Over the past 8 days, I have taken over 900 pictures and hiked over 87 miles in 5 National Parks, most of that distance with a fully loaded overnight backpack. I visited Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park (both in Utah), Saguaro National Park (Arizona), and Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Big Bend National Park (both in Texas). I saw wildlife, wildflowers, plenty of rocks and cactus, and ate a lot of ramen, LARABARS, and chocolate. As usual, I have grandiose plans for recording my experiences, sharing some of my best pictures, and writing about the flora, fauna, history, and character of each park. We'll see.
Pausing for photography slows my normal hiking pace a bit, but I find it to be a worthwhile endeavor. I have noticed my capacity and appreciation for beauty and detail, and beauty in detail, has been increasing over the last few years. Of course, I still have a long way to go. A very long way.
On the logistical side, I'm still getting used to carrying a larger camera around my neck. I haven't quite mastered hiking without it banging around all over my chest, which is uncomfortable and embarrassing. Unlike the National Senior RV Squad, I have no handily protruding stomach to rest said camera on. So I have no choice but to simply let it bounce where it will and try and keep my stride as even as possible.
This southwest fling has been a dream/personal goal of mine for some time, and I was thrilled to finally be able to do it. I am grateful to all of you for your support and prayer cover. It reaches farther than you know. Thank you.