling in breathtaking scenery every day, and hiking a ton.

30. The Road to Good Health Starts With Prevention… A healthy lifestyle for the mind, body, and soul goes so far.

A woman and her dog hiking the New Fork trail in the Winds Continue reading

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random thought, travel

The First 10,000 Miles (Part 2)

What I Learned From Life On The Road

You cannot count the miles until you feel them.” — Snowin’ on Raton, Townes Van Zandt

It’s funny: I don’t feel like we’ve been on the road full-time.

It still feels like a trip.

Just a really, really long, strange trip.

We’ve settled in to life in less than 200 square feet. Seriously. That hasn’t been the hard part at all. The hard part for me has been settling in to the dream and routine of shooting almost every day. And not getting to married to my plans.

People told me I would have to be flexible with plans, and I brushed them off. “They don’t know how good I am at planning,” I thought.

Well, they were right. I was wrong.

Sunrise over the Winds at Boulder Lake

After our backpacking trip into the Titcomb Basin, we spent a few more days in and around Boulder, WY. We continued to explore the southern Winds, and stay plugged in at our free RV park.

Generally for every day off the grid, I need a day on, with power and internet, etc. I am out shooting and writing and creating when we’re off the grid, so you can imagine, when we plug back in, there’s a ton to do. And I don’t have anyone sending me a regular paycheck at this point. So I’m constantly hustling. I constantly have to find new ways to fund our life on the road.

14. Life on the road is way more challenging, but WAY more rewarding.

And anyway,

15. Comfort is overrated.

Sunrise over the foothills of the Winds near Boulder Lake

Sunrise over the foothills of the Winds near Boulder Lake

I’m working more than I ever imagined I could. But I’m also outside, hiking, playing games with Ellie, playing fetch with Islay. My quality of life is so much better than when we were in the city.

16. There are just as many hours in the day as you need.

Sunrise over the Winds near Boulder Lake

So speaking of country life vs city life… we had the distinct privilege of joining our friends for Sublet County’s crowning jewel of summer events: The Green River Rendezvous.

See, in the fur trapping days, mountain men would literally descend on the Green River Valley in the summer to trade with their fellow trappers, indians, fur companies, etc. It was a rowdy time, as these men were prone to heavy drinking, fighting, womanizing, and other nefarious activities.

But they were important times in the history of the Rockies. This time shaped these places. And Pinedale is still wild. There are still real cowboys here. One of the longest remaining and oldest running cattle drives in the world happens right here in the Upper Green every summer.

It’s a land of cowboys, rough necks, mountain men/ women, ranchers, hunters, survivalists. The Winds are not for the weak.

The Rendezvous Rodeo in Pinedale, Wyoming celebrates the cowboy lifestyle of the area and the fur trappers/ mountain men of the past in the Wind River Range of the Rockies

So it was a real treat to experience Rendezvous again after 10 years.

A celebration of all things Wyoming. All things tough.

And we topped it off with the Rendezvous Rodeo.

The Rendezvous Rodeo in Pinedale, Wyoming celebrates the cowboy lifestyle of the area and the fur trappers/ mountain men of the past in the Wind River Range of the Rockies

The rodeo reminded me of when I lived here and worked for the local newspaper a decade ago.

It was my very first Rendezvous. I was bright eyed and bushy tailed. And a friend of mine (a Pinedale local), over drinks at the local brew pub one night, proceeded to lay out an argument on why I should sign up for the rodeo. He was pretty convincing.

“Well, yer from Texas, aren’t ya?” he said matter of factly. “Bull riders come from Utah and Texas. You should sign up to ride a bull. You’ll be fine… yer from Texas!”

I couldn’t argue with his logic. I was from Texas after all.

Thankfully, I sobered up before he could get me to the sign up sheet.

Several of the men that year broke bones, bruised muscles, and took pretty big hits to their pride.

I watched from the bleachers with my camera.

17. Just because I’m from Texas doesn’t automatically mean I can ride a bull… or even a horse, for that matter.

The Rendezvous Rodeo in Pinedale, Wyoming celebrates the cowboy lifestyle of the area and the fur trappers/ mountain men of the past in the Wind River Range of the Rockies

Rendezvous ended and the town of 2000 or so, which had swelled to nearly 10000, retracted again to its normal capacity.

It was time for us to get moving. We get restless being anywhere too long. So we hitched up and moved 2 hours north to Grand Teton National Park. Our 5th of 59 parks to visit.

Teton is possibly my favorite National Park of all time, with an asterisk. There’s a possible tie with Big Bend. It really depends on which park I happen to be in at the moment that determines which is my favorite.

I’m back in the Tetons, so it’s my favorite at the moment.

18. A good problem is to have two favorite places.

Dramatic clouds loom over Swabachwers Landing in Grand Teton National Park

The Tetons have a magic about them. It’s in the air, and the reflections, and the clouds, and the light.

Dramatic clouds loom over Swabachwers Landing in Grand Teton National Park

It’s impossible to explain. You just have to experience it.

Dramatic clouds loom over Swabachwers Landing in Grand Teton National Park

Sunrise over Mount Moran at Oxbow Bend

It just never ceases to amaze me, this place.

19. If a place keeps calling you back in the depths of your soul, you have to listen and heed.

Fog rising from the Snake River in the morning

So I’m a tad bit obsessed with grizzly bears, and aside from Alaska, this happens to be one of the best places to see them.

I hope and wish and pray every time I go out that I’ll get a glimpse of one of these impressive creatures. Not too close though, mind you. I’m crazy but I’m not stupid. Or under any delusion that these animals want to be friends with me.

But in all these years of spending time in grizzly country, 12 at least, I’ve only seen 5 or so griz.

So that’s what made this particular morning so special.

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When I can tell it’s not going to be a good “landscape” morning, I opt to drive around a few of my secret spots to see if I can get some wildlife shots.

Well, this morning, I did just that. And I got incredibly lucky.

As I was leaving one particular backroad, I came across an open hillside meadow full of midsummer wildflowers. A young grizzly was rummaging around the field, digging up roots and searching for vegetation to eat.

I sat in my truck, safe and sound, about 25 feet away from this magnificent beast. He wasn’t too concerned with me for some reason. So I experienced his presence, uninterrupted for what felt like 30-45 minutes. Who knows how long it really was.

It was truly a once in a lifetime thing.

Just me and the grizzly bear.

20. Fear of creatures is trumped by fascination. 

Pronghorn antelope through fog along the river road

When he finally left (it was him, not me to leave first), I decided to try to continue the streak…

Pronghorn antelope and elk through the fog of the Snake River topped off that spectacular morning. I was glowing.

Dramatic clouds loom over Swabachwers Landing in Grand Teton National Park

But it was yet again time to move on. We had a new park to visit… we were finally heading up Glacier.

First though, we would need to pass through the world’s first National Park, Yellowstone.

The Grand Canyon of The Yellowstone

I have a bit of a love/ hate relationship with Yellowstone.

Don’t get me wrong, it is an amazing place that I deeply love and cherish. Every time I visit, I have a moment of pure awe. Every time.

But if you’ve been recently in the summer months, you might know why it can also be frustrating.

With every year that passes, Yellowstone gets more and more visitors. And every year, the things that some of the visitors do is more and more strange and dangerous. I’m sure you heard a few of the profoundly dumb things people did this year that made the national news.

I don’t know what it is about this park, but it makes people do some really weird things.

And the traffic jams. Oh the traffic jams.

But I keep reminding myself that…

21. A traffic jam in Yellowstone is way better than one in the city.

Yellowstone Lake at Dawn from Pumice Point

And it is so quiet and peaceful here at dawn. It’s really nice that not many people chose to wake before sunrise.

I feel like I have the whole park to myself in the morning.

22. I’m thankful to be a morning person.

Fly fishing the Yellowstone River

Well, I guess serious anglers wake up early.

And Yellowstone is one of those iconic places to fly fish, so I always enjoy getting images of people catching fish in this beautiful place.

Fly fishing the Yellowstone River

We worked our way up to the northeast corner of Yellowstone, my favorite area of the park. The Lamar Valley, Cooke City, and the Beartooth/ Absaroka… doesn’t get much better.

We parked the trailer off the grid, outside of Cooke City, Montana and set off to explore.

I drove into the Lamar Valley most morning and evenings, and we hiked trails all along the Beartooth Highway during the day.

A woman and her dog hike Pilot Creek in the Absaroka Beartooths

Islay and Ellen clearly had a blast exploring a new area. I have been coming here for years, but Ellen had never been.

A woman and her dog overlooking Beauty Lake in the Beartooths

23. Sharing our special places with the people we love makes those places even more special.

Bison roaming in the Lamar Valley

The Beartooth Highway is perhaps my favorite drive in the whole world. It is called “America’s most scenic highway,” and I have yet to find anything to beat it.

It snakes its way back and forth across the border, Wyoming to Montana, Montana back to Wyoming, Wyoming back to Montana. You begin to forget which state you’re in.

The Beartooth Highway, Americas most scenic drive

The Beartooth Highway, Americas most scenic drive

The Absaroka and Beartooth mountains are just stunning.

The Beartooth Highway, Americas most scenic drive

And there are such amazing little side roads to explore and trails to get out, deep into the wilderness.

We could easily spend the whole summer and fall right here.

The Beartooths

But Glacier was calling.

See, I’ve been itching to go to Glacier National Park, and as a consequence, planning a trip every single year for the last decade. And every single year in the last decade, my trip has been canceled. For various reasons, but the fact remained; I’ve still never been to Glacier.

Nothing was stopping us this summer.

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We arrived and I’m so glad we finally had the chance to visit. I wrote a blog post just on that trip, so I’ll spare you the doubling up on the same stories. If you’d like to read more about our time in Glacier, check it out here.

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After Glacier, I had a private workshop down in Teton, so we made the trek back down.

It was really great. A young photographer whom I’ve known for a few years wanted to sit down with me and her assistant and basically have a no-holds-barred Q+A.

I prepared an outline that we followed much of the time, based on what I knew she wanted to learn. But ultimately, she asked every question she could think of, from the business and marketing side of things, to planning, scouting, shooting, and workflow.

We had a blast. And she and her assistant left inspired and refreshed to get out there and follow their dreams! Or at least, that’s what they said.

I felt so honored to be able to give them encouragement.

Sunset over Jackson Lake near Signal Mountain Lodge

And we couldn’t do a full-day’s workshop without getting out to shoot! So we ended the perfect day with a perfect Teton sunset shoot.

Sunset over Jackson Lake near Signal Mountain Lodge

24. I obviously have to make a living, but if I can make money while helping people, I have had an incredibly good day.

A large black bear near Pacific Creek in Teton National Forest

The next evening, I could tell the light and clouds weren’t going to do what I wanted for a landscape shoot, so I went for another wildlife drive.

Well, I decided to go back to the same place I had my grizzly experience… which by the way, almost never works – lightning almost never strikes twice. But I went anyway. And what should I find? A big, healthy black bear. About 20 feet from my truck!

He didn’t stick around too long, but it was still the end to a great day/ week.

25. Lightning sometimes does strike twice.

Sunrise over the Gallatin River and the far Northwest corner of Yellowstone

About a year ago I did a deal with a guy in California who wanted to start a Chinese photography workshop/ tour company. He was going to tap in to the growing market of Chinese middle class that love travel, photography, and U.S. National Parks, and I was going to lead tours through Wyoming, and more specifically, Yellowstone.

So the time had come for me to do my first tour through Yellowstone with tourists from China.

We headed back up to Yellowstone, and made our home-base Lake Hebgen near West Yellowstone.

I didn’t know what to expect.

Often times the cultural and language differences are enough to make for really difficult trips.

But as often is the case, my fears and worries were immediately diminished when I met the group for the first time.

26. Fears rarely, if ever, reflect reality.

Tourists at Turquise Pool at dawn

Flowers and the Firehole River at Grand Prismatic

They were excited and respectful. They listened to me, learned about the park and its wildlife, and we all had a great time.

I showed them all around Yellowstone, a place I do consider very near and dear to me.

Black Pool in the West Thumb Geyser Basin

We spent four full days together seeing the regular tourist sights, and even visiting a few of my “secret” spots.

And on the last day… the icing on the cake. A sight so rare on this big earth, that I couldn’t believe what we were witnessing it.

The Wapiti Pack along the Yellowstone River in the Hayden Valley

A crowd was forming on the side of the road near the Yellowstone River, so we pulled over. Just across the river a stark, white wolf came over a hill and dropped into view. She went down to the river for a drink.

She was beautiful.

In all the times I’ve been to Yellowstone, I’ve only seen two wolves.

Now, I know you can spot them a mile off if you sit long enough in the Hayden or Lamar Valleys. So when I say I’ve “seen” a wolf, I mean one that I was close enough to observe well with the naked eye.

This was the third. And then the fourth, and fifth, and sixth. In all, we saw four wolves, that we were told were part of the Wapiti Lake Pack.

And the ranger told of us of a rare soap opera drama that was unfolding with this particular pack.

You see, there was an old male that was the alpha. But a few weeks back, two young males had come in to the pack and run off the old male. So his female became the alpha. She seemed to enjoy having the young males around and her old alpha gone.

Well, no one had ever observed this behavior in wolves before now. When the young males would go off to hunt, the old alpha would find his way back to the pack. He had pups with the alpha female, and he wanted his visitation rights. Rangers observed that the old alpha would stick around to watch over the pups until the younger males would return. He would then leave the pack again to roam alone. And back and forth this went.

It very well may be the animal kingdom’s first observed instance of a civil divorce with custody agreement.

27. Even animals are drama queens.

Bison in the Hayden Valley

We were all reeling from the unique experience. But the tour was ending.

I was so worried that the cultural differences would keep me from being able to connect with the group. And I was so wrong. I actually made friends with everyone in the group and it was tough to see them go.

28. When fear changes to friendship, our eyes are opened to the similarities between people, not just the differences.

It was great to end on such a high note, and I really enjoyed my time with the group. But I was exhausted from the four days of waking at 4AM to drive 2 hours to get to our meeting point, then leading the group until dinner, and driving the 2 hours back to the trailer to be with Ellen.

So the next few days, I crashed.

29. The best way to get a good night’s sleep is to work your butt off during the day.

— Andrew


Ellen and I have hit the road full-time! Help us on our mission to inspire and educate everyone on the importance of getting outside by checking out my workshops and my prints, made #ontheroad in my mobile print studio. The revenue will help propel us further and further on this great adventure. Enrich yourself and others… and feel great about it too as you’re helping to ensure our wild lands are cherished and to keep the wild spirit of the American Dream alive. Our goal is to visit all 59 National Parks in 2-4 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:
 
TELLURIDE // LANDSCAPE + MOUNTAIN LIGHT // 2016 – SOLD OUT
TELLURIDE // LANDSCAPE + MOUNTAIN LIGHT (Trip 2) // 2016 – ONLY 2 SPOTS AVAILABLE
LOCAL + PRIVATE WORKSHOP // 2016 – AFFORDABLE RATES FOR ME TO COME TO YOU
BIG BEND // LANDSCAPE + NIGHT SKY // 2017 – MOST POPULAR! 6 SPOTS AVAILABLE
LEARN PHOTO + CAMERA BASICS // DALLAS // 2016 – 20 SPOTS!
 
I’m excited to announce my “The Photographic Guide to Our National Parks” series of eBooks:
 
See what’s NEW
 
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 R. Slaton | photographer // prints
 
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
Image Brief // 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 2016
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random thought, travel

The First 10,000 Miles

What I Learned From Life On The Road (Part 1)

Livin’ on the road, my friend, was gonna keep you free and clean. Now you wear your skin like iron, and your breath’s as hard as kerosene.” — Pancho and Lefty, Townes Van Zandt

When we set off in June, we didn’t really know what to expect… the stories, the landscapes, the people… the many, varied obstacles.

10,000 miles in, here we are; unscathed… relatively speaking, a little dustier, skinnier. Perhaps wiser, happier? Hindsight will be the judge.

The following are the first 10k miles in pictures and short stories, and what I’ve learned so far from life on the road…

The famous West Texas sunrise

We left Texas in early June, 2016 with great anticipation for the adventure before us. Besides our family and friends, the only thing left in the Lone Star State was a 75 square foot storage unit half full of our stuff. What I learned somewhere along the way in the first 10,000 is that 75 square feet is way too much.

Lesson 1. The less stuff you have, the less stuff begins to mean to you.

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Our new Australian Shepherd pup, Islay (named after our favorite, peaty whisky soaked island in Scotland) was along for the ride. Living in our 200 square foot trailer with us and Colonel Bubba the cat. She is growing and learning and playing with every new mile.

She has slowly become the perfect dog for which we could’ve ever asked… you’ll see later.

2. Finding the right dog for you is nearly just as good as finding the right person.

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We finally hit the mountains in record (slow) time. I’m not used to pulling a 6,000 lb. trailer and having to go 60mph. But we made it to Great Sand Dunes National Park regardless. Our first National Park of the 2-3 year 59 Park tour! We’ve been to GSDNP many times, so it felt like an old familiar friend welcoming us to this new way of life.

3. Old familiar friends are always a welcomed sight for the weary traveler.

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Our first new Park, and 2nd overall was Mesa Verde. And so far, it has been the biggest shocker. We expected nothing from this relatively small National Park, and it really surprised us with its beauty and mystery.

4. No amount of familiarity can ever take the place of a new experience.

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We didn’t have long to stay though. It was on to National Parks 3 and 4, Canyonlands and Arches in Utah.

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These two Parks are pretty spectacular, and basically right across the highway from each other. Pretty awe-inspiring and convenient.

5. Inspiration rarely knows convenience. But when it does…. oh boy, hold on.

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We started to get our “hiking legs” under us on this portion of the trip. I’m really glad we did too, because by the end of the summer we would’ve logged more than 300 trail miles from Texas all the way to Montana’s border with Canada.

The heat of canyon country sped the whole process along. 3-4 mile days quickly became 8-12 mile days as we worked our way up to the cooler mountain temps. All the while, we were dropping unnecessary pounds.

6. Hiking every day is the best way to stay in the best shape of your life. No pricey gym membership needed.

ARS_CNP_20160613_1740

When we finally arrived at our “home away from home”, the Wind River Range welcomed us with open arms. Pinedale is the town in which I lived in 2005, and the place got in my blood. I’ve visited at least once or twice every year since I moved back to Texas, some years making the 20+ hour drive 4 times.

It would now be our home base for the Summer and Fall. I had workshops slated to happen in the surrounding areas, and we both really wanted to get out deep into the Winds, so it was the perfect “base camp”.

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Soda Lake was our first “off the grid” experience. If you’re unfamiliar with what that means, it’s basically just car camping, but with four walls, a bed, a toilet, a refrigerator, and a limited supply of running water. Not too shabby really.

Ellen and I have been primitive camping all of our lives, so this was an absolute luxury.

And to look out our window and see a scene that I frequently had to travel very long distances to see… well, that proved to be priceless.

7. A spectacular view each morning has an uncanny ability to lift the spirits.

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Hanging around Soda the first week was a great reintroduction to the mountain life. Every morning I would get up before dawn to watch the sun rise over the Winds. Every evening, we would enjoy our “dinner with a view”, play a game of dominoes or cards outside, and then I would go chase the sun’s last rays. Life slowed down to the basics.

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During the day, our hikes grew longer and more challenging, taking us deeper into the Winds.

We headed out to one of our favorite places in the world, the Upper Green River Valley. The area is unique as it is the confluence of two ranges within the Rockies, the Gros Ventre and the Winds. grizzlies, wolves, elk, moose, eagles, antelope, and so much more call this dramatic landscape home. And we did too.

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We had the time to explore new trails and scenery.

Islay was becoming quite the mountain dog, learning to cross dangerously swift rivers and creeks, negotiating boulders, swimming in high, clear mountain lakes with her crazy parents.

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8. Nothing can prepare you for both the terror and delight of the breath takingly cold experience of submerging yourself in a mountain lake. 

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I spent my mornings scouring the area for wildlife. And I had some luck.

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From the Green River Lakes trailhead, we found many of our favorite hikes. And our favorite trail snack.

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9. When in season, cherries pack the best punch of flavor and immediate energy on the trail.

We learned quickly how long our water (fresh, grey, and black) tanks and batteries could last… 4-5 days. There’s also no cell reception for 40 miles at our spot in the Upper Green. So it was time to “plug in” and reconnect with the world. We had reached our limits.

We found a little no-frills RV park near Pinedale that was part of a network we could join. For $150 a year, we joined the club, named this as our “home park” and could now stay for free, as much as we like, for the rest of the year. No electric, water, sewer bills… just free “on the grid” camping any time we needed it. All the other hundreds of RV parks across the US and Canada in this network are just $10-15 per night for us too. Best $150 we’ve spent so far.

So we plugged in and found new roads and trails to explore in the southern reaches of the Winds.

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Since we could now stay plugged in for free, we knew it was a good time to do an extended backpacking trip into the Winds. 4 nights, 5 days of carrying everything needed on your back, sleeping underneath a blanket of stars, and being a part of the landscape.

So we left Gertie (the trailer) plugged in at our new “home park”, put a ton of cat food out for Colonel Bubba, and hit the trail, just in time to celebrate Independence Day. Fitting, I thought.

10. There is no better (or often more painful) way to see and experience the beauty and majesty of wilderness than on foot.

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We hit Elkhart Park early and headed straight in for Seneca Lake, smack dab in the middle of the Winds. I’ve been wanting to do this trip for a decade… the infamous Titcomb Basin.

It was a moderate 8-9 miles in to Seneca the first day. Islay did amazingly well. This was her first backpacking trip, and though she’s too young to carry anything yet, she ran at least 2-3 miles for every one we did. She got to be off-leash the whole time, and she never strayed too far or got into too much trouble, and she got to sleep with us in the tent. Now this was a pretty big deal considering she’s slept in her crate every night of her life up to that point.

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We made it to Seneca and set up camp. It was a beautiful spot.

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But we did realize one important thing from that first day of hiking… our backpacks and shoes were way out-dated. It was going to be a painful trip.

11. The right gear is essential to a comfortable mountain backpacking experience.

I’ve known this truth deep down all my life, but I’d never done multiple extended trips so close together to really understand how important the right gear can be. We’ve also just never had the extra cash to throw at the problem. There’s always something else more pressing or important, and I don’t know if you’ve been in an REI lately, but outdoor gear is expensive!

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No amount of pain at this point though was going to stop us or dampen our spirits.

12. Pain is mostly mental.

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The Titcomb Basin has been called one of the most beautiful and striking places in the world. I couldn’t disagree at all. We did’t get the best weather for photography, but it was spectacular none-the-less.

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Our bond grew incredibly deep on this adventure with Islay. She would wake early with me and “assist” me as I shot sunrise. During the day, she would explore right beside us.

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It was perhaps here, in the Titcomb Basin, that Islay Blue became a real part of our family.

I’ve never been “that dog person”. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved dogs, but I never treated them like a member of the family. Well… here I am… one of “them”. Islay has become an indispensable part of our family. And all it took was a few thousand miles sitting on the center console of the truck, her quirky personality, hilarious morning antics, a few near-death experiences, and a wilderness excursion for the ages.

Ask Ellen, I’ve become a total softy when it comes to that dog. She freaking gets away with murder when she’s with me.

13. Dog people have it all figured out. :)

… to be continued…

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— Andrew


Ellen and I have hit the road full-time! 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 and further on this great adventure. Enrich yourself and others… and feel great about it too as you’re helping to ensure our wild lands are cherished and to keep the wild spirit of the American Dream alive. Our goal is to visit all 59 National Parks in 2-4 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:
 
TELLURIDE // LANDSCAPE + MOUNTAIN LIGHT // 2016 – SOLD OUT
TELLURIDE // LANDSCAPE + MOUNTAIN LIGHT (Trip 2) // 2016 – ONLY 2 SPOTS AVAILABLE
LOCAL + PRIVATE WORKSHOP // 2016 – AFFORDABLE RATES FOR ME TO COME TO YOU
BIG BEND // LANDSCAPE + NIGHT SKY // 2017 – MOST POPULAR! 6 SPOTS AVAILABLE
LEARN PHOTO + CAMERA BASICS // DALLAS // 2016 – 20 SPOTS!
 
I’m excited to announce my “The Photographic Guide to Our National Parks” series of eBooks:
 
See what’s NEW + download your free Rocky Mountain National Park sample when it releases!
 
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 R. Slaton | photographer // prints
 
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
Image Brief // 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 2016
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photography, travel

Adjusting To The Tiny Lifestyle

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Over the course of the last year, we have paired down everything we own to a small storage unit and whatever we can fit in our 200 sq. ft. travel trailer. It was a difficult process. But a very freeing, therapeutic one as well.

I will admit, the first cull didn’t get rid of nearly enough. It wasn’t until we actually got the trailer and our lease was ending in a months time that the real work began. Garage sale after good will run after craigslist after giving stuff away to family and friends, and here we are.

We’ve been full-time nomads for only a week now, so check back in a few months and I’m sure my sentiments will contain more marrow, but so far, we love this new tiny lifestyle.

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Now, let me be clear, I think the term “tiny” is simply a trend. And actually quite inaccurate. Because once you downsize all of the clutter and the “stuff”, your life becomes anything but small. I feel like we’ve super-sized our lives. Our backyard has expanded to as far as we can drive, we are outside hiking every day, seeing landscapes most of us have reserved only for the bucket list. It is not a problem free lifestyle, but it is definitely the lifestyle for us.

Even if you can’t pack it all in and hit the road for good, its a great exercise to simply go through a closet at a time, hold your stuff in your hand and ask yourself whether this thing brings you joy, fulfillment, or if you have looked at it or used it in the last year. If your answer is “no” to 2 out of 3 of those questions, then sell it, donate it, or throw it away. Cherish the memory you have attached to it, honor it, and then let it go. A friend of mine read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo recently and relayed this concept. It is so simple, and yet so freeing when put in to practice.

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Letting go is one of the most natural, yet difficult truths of life for us humans. We have to let our loved ones go whether we deal with it properly or not. It is unavoidable. Maybe thats why some of us (I’m a true packrat at heart) have such a hard time letting things go. We feel like we have a little bit more control over those memories if we can just hold on.

Another realization I’ve had just in the first week; I am going to have to work much harder to maintain the relationships I hold dear. I have begun to make a list of friends and family that I deeply desire with whom to uphold regular contact. I’m not a phone person, so this will not be easy. But contrary to popular belief, we did not choose this lifestyle because it is easy. We chose it because it is hard, and it’s dirty, and it is soul-nourishment rewarding to us.

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So here we are… location independent Americans, learning to live with less, but living for much more. Promising not to become the “old hermits” of the woods, but in fact to be more bold and intentional in our relationships. Cheers to all the miles, adventure, sunsets, sunrises, and friends we hope to meet along the way.

— andrew


Ellen and I have hit the road full-time! Help support our journey by checking out my workshops and my prints, made #ontheroad in my mobile print studio. The revenue will help propel us further and further on this great adventure. Enrich yourself and others… and feel great about it too as you’re helping to ensure our wild lands are cherished and to keep the wild spirit of the American Dream alive. We will be visiting all 59 National Parks over the course of the next 2-4 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:
 
TELLURIDE // LANDSCAPE + MOUNTAIN LIGHT // 2016 – SOLD OUT
GRAND TETON // LANDSCAPE + WILDLIFE + NIGHT SKY // 2016 – 8 SPOTS AVAILABLE
LOCAL + PRIVATE WORKSHOP// 2016 – AFFORDABLE RATES FOR ME TO COME TO YOU
BIG BEND // LANDSCAPE + NIGHT SKY // 2017 – MOST POPULAR! 8 SPOTS AVAILABLE
 
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
Image Brief // Andrew R. Slaton
 
If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:
 
Andrew R. Slaton | photographer // prints
 
For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com
 
Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!
 
all images and content © ARS Media, LLC 2016
 
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aerial, photography

white rock | aerials + lifestyle

White Rock Lake in Dallas is a very fun, active area, so it’s no wonder there is a good bit of development happening in and around the nearby neighborhoods.

The private and public sectors have invested massive amounts of money, and the result is a beautiful, hip, fun, and affordable location.

I’ve been getting more and more calls for aerials and lifestyle shots of the area… and luckily, it’s right in our backyard!  Love these jobs!!

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If you are interested in learning more about photography, taking your art to a new level please check out my new workshop dates:

Big Bend Photographic Tour/ Workshops 2013-2014

More Destination Photo Tours/ Workshops 2013-2014

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

If you are interested in purchasing prints from this post, please check my prints for sale, or email me directly for a custom request:

andrew r. slaton // photographer // prints

For assignment work requests, please email me: andrew@andrewslatonphoto.com

Thanks for visiting AndrewSlatonBlog.com!

all images and content © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2013

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