Light is meaningful only in relation to darkness, and truth presupposes error. It is these mingled opposites which people our life, which make it pungent, intoxicating. We only exist in terms of this conflict, in the zone where black and white clash.
Looking at this image makes me think that there really isn’t much hope for humanity. The simplest concept that the earth could go on without us but that we can’t survive without its natural resources seems to elude a large percentage of the population.
Perhaps those are the same ones that love to dwell in conflict. Where everything is never enough and the concept of accountability is just a word that’s too long to pronounce. The conflict becomes too intoxicating to put down and common sense falls by the wayside.
But I digress…
I”ll likely not be around in 50 years but those tires sure will be.
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
Some people can go all of their lives and never see a glimpse of these top of the apex predators.
This year I’ve been on a roll, catching my first glimpse from 20 feet away. A chance encounter on foot that fortunately ended well, no cubs to protect or kill to guard. Considering that they’ve been clocked at 30 mph it makes 20 feet feel like a hop, skip, and a jump away.
When we first saw this most perfect of natural track traps laden with grizzly prints set by a layer of frost covering the wet mud, I almost had to remind myself to breathe.
Tracks are rapidly becoming something that I find great joy in photographing. I think in part it’s the transient nature and the luck involved with encountering them at just the right moment. Capturing them, these intimate landscapes, provides a permanent record that places like this still exist.
They tell a story as you follow them ever mindful that the beast that created them has been there and still might be. Interspersed amidst the grizzly tracks were tracks from black bear, mountain lion, elk, and later on, those of my Staffords.
But soon the wind will blow and the snow will fall, erasing the signs that in the wilderness the wild is never far away.
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Years ago while involved in Search and Rescue I was introduced to tracking by a man named Jim Marshall. He cultivated in me an appreciation for awareness and personal space and the second nature to be always looking for indicators.
Today, one of my greatest joys is to find signs of animals passing through the wilderness and letting my imagination run wild with the back stories.
The discovery pictured above, along with a huge pile of hair laden scat, was heart rate elevating!
I searched for the perfect track to photograph and my mind raced with thoughts.
As a former bloodhound handler and instructor of scent theory, I’m well versed in the abilities of certain animals because of physiological makeup to be scenting machines.
Here I was in close proximity to one of the animals at the apex of this description…the grizzly bear. An animal purported to be able to scent 300 times more than a bloodhound.
This is the beauty of photography. Each time I look at this photograph I will remember the cold, the heightened awareness, the silence, and the joy that we felt when we saw it.
I had hoped to see elusive bear number TEN of the year but I’m okay with it not being this particular bear.
If it weren’t for the rocks in its bed, the stream would have no song.
I think it’s possible to see too much beauty in one day.
I remember studying geology in school and being fascinated by all of the terminology describing the structure of earth and its formation.
This beautiful area of carved rocks and turquoise colored glacial water couldn’t be seen from the road but lay just down a steep path that began a short distance from an otherwise bland roadside pull-off.
I could have spent days here studying and photographing the rock formations but with my propensity for attracting bears it didn’t seem like the best idea to camp here even if it had been permissible.
Learned a new term on this stretch of our travels…rock flour. Finely ground sediment created by the grinding of bedrock by glacier erosion.
This leg of the trip was a great reminder that new paths are carved slowly over time.
Some obstacles are washed away in an instant while others are carved away one layer at a time.
Although the scars that are left behind never completely fade, they do soften and create a new beauty built by strength and endurance.