This is Bridal Veil Falls near Salt Lake City. To get here it’s just a short drive from the city into the bordering mountains. In a previous post I mentioned that it’s a routine for us to go for a drive on Sunday. As we were in Utah we decided to take the Alpine Loop, which is a scenic drive that winds through the mountains. The road traverses mountains with switchbacks that are open only during the warmer months. There are spectacular views all over and we found ourselves stopping nearly every mile to see one sight after another.
I’m related to some of the original settlers of the area and I couldn’t help but think that they had a much harder time of it. For us it was a Sunday drive through the mountain passes on a paved road; for the settlers in covered wagons it was another thing entirely. It’s little wonder they decided to stop after making it through the mountains; I would have done the same. I have no idea which route the settlers took, but back then there were no highways so it was no Sunday drive.
To get a sense of scale of this waterfall you can see a couple of people at the very bottom of the image. The falls are over six hundred feet high and were once serviced by a gondola and a restaurant at the top. That’s gone now but the falls remain and you can take a short hike to the base or just look from a parking lot next to the highway.
Anyway, the Alpine Loop is a spectacular drive and the parks within it are open to hiking, camping and fishing. And not too far from this spot is where the Sundance Film Festival takes place each year. All in all the Alpine Loop is a must see if you’re in the area.
I have a Sunday drive routine. Each Sunday we go for a drive along the water. As long as we’ve lived in Florida that’s what we’ve done. Basically my wife and I like to soak up the sights, sounds and the smells of the ocean. I took this on a recent drive when I hopped out and took a few shots while the car was running. This time of year it’s necessary to leave the car running because of heat and humidity. My wife sits patiently in the car with our dog on her lap while I take a few pictures. It’s a familiar routine.
Habits are a close cousin to routines and I’m also a creature of habit. If I don’t put my keys in the key bowl I would lose them. Routines are things we do consciously; habits we do without thinking about them. On Sunday when I pick up the keys from the bowl my dog gets excited because he knows we’re going somewhere. For him it seems like so much more than a routine; though what, I’m not sure. I’m also in a habit of taking my camera almost everywhere. Unless I’m doing errands, I normally have it and it just becomes part of the fabric of life. Like having a cell phone, it’s normal and we don’t think about it.
Routines are repeating patterns of activity that give us a sense of normality. With them we mark time and maybe even location. Without routines everything would be different from one day to the next, nothing to hold on to. I am happy to have my routines because with them come Sunday drives and pictures by the water; and that’s something I can hang my hat on.
At the time I took this shot I was way outside of my comfort zone. This is a shot I took just before landing on a mountaintop in sub-zero temperatures while in New Zealand. In this case the scale is difficult to convey because there is nothing to use for reference. However the copter landed on the icy plateau on the upper left and it would look like a small toy if we could see it here.
I remember this stop in particular because I walked a little ways down that slope on the left. It was nothing but ice and the incline increased with each step as it dropped into the abyss. I realized that just in time and froze in my tracks then took several steps backward until my footing was sure and the panic subsided.
We landed in spots that were pretty much inaccessible save for experienced climbers. As it turns out our pilot was a mountain climber and used his knowledge of the area to choose our landings. In fact, he had been up in the area on foot a short while before. Some of the peaks seemed to me nearly impossible to reach and I was always looking for a route down should we get stranded. In places like this I’m not sure what options there would have been.
Despite the extreme landings I was so occupied with capturing landscape images that I had no time to be afraid. It’s only on reflection from the comfort of my home that thoughts of potential danger return. Certainly I had the same thoughts on that day as well, but they were crowded out by the task at hand and the rare opportunity to capture these images. In reality the pilot was super competent and never put us in any real danger. Lucky for me he was well within his own comfort zone.