Still Learning To See

Trails and paths

I regularly post photographs on a website that has weekly themes. It occurred to me yesterday that I could also share them here! Of late I’ve just not been adding new images here but have enjoyed digging into my archives (100,000+ images) and hope you’ll enjoy seeing some. The theme of these is “trails and paths.” The image above is of one of my favorite local paths through Hubbard Park, gorgeous any time, any season, any weather.

The Road to Nowhere ends here in the rocky tundra of Nunuvut. For $5 any of the several cabs in the small town of Iqaluit will take you to the Road to Nowhere. Just past this point, you are on your own and, word of warning, there is little to define distance and even less to note a particular location, unless it is an inuskut, a pile of stones vaguely resembling the form of a human. These structures, which can be hundreds of years old, were used by First Nation people as way markers and, sometimes, to trick herds of animals into running over a cliff. The tundra is exquisite: a thousand colors, textures and shapes of rocks, lichens, and plants. One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
Those of you who read this blog regularly know we often go back to the eastern shore of Lake Michigan to visit family, an area where we lived long ago. The sand dunes, piled high by prevailing winds, are a place I love to visit early in the morning, especially to see who has been out in the night. Here is a clear indicator of a snake making its way up the face of a small dune.
And another trail on a dune face, this photographed much closer, probably of an insect, maybe a beetle. The other patterns are of mini-avalanches of sand. The image just popped for me when I put it into B&W.
On a much larger scale is a roadway thought Denali National Park in Alaska and a spectacular view of this amazing mountain, which typically “appears” only one day out of ten or so because of clouds. The fascinating thing about Denali is that it is so much bigger than I ever expected it to be, so big that I was looking for it closer to ground level and was shocked when I had to lift my head, and lift it again, before I recognized what I was looking at—it rises 18,000 feet from the base! Travelling in the park is done via school buses—no cars allowed—so my friend Rob and I got to this point on the road in a big old school bus and then spent a whole day walking toward the mountain through this grassland, one of the most memorable days of my life.
The view from a small plane in northern Botswana held many delights, such as this group of giraffes and their game trails. Although I saw other giraffes much more closely, seeing them in their own isolated world was magical.
One more from Alaska, this time Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, where we walked on the Kennecott Glacier, lead by a guide who knew how to keep us safe. We are clearly insignificant parts of life here, both in size and time, and that was absolutely okay with me, a humbling experience valuable as a guide in life.
One more trails, again in the dunes, but this time in Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park. This park is not on the way to anywhere but being out-of-the-way makes it all the more wonderful to visit because there are fewer of my fellow human beings there! Early in the morning the light can be gorgeous and any human tracks probably disappeared in the night winds, leaving only the mystery of tracks made by an animal and the shapes of the dunes themselves.

I hope you can think about the trails and paths in your lives and maybe take time to walk some today. Here in Central Vermont, we still have about a foot of snow but also one of those amazing March days where the sun is high and bright and the temperature will climb into the 60s. I’ll definitely find a trail or path to walk, probably with my walking and photo pals.

This entry was published on March 18, 2022 at 12:02 pm and is filed under Africa, Alaska, Botswana, Denali, Fall colors, John Snell, John Snell Photographer, Photograph, Vermont, Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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