Touchstones

Sometimes I just want things to be static and unchanging. During this crazy time of wearing masks, waiting in line to enter the grocery store and being more anti-social than usual, I find it comforting to get out into nature and visit the unchanging landscapes. Well, I should state that the landscapes are always changing, but in small, natural ways.

Frog pond

 

I went out this week and hiked the Odyssey trail (my own name for it since it doesn’t have an official name).  I was expecting small changes.  I was curious how the Champion stamp mill ruins survived another winter.  Big change. The huge jaw crusher had fallen through the wooden supports holding it up. It was not unexpected.  It was just a matter of when.

The pulley of the jaw crusher is still partially visible in the center after falling through the supporting deck.

 

View from Winter 2009

Then another change: someone with too much time on their hands moved the old school bus from where it had sat for decades near a mining camp, to a quarter mile away. I can’t fathom why this was done.  The new site is not very interesting.  Well I suppose it’s better than being pushed into the creek which was a lot closer.

The old school bus in its new location (actually it says Colorado State Forest Service on the side, so not school)

The next change was the aqueduct is no longer an aqueduct.

A pipeline has replaced the aqueduct.

The most disappointing change was a fir tree which was hundreds of years old succumbed to the winds of winter.  It was the oldest fir tree that I have seen in the wild.

This old fir tree was hundreds of years old. The diameter where the tree broke was 3.5 feet. It’s nearly 6 feet in diameter near the ground.

By the end of the hike I was feeling pretty unsettled with how much things had changed in a year. So much for those unchanging familiar landscapes.

It seemed like a longer than usual winter.  So much snow. So much work. So much bullshit. I had looked forward to camping in the Utah deserts, in the silence, the solitude, in the warmth. But a world pandemic got in the way of it, with lockdowns and a piling on of the work schedule. I’m grateful to be able to earn a living, many are not so lucky.  The pandemic will likely affect business eventually since what I do is connected to disposable income.  I imagine that some customers will no longer have disposable income.

Mourning cloak butterfly on an aspen trunk

I’m hoping to update more often, but who knows. I’m trying to get my photographic “work flow” established on the Linux desktop since I no longer use Windows.  I’ll be more likely to update if it’s easy to do so, and developing the photos has been a block in the recent past. I estimate I’ve taken somewhere around 40,000 photos in the last 20 years.  For Linux, I seem to be settling on Rapid Photo Downloader to get the photos into folders and RawTherapee to process the raw images.

Lichen on rust

 

Vibrant Colors

While the aspen trees weren’t as spectacular as in previous years (especially in the highest elevations), this fall is not without it’s colors.  I took these photos on a misty morning in Forsythe Canyon.

I have a number of miscellaneous things to update, but first another photo.

I didn’t place this leaf on the fern; the leaf just happened to land on it.

 

I have no regrets leaving Facebook after the 2016 election, during which my Facebook experience was pretty horrible.  In the intervening time, it’s come to light all the unsavory things that Facebook did during that time. Social media has become a pox on our culture with too many people yelling into echo chambers.  It seems that partisan internet debate culture has moved on to the roads, where the guy blocking your path is just another person from the opposite political party. In other words, I seem to be encountering more bullies on the road.

On the medical front, some recent imaging determined that I have permanent damage in my heart muscle.  I’m feeling ok, and have been getting out hiking and biking as much as possible. I haven’t made it to a top of a mountain yet, but I’ve come close.

Likely pollution floating on the aptly named Gross Reservoir.

I’ve been creating some songs in the studio with my friend Kevin.  I am more of a producer than a musician (not that they are mutually exclusive).  I’ll come up with a drum track and he will invent a bass line to go with it. Then we’ll go back and record some guitar tracks on top of that.  After that session, I will usually spend some with the tracks editing (sometimes pretty heavily, even to the point of changing some notes), adding keyboards, and mixing.  The result so far is we have about 10 songs in various stages of completion. But I consider these to be just demos.  The structure is there and they are ready for addition instruments and/or vocals if desired.  Then if we like the end product, we will probably re-record the song to make it really tight.  Kevin is a good musician and I’ve been pretty surprised with what we’ve done so far and how quickly he can come up with riffs.  He can do it in an instant while it takes me days.

So many different colors, from the blue spruce, to the moss, orange lichen on the cliff and the leaves.

Is it just me, or is the signal to noise ratio on my phone getting worse.  It seems like for every real phone call I receive, I will get 50 calls from spammers, robo scammers, and from some lady who can’t seem to get her headset adjusted.  At least I haven’t heard from the “IRS” in a while.