Aaron Selig Photography: Blog http://aaronseligphotography.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) Aaron Selig Photography aaronseligphotography@gmail.com (Aaron Selig Photography) Wed, 15 Feb 2017 18:27:00 GMT Wed, 15 Feb 2017 18:27:00 GMT http://aaronseligphotography.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-5/u80597584-o517483354-50.jpg Aaron Selig Photography: Blog http://aaronseligphotography.zenfolio.com/blog 120 80 Canyon Country http://aaronseligphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/2/canyon-country  

 

Canyon Country. I’ve been trying to come up with words to describe this wonderful place, so far I’ve fallen pretty flat. Maybe there aren’t enough words to describe this place, besides the cliche ones like remoteness, barren, deserted, beautiful, harsh.

 

 

I came here for adventure, which I surely got. I came here to learn to slow down, which I think has started to happen. I came here to escape ‘civilization’ in the sense to go sit somewhere with no cell service, no people, no running water and I sure found it. Honestly, I’m not one to get very philosophical with things, especially life. But that might have been the biggest lesson from the desert, to just simply sit back and think about everything that’s going on. I’m still not sure how I ever got so lucky to be living out of a van, taking photos, meeting new and old friends. I’m truly living the dream. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me ‘oh good for you’ or ‘do it while you’re young’ or ‘I wish I was able to do that’ about this journey I’m on, things would be so much easier, and I wouldn’t be so worried about the rapid decrease in my bank account! Not only are those words reassuring me of the craziness that has been this winter, but this is how life should be. Simple. 

 

Everything about this journey has been spur of the moment, something else I’ve had to overcome (as I need some sort of schedule otherwise my brain goes crazy). I quit my job randomly one afternoon, I went wherever I pleased day after day, sometimes I’d hike mountains, sometimes I’d simply read my book and relax all day. AH Freedom.

 

For the last week I called Zion home. So much so that one morning a Ranger came knocking on my door just to make sure I wasn’t camping out in the Visitor Center, and even some Rangers started recognizing me once I would enter the park. I had a free campsite about 20 minutes down the road in some dirt parking lot, it was quiet and remote and had a little creek flowing through it. Home. Like my previous post I’m sure you can tell I’m a big fan of Zion. It’s probably second on my list only to Alaska in places I’d like to be. Part of me wanted to find a part time job, maybe meet a cute girl (hey we can dream right?) and hang out for a month or so until work started up in April. But yesterday I left. It was sad, I could’ve stayed there for much longer but I didn’t. Why? I’m not entirely sure. What I can gather from my thoughts is that why completely spoil a place? Why not leave, enjoy it from afar, from the photos I’ve taken and the memories made. It’s not going anywhere, it’ll be there this time next year and year after year. 

 

 

I just finished reading ‘Desert Solitare’ by Edward Abbey, the quintessential Desert-man. The last paragraph goes like this ‘ The desert will be there in the Spring. And then comes another thought. When I return will it be the same? Will I be the same? Will anything ever be quite the same again? If I return.’ Don’t you love it when the book ends and you kind of just sit there wondering what the hell just happened?! Sure the desert will be the same, maybe a little less water in the river next year, maybe a few more people, but generally unchanged. Will I be the same? No. Maybe. Something’s happened in these places, something has changed. I came here for adventure and left with far far more than I ever would’ve expected. Not only has there been a heightened search for adventure but a broader outlook on life. This is where I want to be, this is what I wanted to be doing. And you know what, I’m doing it. And boy am I happy. And maybe that’s what it all comes down to, finding a way to make yourself happy. Sure it isn’t the hardest of things but there’s gotta be more than one way to do it. Photography has been my preferred choice the past 4.5 years, it still very much so is. But what I’ve found lately, so is meeting new people, sitting down and reading a new book, and so is doing nothing. 

 

It’s still hard to put into words what the Desert has done for me, but something just feels different. I’m fulfilled. It won’t be the last time I visit, since there is more than a lifetime of things to see and do and places to sit around and simply do nothing at all. So now I’m off to Alaska, the day after Valentines Day(it’s gonna be cold…). I know what I’m in search of; my friends, mountains, the bears moose eagles. And I’m sure we’ll see it just a bit brighter after time spent under this Desert Sun.

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aaronseligphotography@gmail.com (Aaron Selig Photography) http://aaronseligphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/2/canyon-country Wed, 15 Feb 2017 18:26:57 GMT
Well lets see how this goes http://aaronseligphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/well-lets-see-how-this-goes A blog, what a great idea! Or atleast thats how I feel right now. Right now being in the middle of the Utah Desert where it's so cold that I can hardly feel my fingers while typing this. You know, the time of our best ideas!

I’ve liked the idea of doing something like this for some time now and now that I’m homeless and hopelessly wandering around the Desert I figured this would be a good way to record some thoughts, share some photos and be a reminder of the simpler things in life. 

I’m by no means a writer, poet, philosopher or anything remotely near that so here goes nothing…I guess.

I jumped into this new #VanLife trend about 9 months ago. Since then I’ve traveled to 9 states, 2 countries and seen some incredible things. I’ve also spent 3 nights in hotels while my van stayed in a nice warm mechanics shop overnight. I guess with driving somewhere near 16,000 miles in these past months 3 nights isn’t half bad. Also considering I haven’t had to pay any form of rent hardly. 

Long story short I spent the summer in paradise, Haines, AK. Coincidentally Coldplay’s ‘Paradise’ is playing right now, that's how cool Haines is. Quite possibly the prettiest place on Earth surrounded by amazing people and i really didn’t want to leave. The promise of a winter job in Montana seemed close enough to where I wanted to live and be, so I headed South. 

Haines from AboveHaines aka Paradise

After spending some time with the family and sleeping in a real bed (still wasn’t as comfortable as my vans bed) I needed to get out and see new sights. I parked in my buddy’s apartment complex in Flagstaff, Arizona. A gateway to the desert you could call it. Ah finally, the Southwest. A place I had been dreaming about for years. Our adventures took us to the Grand Canyon and Sedona. My impression of Sedona is that it might be one of the coolest places on Earth. For many reasons, but the one that will stick around are the tacos and margaritas we had post hike. Oh and those gorgeous red rock mountains. These red rocks must be like some sort of drug, they lure you in and never let go (hence why I’m still surrounded by them).Remember that job in Montana i was talking about? Yeah it was time for that. So I headed North.

5 months of free skiing seemed like a fair enough trade off for mind numbing work. But while I headed North I made a few pit stops. Pit stops which are the reason I’m where I’m at right now. 4 hours north of Flagstaff and I find myself in Zion National Park. If words could even describe how amazing this place is...

Zion

I dropped down into the valley and went straight to the backcountry info desk. ‘I’d like a Subway permit please’. After the ranger asked me some questions that in all honesty i had no clue the actual answer to and with the help of some BS, and $15 (of course) I had a permit. Easy enough. That morning I wasn’t sure what to expect besides that all that lay between me and my first time in the Utah Canyons was a mere 4.5 miles, easy peasy. After said 4.5 miles, mainly bushwhacking and jumping over small creeks I turned the corner to see a mysterious hole carved through the canyon. To my enjoyment there were only a handful of folks in the Subway that day, and even better we were all photographers. Not a selfie stick within sight, a rare occasion nowadays in National Parks. I walked around this incredible feature for awhile and headed back down the Canyon, back home. That ‘mere’ 4.5 miles damn near killed me. But I made it back to the parking lot. Never have I been so overjoyed by having day old, slightly soggy, donuts before in my life. That night I spent $50 for a campsite, but mainly for the warm shower. Seriously people, why are campgrounds so expensive (maybe i should have a blog post just ranting about campgrounds….)? Next stop Bryce Canyon. A world of Orange hoodoos and pine trees. I did all the touristy things like watch the sunset at sunset point. But then the stars came out, and coincidentally everyone left. The whole amphitheater to myself? Don’t mind if I do. Once the sun goes down everything gets cooler, I’m not sure why but its just a simple fact. Bryce Canyon is no exception. After a night under the stars and sunrise at sunset point (like i was going to be super cliche and watch it at sunrise point). I was on to Montana.

Sunrise PanoThe Bryce Amphitheater

Now you might think that Southern Utah is a fair distance from Montana. And let me tell you, it is. 700 some odd miles later and I pulled into a gas station in Lovell Wyoming. What seemed like torture was actually the beginning of an unforgettable few days. I had planned (when I say planned I mean commented on a friends Facebook post 2 days ago saying i was going to crash their weekend getaway) to meet up with old Montana friends for a few days at Bighorn Canyon. I'm not sure how this place has stayed so far under the radar, but it has and that's what makes this place one of my true ‘happy places’. Imagine this wild landscape with cliffs dropping thousands of feet, a place where Wild Horses still roam free and hidden ghost towns, with about 5 people spanning the entire landscape. Yeah thats Bighorn Canyon. I sat around for another 3 hours waiting on my friends to make the 1.5 hour drive from Billings. If there was a time i just wanted to sleep it was now, but why not stay up till 1:30 hanging out with friends in the middle of nowhere after driving 700 miles? We spent the next couple days dangling our feet off of 1,500ft cliffs during sunrise, having EDM dance parties, and eating Rocky Mountain Oysters. I'm still scarred from that last one, and I probably will be for the rest of my life. Thanks Andy. This last week on the road hardly felt real. (Lightbulb turns on). Hm maybe i don’t want to work, maybe I should just live out of my van until spring. But I had prior commitments to fill, and the hope of powder. We waved goodbye, and I was headed to Big Sky Montana. What greeted me was an absolutely ginormous resort. All this for skiing?

Devil's OverlookBighorn Canyon

Monday morning, 9am. I started having flashbacks to college, and not the good ones. A large hall, filled with people. Yay for training. Training? Is is really necessary to have 2 weeks of training to be a lifty (lift operator)? In my opinion, no. But what do i know, i’m just some homeless guy with a shaggy beard living out of a van. Oh, I also felt like living in my van in the Montana mountains in the middle of winter was a bad idea so I got an apartment. Which when my roommate moved in felt just about as crammed as my van, but it was warm unlike my van when it was -15 out. I suffered through training, ah finally opening day, minus one thing-snow. So acheing for an adventure and not wanting to ride over rocks i headed South to Jackson. This should’ve been my 4th night in a hotel room but it pays to have friends scattered around the country. It was also the first and probably last time that I'll ever eat dumplings and pasta for Thanksgiving dinner, thanks Becky it was delicious. Black Friday, when most people buy pointless things for cheap, I paid the mechanic to fix my home on wheels. Something that had become a reoccurring event lately. Back to work Saturday morning. Still hardly any snow. Dodging rocks and small trees in the middle of a run isn’t much fun, not when you’re trying to avoid those things. Jump ahead two weeks later, or something like that, remember that mind numbing work reference? Yeah this is that point. It was a toasty -5 that day. I got the 'pleasure' of working the base area at one of the magic carpets. I think maybe a dozen different people rode up it, the entire day. Pro tip: using your magic carpet as a treadmill when you’re bored is a great time waster. 4 o’clock: quittin' time. Most people use that term for when works done for the day, or in my case for the next 4 months. Freedom at last!!!!! The crazy idea of living out of my van and doing nothing but taking photos and exploring the Southwest was now a reality. Holy sh!t. What did I get myself into? I'm still not sure I could answer that question, even though I seem to be doing alright thus far.

So we can fast forward to the present, because you probably don’t really want to know what I got for Christmas and how I spent the holidays in Oregon, mainly just watching Netflix FYI.

So here I am, Goblin Valley State Park. No ones here, it's cold, it's remote, it's a tad lonely. But you know what? Its not mind numbing. Its some weird exhilarating feeling. The last 5 nights have all been spent in National Parks. It's been star filled nights in Death Valley, downpours in Zion and the bitter cold in Capitol Reef. I have a plan for the next week, which will inevitably  change and after that i don’t have a stinking clue what my life is gonna be. Sure parts of it can be stressful, like where am I gonna park tonight? What was that sound the van just made? But every now and then you come across a sight so overwhelmingly gorgeous, it washes away all the doubts there are to traveling around in a van, moments that blow your mind, wondering how something could be so perfect. I guess those short, sometimes rare moments are why I’m here.

 

Welcoming ViewsMy Humble Abode

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aaronseligphotography@gmail.com (Aaron Selig Photography) http://aaronseligphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/1/well-lets-see-how-this-goes Tue, 24 Jan 2017 04:36:25 GMT