With my tenacity for a new adventure comes a myopia that'll blind my experience of a true new moment. If I expect adventure, I won't realize until later that all parts of the journey were the adventure itself. When my (now) husband and I left San Diego with the goal of volunteering our photo & video talents for environmental and conservational causes, we embraced discomfort and change. We knew that false confidence and the over-questioning of our risks could ablate our moxie and blur the road signs along the journey. Working on our confidence, we learned to instead maintain cautious, honest confidence in our abilities while verbally reminding ourselves that anything can happen if we put ourselves in alignment with open-ended circumstances. And as they happen, we can "zoom out" of the moment and realize that we are IN the adventure AT that time. We are in the here & now, we are telling our own story as we live it.

Luck have it, we were put in contact with the National Forest Foundation through GiveAShot.org (run by PeakDesign), which partners media artists with nonprofits. It was a shot in the dark - and we ultimately ended up being the right choice for them. In our stint in Colorado, we rounded out our portfolio, practiced working in questionable weather and terrain, met a ton of unique and intelligent folks, saw and interacted with an abundance of wildlife and flora, donated our time to causes run by stewards of nature, learned a lot about ourselves and respecting our limits, and overall - wrote a chapter in our adventure story that we can tell for the rest of our lives. From climbing up to 12400 feet in the snow to ice lakes and breaching my acrophobia, to crossing a stream with our equipment tucked under jackets during a rogue thunderstorm with lightning clapping overhead, to drinking pints in a pub with real cowboys, to getting caught in another snowstorm in a mountain pass, to hiking up painted, balancing rocks in yet another thunderstorm... Brendan and I used all of our anxiolytic skills to extract every golden moment of the journey.

We stayed in Sacramento for a night with my brother in law Trevor, then left for our cousins place in Placerville to explore gold country. Lauren and Karen, our friends and relatives, gave us a warm and beautiful rural place for our exploration of Sutter's Mill (where gold was first discovered in California). We then headed up through Reno to Nampa/Boise Idaho to say with my folks for a month or so. Though our Nampa backyard wedding was quickly approaching on October 20th, we had some time beforehand to donate to the National Forest Foundation's work alongside the US Forest Service in rebuilding old wagon trails near Durango & Hermosa Colorado. We captured images of the incredible nature, the crew devoting weeks of their time to hard labor, and the rebuilding of the trail itself. Our work was ultimately published in the Durango Herald, and is now part of the NFF's media catalog. Plus, we can now use it to showcase our abilities to new friends who need our help.

What follows is a long-winded blast of images from this time leading up to the wedding - Gold Country, Idaho, Durango, Hermosa, Hwy 550, Silverton, Purgatory, and Grand Junction Colorado. My next post will cover our second volunteering experience for the Utah Rivers Council in Northern Utah, with some additional photos from Idaho and California.

Hope you enjoy the journey with me!


Trevor 2


California Holly

Gold Country

Bird Bowl

The Wheel at Sutter's Mill

Trail at Sutter's Mill


Merry Kitty

Heron's Sky Parade


Goose Flurry

Fuschia Periwinkle

Brendan at the Wilson Ponds

American Coot Blending In

Sclerotinia homoeocarpa fungus

North Pond

Wonky Eyes / Goat Simulator

Murdannia Weed

Milkweed Pods

open Cattail

Obligatory Sunset Idaho Fall Clouds

A Symmetry Portrait of a tree at red sunset Why Are You So Afraid of the Face of God?

Aspens Gently Lit

San Juan National Forest Peaks

Brendan at Work

Dew Worlds, Fall Morning

Brendan and the Aspen

Upper Hermosa Autumn Colors

Ice Lake Slope, Ulysses S Grant Peak

Highway 550 at Hermosa

The View of San Juan Mountains from Hermosa

Mountain Teeth

Closed to Entry Sign

Do Not Enter - Candystripe

Bald Mountain from the 416 Fire

Waiting for Sunlight

Mending Fences

Brendan at Upper Hermosa Trail, Colorado

Hermosa, Colorado

San Juan National Forest Peaks

Tree in Hermosa

Highway 550 at Hermosa

Forest Frame from a Moving Car


The View From Purgatory Resort, Colorado

Map Marker - Stream beneath Ice Lake

On the Path to Ice Lake, Colorado

_Ornate Waterfall

Waterfall Seam from Ice Lake

Martian Landscape Lookalike

Ulysses S Grant Peak Slope

Waterfall at Ice Lake

Ouray Colorado

Camp Bird Road, Ouray CO

Ouray Rock Layers

Walking Eachother Home Through the Mountain Pass

Arriving in Grand Junction Colorado


Brendan vs the Rock

Prickly Patch

The Road up Colorado National Monument

Tilted Rock - Colorado National Monument

Colorado Natl Monument Layers

The Road up to Colorado Ntl Monument

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