I took this photo: Pueblos Cowboy and His Horse

horse and riders moving cows out of the Pueblo Mountains
A small boy on a big horse moving cows in the Pueblo Mountains

Three riders moved slowly across the landscape, deliberately but unhurriedly they paralleled my path in the opposite direction. I watched the horses with some envy as I continued on foot.

It was July in the Pueblo Mountains. It was hot. I had been walking since dawn; it was midday now. I was out of water, out of food, and out of patience with the shadeless glare of sun-soaked sagebrush.

From a long way off I could see the horse. Even from a distance, I could tell it was a big horse. The rider was just a red dot. Eventually, the red dot became a person, a boy. He rode a few loops, lazy figure eights. He backed up the horse, made it stand and side step. Then he just sat and watched me approach.

“Where’s your horse?” the boy asked with unaffected curiosity and genuine concern.

“I don’t have one.”

“How far did you walk?”

“I don’t know. Several miles. I started at sunrise.”

“That’s a long time without a horse.”

“Yes.” We stood a minute, he on his horse, me looking at the ground. Then, diverting him from my obvious failing, “That’s a big horse.”

“I know. 17 hands. My dad told me I had to grow enough to get on him by myself before I could ride him. I’m only 7. I can’t grow that fast.”

“But you’re riding him.”

“Yup. I told my dad he better build me a ladder.”

“Did he?”

“Yup.”

“I saw three riders earlier. Was your dad one of them?”

“Yup. And my mom and sister. They said I wasn’t big enough to muster so I had to sit here and wait for them to push the cows to me. Then I can circle and ride them down the hill. We’re moving them to water.”

“You’re not big enough to muster but you’re big enough to sit this giant horse out here by yourself for however many hours it takes for them to come back?”

“I know. That’s what I said. But I lost that argument. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have anything to do.”

“You need a book.”

“I know.”

I had miles yet to cover and parted company. He sat his horse and watched me walk on.

Later in the afternoon, I watched from a slope above as the cows came, moving ahead of the three riders. The boy rode to meet them, swinging far to one side of the cows and then falling in with the other riders. He waved as he passed below me. And I took this photo of him, his mom and sister, the dust, and the cows, a scene of the west.

 

 

Rhinoceros resort, restore, restart

Extirpated from the wild in most of Africa,  I had the good fortune to see black rhinoceroses on a private preserve in Zimbabwe last year.

Finding them after dark, a spotlight illuminated a calf scampering about behind its placidly eating mother. Her horns were cut off to deter poaching and the animals are under 24-hour armed guard.

The black rhino population dropped from an estimate of several hundred thousand in the early 1900s to 2,410 by the late 1990s. The primary cause for this decline is poaching. Several subspecies are extinct.

These photos are fuzzy and full of nighttime darkness and shadows. At first, I was disappointed by them. A year later, they seem to appropriately suit their state in the world.

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Wary of the light and strangers, a rhino calf hides behind its mother.
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The mama rhino has been dehorned as a measure of protection against poaching. Her dehorned shadow is visible on her calf’s side as it moves behind her.
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Rhino back, fade to black. What will the world be without rhinos?

Hart Mountain – spring delights

For too many years Hart Mountain was out of my line of travel and added just enough extra time and miles to the trip at hand that I by-passed it. This spring I made the effort to go there, just there, and was well rewarded. It is a long slog from anywhere, the roads can be quagmires, the dust invasive, the heat crushing, and the mosquitoes draining. May it always remain this way.

 

butterfly flower
Swallowtail and balsamroot
sagebrush, thunderheads
Sky drama
raptor harrier
Looked down upon by a northern harrier
Subtle layers of color and texture
hills valleys
Sagebrush landscape
glowing yellow flowers bumblebee
Bumblebee with balsamroot

The commercial strip v. the National Monuments – a request for stay of execution

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah
On the executioner’s block: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

 

It is already true that one can be dropped on any commercial strip in the USA and have no idea where they are. Each is so much the same, so not unique, that Chattanooga and Bakersfield look much the same. We have eradicated the prairies, slaughtered the forests, and filled the wetlands, must we also quash the individuality of the national monuments and make them conform to the ideals of capitalism, consumerism, and corporate expansion? What of calm, contentment, and courage to step outside of the box, to appreciate the subtle realm of time, space, and light that is not under our control? Where will we go for peace when we have used up all that is wild?

You have seen my photos over the last year. Many of those photos were taken in national monuments (including the two on this page). If you enjoyed my meager attempts at conveying the intensity of these landscapes, you will enjoy this (free ebook) photographic journey through the national monuments by exquisite landscape photographers

http://landalmostlost.com/

And, I hope you will send comments in support of retaining the national monuments.

 https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DOI-2017-0002-0001

Stay the executions.

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

 

Mid-Summer’s morning among the Painted Hills

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At the edge of the Painted Hills, Red Hill sits among spring grasses.

Spring reflections on Emigrant Lake

Spring arrived on Emigrant Lake recently. The lake is calm and beautiful and rowers are again plying its waters. Larkspurs and biscuitroot are blooming. The oaks are pushing leaves. The Siskiyous create a misty, almost-mythical backdrop.

Ashland, Oregon, spring
Morning row on Emigrant Lake.
Siskiyou Mountains, spring, clouds
Reflections on Emigrant Lake.
Siskiyou Mountains, Ashland, Oregon
Inundated island of oaks in Emigrant Lake.
Emigrant Lake, Siskiyou Mountains, Ashland, Oregon
Yellow-rumped warbler in spring oaks.
yellow-rumped warbler, Siskiyou Mountains, Ashland, Oregon
Topsy-turvy. Can’t.quite.reach.

Portfolios – The Road not Taken Enough

You may have noticed that I recently added several portfolios to my blog (or not, since I didn’t tell anyone…). The links hang out in the left-side menu. Most of the photos I posted on this blog found their way into at least one of the portfolios.

I hope you’ll take another trip through them.

I also set up an Etsy page to sell handmade cards and prints. The cards are 5″ x 7″ (12.7 x 17.8 cm), come with a matching envelope, are blank inside, and have a signed 4″ x 6″ (10.2 x 15.3cm) photo mounted on the front. The 80# cardstock is white. The photo title and location are handwritten on the back of each card. They come in a clear cellulose (biodegradable, non-cellophane) sleeve. They are made to order and can ship anywhere.

Photos included in this post and the Sale Portfolio are hyperlinked to the appropriate Etsy page.

Any other photo from The Road not Taken Enough portfolios may be special-ordered as a card or a paper/metal print. I am currently only able to accept orders through Etsy. Please contact me there for sizes and prices.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/RoadNotTakenEnough

The Road not Taken Enough leads to some amazing places. I hope you are enjoying the ride.

Colorado, Dinosaur National Monument
A spring snowstorm leaves a mature cottonwood gallery with a delicate coating.
Colorado, Dinosaur National Monument
A mature cottonwood gallery is dwarfed by the western Colorado landscape.
Succor Creek Natural Area, Oregon, eastern Oregon
Feeding on sego lilies, a bee collects and spreads pollen among other flowers.
Oregon, central Oregon, John Day Fossil Beds, National Monument
The last spot of winter sun illuminates Sutton Mountain as seen from across the red, green, and ochre Painted Hills.
Steens Mountain, Oregon, BLM, eastern Oregon, French Glen
Intense paintbrush colors stand in stark contrast to the sage and gray of surrounding shrubs.
Mt. Baker, Mount Baker, Washington
Fern fronds unfurl in the surreal green of a Pacific Northwest spring.
Oregon, Abert Rim, Lakeview, Summer Lake, Lake County
A windless day creates a mirror image of summer clouds in a desert alkali playa, Abert Lake, in central Oregon.
Oregon, Wallowa Mountains, Joseph
Full of snowmelt and spring rain, the Imnaha River squeezes through Blue Hole.
Utah, Moab, BLM
A pastel sky above and golden buttes below, the 2016 super moon sets over Utah.
Colorado, Oenothera
Pure white petals glow in the morning light before fading for the day.
Bottineau, North Dakota, Pelican Lake
Evening reflections of summer reeds create semi- and full circles in the still evening light.
Montana
A blue visits locoweed.
Terrebonne, Smith Rock, central Oregon, rock climbing
A hot air balloon unsuccessfully attempts to blend in with Smith Rock.
North Dakota, Bottineau, Pelican Lake
Summer sun glints off of a dragonfly’s wings as it alights on the tip of a reed.
Oregon, Union, La Grande, eastern Oregon
Clouds, a dusting of snow and the subtle colors of sagebrush desert create a winter landscape.
Utah, fall, fall color, redrock
Fall foliage adds color to red rock country.
Royal National Park, New South Wales
White and mauve rock and black charred branches stand in stark color contrast to the deep blue of the Southern Ocean
Zimbabwe, Africa
Dik dik
Zimbabwe, Africa
Stripes and swishes.
Zimbabwe, Africa
Through the shadows and vegetation, Victoria Falls’ mist creates a rainbow.
Chobe River, Botswana, Africa
An African elephant cow and her calf make their way to water along the Chobe River.
Chobe River, Botswana, Africa
Enjoying a sunny afternoon nap.
Magkadigkadi Salt Pans, Botswana, Africa
A Cape crow enjoys first light across the Magkadigkadi salt pans.
Moremi National Park, Botswana, Africa
Winter plain.
Moremi National Park, Botswana, Africa
I knows you loves me, Baby.
Moremi National Park, Botswana, Africa
Zebra belly. Nap face.
Moremi National Park, Botswana, Africa
Morning light makes a lioness glow as she poses for her portrait.
Africa, Moremi National Park, Botswana
Ruminating over dinner, an old Cape buffalo bull peers through the sage.
Leopard, Africa, Botswana, Moremi National Park
If cats had emotions similar to humans, this would be disdain.
leopard, Botswana, Africa
The key to maintaining superiority is proper grooming.
Moremi National Park, Botswana, Africa
Grasses can’t hide the intensity of a leopard’s gaze.
Africa, elephant, family
Single file, the young between the older cows, elephants walk to their nighttime hang out.
lioness, Africa, Moremi National Park, Botswana
A lioness pauses from drinking at the water hole after a zebra dinner.
African elephant, calf, Africa
Shielding her calf, an elephant in Moremi National Park, Botswana, veers away from the lioness drinking at the waterhole.
African elephant, Africa
Giant grasses or small elephant?
trees, hanging on, undercut, undermined
Hanging on by its toenails, a tree bridges the gap of sand washed out by Pacific storms.

Christmas Valley Sand Dunes

Once again, Central Oregon does not disappoint.

There is a lifetime of exploration here.

Oregon, dunes
Rippling sand.
sand dunes, desert
Trees past.
moon rise, reflections, water
Dusk calm.

Winter daydreams of light and texture

 

winter daydreams of light in sagebrush country
The Great Basin, Nevada

The Painted Hills in winter, an unfinished canvas

At first glance, covering the brilliant colors of the Painted Hills with snow seems an affront. Slowly, though, you realize the colors are more vivid and the landscape patterns surreal; it is a study in negative space. The intensity of the snow and depth of the shadows create an otherworldly effect that makes this fabulous place more so.

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