White Mountain National Forest, New Hampshire

"holy shit, i can't believe this is where we grew up."  

as we roar north on highway ninety three night leaves us in my rearview mirror. the white mountains in the distance, a range so big it seems to stay the same size even as we get closer. what seemed like an all day trip as a kid in the back of my mom's mini-van turns out to be only an hours drive from my childhood home. 

the last time i was in these mountains was nine years ago for a high school field trip, i was a senior and there was one week left of class. the only thing on my mind was getting out of this podunk place, now i'm trying to jam as much into one morning as i can because i don't want to leave. 

it's cold up here. the last days of april and there is still snow on the side of the road and the mountain tops, the rivers and lakes are frigid. the freezing temperatures that we hated growing up actually turned out to be what shaped our character; tough, independent.

footloose, always on the go chasing that feeling of freedom, seeking to be anywhere but where we are. it's the reason we left new hampshire in the first place, the reason we moved to philadelphia, the reason we rode our bikes across the country, the reason we moved to austin and the reason we are constantly on the go. i'm glad i left, i believe getting away from the familiarity of your childhood is important, but making it back up north a little older, and maybe a little wiser, a feeling of gratitude washes over me; "this is where i grew up". 

"All the past we leave behind,

We debouch upon a newer mightier world, varied world,

Fresh and strong the world we seize, world of labor and the march,

Pioneers! O pioneers!"  Walt Whitman 1865




Field Trip - Texas Wildflowers

"we only take pictures of the things we are afraid to lose." i read this a while back on somebody's instagram and really identified with it. up until that point i could never really define why i took the photographs i did, i probably would have classified myself as a "landscape photographer". and while it's true that i do take some landscape pictures, i take them because of what i'm feeling that moment, standing there with my wife seeing something new for the first time. 

kneeling down in a field of flowers trying to take some pictures for this post taylor asked me "what's wrong", i answered "i don't like any of these pictures, but i'm not really sure what i'm hoping for." here i was taking a technically great photo in the early morning sunlight and it just didn't feel right to me, it was no fun, there was no emotion involved. it wasn't until we climbed up a hay bale that i really started snapping away.

there are times i'll go somewhere without taylor, camera in tow, and not take a single picture. not necessarily because i'm having a bad time, but because my heart is just not there. and if i don't want to take pictures of what i'm looking at why would anyone even want to see them?

all of the photos you see on america y'all were taken because i was feeling something at the exact moment i clicked the shutter, feeling something that i never want to forget. 

Field Trip - Lake Travis Low Water Crossing

in general we are solitary people, prefering to enjoy travels and trips by our lonesome. we've learned that friendships can be messy and frustrating and over time have found it much less stressful to only count on each other. but every once in a while someone comes into your life that you just feel at ease with, from day one ryan ( has been that person to us. a man genuinely interested in the best for those around him, he has a keen sense of adventure, and a way with words i can only someday hope to attain. this past saturday we spent some time exploring the banks of the colorado river directly south of lake travis. climbing trees, feeding birds and drinking brews, i couldn't ask for a better day. and therein lies the beauty of his friendship; it can be light or it can be heavy, but it is always meaningful. 

Big Bend National Park

much like the end of two thousand twelve, the west was once again calling our names as this year came to an end. we had plans of finally visiting some of the national parks in california that we have yet to see, joshua tree, sequoia and kings canyon. but plans change; and what was supposed to be a week long trip got cut down to three days. 

we took this chance to finally start exploring the enormous national park out in west texas, big bend. one of the most remote and largest of all the national parks, big bend was always a little intimidating to us. hearing tales of its immense beauty and sheer size we always felt like we would need more than just a long weekend to fully enjoy the park. but with a thirst to explore something new we decided to make the eight hour drive.

 we have seen deserts, and we have seen mountains, but we have never seen them come together in such a perfect symbiosis. bone dry chihuahuan desert dirt roads with a view of the towering chisos mountains, all tied together with the mighty rio grande; it was awe inspiring and like nothing we had ever seen before. 

camping, early morning hikes, exploring the nearby ghost towns, tarantulas, driving the one hundred plus miles of roads running through the park, watching the sunset over the rio grande and rise again while sitting in a one hundred and five degree hot spring; we made the most of our few days in the park. 

admittedly i was a little disheartened when our original plans fell through, but now i am glad they did. much like the rest of my life, everything turns out for the best if you let it. a few days in big bend was exactly what my soul needed, and a great way to end two thousand and thirteen.