[Oh, Snap] Celebrating Mother Nature on Earth Day

“However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.”

Mount Tahoma

As the saying goes, ‘The Earth Without ART is just EH’; and mother nature is the most wonderful of artists. I feel blessed by the treasures I’ve discovered, places I’ve uncovered and experiences I’ve been able to share. I hope on this Earth Day, you get to go and enjoy the wonders that this world has to offer. Though many of us spend the entire year in reverie of what Mother Nature has to offer, Earth Day gives us a moment to pause and take stock of the wonder, seductive beauty and technicolor menagerie this planet offers us on the daily. Now living in my third state in less than five years, I’ve had a unique opportunity to roam and road trip through the entire Pacific Coast and Western part of the United States. In honor of Earth Day and National Park Week, I’m excited to share some photos of this beautiful planet we get to call home.

Originally from the south Bay Area, I went to college in Santa Barbara then moved down to Los Angeles for a good decade. Between the memories of music festivals and downtown, West Hollywood and beach days in Santa Monica – there are equally fond memories of getting out into the great wilderness that the area had to offer. From the Southern tip of California to the North, bouncing from the dry desert to the coast, from rugged highways to ridge tops and frequenting parks throughout the Sequoias and Big Sur, San Francisco and the Angeles Crest Highway.

I spent a good part of my 20’s as a music journalist, it was awesome – and involved a lot of traveling. Even while gallivanting from state to state to cover the next festival, we made it a point to stop and smell the roses – no matter how far off the beaten path they were. On the way to Global Dance Festival in Colorado, we were lucky enough to travel through Zion and Bryce Canyons; take the backroads through Colorado and breathe in the fresh air of the Rockies.

And on the way to Shambhala in Canada, we made sure to take the most scenic of the routes and hiked Multnomah Falls in Oregon, and were taken back by the beauty of Osoyoos, the Wine Country of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley.

Moving to Oregon a few years back changed my life for the better, and the slowness in their pace of life now seems more normal where the one I was living in California finally felt frenzied and anxiety induced. Not knowing a soul besides my family, we took trips to different corners of the state almost every weekend -tip toeing around the tidepools, hiking to the top of Cape Perpetua, and making Yachats, and the Oregon Coast, a home away from home. An unexpected perk was how the daily scenery of Corvallis poured on the charm, ushering in a warm Autumn that truly felt and looked more like Spring.

Going on my third year in Washington, I find myself in awe more times than not – the variety of nature, flora and fauna, of daily weather; it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. One day, we’re in a snow storm – the next, sun dances through the flower blossoms and the sweet floral aroma of Spring effuses itself into each moment. With Mount Tahoma, we have the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States – with the Cascades and their waterfalls descending into the East as desert land; meanwhile in Olympic National Park, Washington is home the only rainforest in the greater 48 and we can’t not talk about the most adorable islands I’ve ever visited in the San Juan Islands.

Though I’ve only been out of the United States a handful of times – Costa Rica and Mexico – I feel lucky to have seen much of the western part of our country by car. Admittedly, some times I can get a bit sad when I visit some parks – there’s trash everywhere, and a view that was once magnificent is overrun by the mistakes of man: plastics, forgetfulness, and arrogance. However, I’m grateful for my family andthe conscious festival community for instilling good practices; like ‘leave it better, leave it beautiful’ (thank you, Do LaB) while picking up after yourself and others. To combat the trash pileup, my husband and I invested in some trash pickers and have been taking garbage bags with us while we’re out and about; and let me tell you: it feels good to be good to our planet.

There are hundreds of ways to respect the planet – but it’s a conscious decision that you have to continually make. Choose eating sustainably to benefit the local ecosystem and biodiversity of plant and animal life while ensuring you’re getting the right type of nutrition. In our culture of overconsumption, it’s tantamount we reduce our dependence on single-use plastics; take reusable bags to the store, ask for paper bags (I use mine for cat litter) and I mean, do you really need that straw?

Look for corporations that are making the switch to alternative and renewable power sources like Solar Energy and Wind Turbines over traditional power sources like Nuclear Power and Electric for a more sustainable future. When it comes to transportation, we’re battling the ‘Cult of the American Car’. Sure, we’re a country where people are fervent collectors – especially when it comes to our vehicles, but we are close to having more cars than people – with only 8% of people without access to one. But there are also trains and planes, in addition to automobiles – with public transportation coming in hot as a $74 Billion a year industry. By converting to renewable energy, even just in the United States, would add jobs and help save the environment.

The Earth was not ours to inherit from our parents, it’s ours to give to generations that haven’t even been born yet. It’s a good time to pick up a new practice, even if you’ve been doing your part. So, what are you doing that’s going to preserve the sanctity of nature and life on this planet?

[Traveling Tales] Zion So Nice, We Visited Thrice – And Bits of Colorado and Bryce

On the way back home from Colorado we made an executive decision to not just visit the park at Zion one more time – but to get some double duty in by visiting at dusk and during the day, all the while gallivanting through places Black Dragon Canyon, Red Canyon, Dixie National Park and Bryce Canyon while checking them off of our bucket list.

Before we left for Utah and Red Rocks, we went on a itty bitty adventure to Best Buy where I finally made the perfect purchase of a lifetime: a Canon 6D with a started lens, a 50mm f/1.4 (and yes, I’m in lust!!). I still need to get a wide angle lens to round out the camera package but holy hell, can this thing get those fantastic shots I’ve always wanted! The color, the depth, the timing (and OMG, the lasers at concerts!) – this camera turns every shot into verifiable gold. So, on the last leg of our journey we busted it out and much to our chagrin we captured some of the best nature photos that I’ve ever been part of. From the stars of Zion at night to the beauty of the Checkerboard Mesa during the day, I was swept up in Wanderlust from the second we left California and honestly – was slightly sad to return.

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Colorado was equally extravagant with her lush rivers and winding roads. Driving along the Colorado River was a fantastic addition to an already amazing adventure and seeing the water diverge in the continental divide was beyond trippy.

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Once we got to Utah, we couldn’t help but take advantage of the frequent Rest Stops and turn outs along the way. Starting with Black Dragon Canyon, we were in awe of the sweeping sand dunes topped by obsidian looking stones.

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Cruising back closer through Zion, we roamed near Red Canyon and decided immediately that it was our favorite spot in the whole national park.

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As the sun went down, we got to know the winding roads and breathtaking views of Bryce Canyon – and pictures barely do it justice. Last, but certainly not least – we doubled by Zion at night and I saw – not just stars – but galaxy clouds, I danced underneath beating bat wings and stood, silently, stunned by the wonder of our world.

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The next morning, we took one last ride through Zion – comparing and contrasting the sweeping daytime scenery with our limited night vision. Forever thankful for the opportunity, we did one last circle around the park and picked up a few gems and minerals to remember the trip by. Also, apparently I have a new obsession now lol. This journey was my first formidable road trip – and is the perfect stepping stone for our trip to Salmo, BC next week for Shambhala Music Festival. Until then, I’m fine living on a pixelated diet of nature pictures and images of the wonder of our world.

I’m always looking for new adventures and ideas, so tell me – what’s your favorite road trip, or national park – and when do you plan to return?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Traveling Tales] To Zion and Beyond

Last Thursday, my boyfriend and I started on one of the most epic adventures I’ve ever been on – road tripping from Los Angeles, through Las Vegas, dashing through Arizona and then into St. George, Utah – a quiet little town near the border where we took refuge for the night. In the morning, we rose with the sun and galavanted our way through Zion National Park. To be honest, I was almost okay missing the first day of Global Dance Fest so we could relax and explore – but, hey – always another time, right?

After Zion, we passed through Bryce and then zipped and zoomed through Utah as fast as we possibly could. Don’t get me wrong now – its a lovely state…to pass through. By late afternoon we’d made it to the continental divide and Grand Junction, and by early evening we arrived at our AirBnB then it was off to the races for Global Dance Fest at Red Rocks! This marks my first time here and I’m in absolute awe of all the natural beauty I’ve witnessed in the last 96 hours. Today’s our final full day in town so we took full advantage of the morning – going into town, picking up brunch, enjoying some refreshments by the Creek. And now, we wait patiently for the third and final day of GDE; I can’t wait to dish about the festival but that can wait til it’s over. Until then, here are some of my favorite snaps from the trip so far!

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Now that Ive had a taste for the open road, historic parks and epic views of nature I’m already planning another trip – the only question is: where to??! What’s the last roadtrip you went on? Or, what’s next on your bucket list?

Ps. I couldn’t leave you hanging, here’s a quick sneak peak of the magic

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[Roadtrippin’] The Road to Red Rocks

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As the Super Moon rose through swaying palm trees, I perched on the love-seat in our kitchen – breathing in new opportunities and breathing out dissuaded anxieties with every beat of my heart. Silence ebbed and flowed through the room, engulfing it one minute – then a cackling laughter would chase it away.  My mind raced in circles as my fingers traced a path on the top of my phone. 20140716-143948-52788229.jpgThere are exactly 1,000 miles from my doorstep to Red Rocks Amphitheater out in Morrison, Colorado; 1,000 miles between my bedroom and my first music festival outside of California.  And it couldn’t come at a better time.  For the majority of this calendar year, I’ve been at a mental and emotional crossroads; I’ve been made incredibly aware of my aptitudes as well as my downfalls, and through hard work and dedication – I’ve built an incredibly succinct vision of what I’d like to do with my life.  Between my craft (writing) and my crafts (and arts), I need a jumping point to get me to the next level and attending the 16th anniversary of Global Dance is just that.

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Zion National Park, Utah

For all the festivals franchises I’ve been to – HARD Presents, Insomniac Events, Go Ventures – I’m still a novice as far as the Global Dance events are concerned; and to cover the event on top of it? If there was a word that summarized – honored, thrilled, anxious, flabbergasted, stressed – the whole kit and kaboodle.

What’s more, is that my best friend – boyfriend – Danny – my partner in crime – photographer – whatever you want to call him, he’s coming with me and we’re making a huge road trip of the event.  Last weekend we celebrated one year of loving each other and what better way to celebrate than gallivanting through Zion and Red Rocks!  Back when I was in college, I spent a little bit of time in Breckenridge – but that was during the winter and under starkly different conditions!  Instead of flying in between two monstrously large blizzards, we’ll be driving from LA through St.George, Utah where we’ll be able to rest our bones for a bit before we bounce to Zion National Park! I’ve heard so many fantastic things about it but to be able to see it physically with my own eyes, I can’t properly express how monumental this is for me – for us, really.

Then – it’s off to Morrison for Global Dance! Thanks to some quick thinking and good luck with Air BnB – I found an exceptionally fantastic place within close proximity – and for only $40 it’s a certifiable steal (Like, seriously – if you’re ever going to Red Rocks let me know and I’ll give you this guy’s information!)  For all the research I’d done on GDE, I don’t know how it escaped me that there’d be more than one stage (I mean, duh; how many festivals are just one stage anymore….) – but I was truly hoping that with Red Rocks as a backdrop that it would more or less work out that way.  Anyhow, now I have to navigate through time conflicts and hold DJ death matches in my head to plot the best plan of attack.

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This is the reason I’m so willing to put up with my normal 8-5; this is why I’m so dedicated to working day in and day out on my craft.  It’s big moments like these that pave the way for monumental events to happen – and I’m so excited to share my journeys!  Now, before I get back to being a glorified excel monkey – let me leave you with some of my favorite songs from the GDE: Red Rocks arsenal – enjoy!