Tag Archives: Hiking

In Dirt We Trust

September 2016 – Houston, Texas 

Photo by Vasiliki Papacharalampous @ Buffalo Bayou Park – Blog post ‘Reflect’ 

 “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” 

 John Muir

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Dangerously Beautiful

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August 2014 – Grand Canyon, Arizona

Photo taken by Vasiliki Papacharalambous

Unique combinations of geologic color and erosional forms decorate Grand Canyon in Arizona.  

Like every good thing in the world stands on the razor edge of danger, Grand Canyon is one of America’s mightiest sights and also a mighty destroyer. 

Since the mid-1800s, some 770 people have died in the Grand Canyon. Some are suicides, others are the result of dehydration or hypothermia while there is always the tragic accident of falling off.

Having the privilege of visiting Grand Canyon two years ago, I must admit that ‘Horseshoe Bend’  (Blog Post dd 04.01.15)  and Antilope Canyon in Arizona are even more breathtaking and worth paying a visit at least once in your life. If you happen to stay for more than one days in the area, then it is highly recommended to visit Zion National Park and hike ‘the Narrows’ (Blog Post dd 20.09.14) in Utah, which was rated #5 in the National Geographic ranking of America’s Best 100 Adventures. 

Sedona



August 2014 – Sedona, Arizona

Photo taken by Vasiliki Papacharalambous

Sedona’s a stunner, but it’s intensely spiritual as well – some even say sacred. Nestled amid striking red sandstone formations, Sedona attracts spiritual seekers, artists and healers, as well as day-trippers from Phoenix trying to escape the oppressive heat. Many New Age types believe that this area is the center of vortexes that radiate the Earth’s power, and Sedona’s combination of scenic beauty and mysticism draws throngs of tourists year-round. 

Horseshoe Bend

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August 2014 – Glen Canyon, Arizona

Photo taken by Vasiliki Papacharalambous

The view of Horseshoe Bend from the rim of the Glen canyon is extraordinary. You’ll need a wide-angle lens to get the entire scene in your picture. If you find the height a little daunting, try lying down on the ground and looking over the edge that way. It gives you a much better sense of security. Below you, the Colorado River makes a wide sweep around a sandstone escarpment.

Blue Sky

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August 2014 – Wyoming, Yellowstone Park

Photo taken by Vasiliki Papacharalambous

I let my head fall back, gazed into the eternal blue sky and felt the peace and sweet blue gentleness.

At that moment, I recalled the words of the movie hero Pi Patel from ‘Life of Pi’, one of my favorite and oscar awarded movies …’Nature can put on a thrilling show. The stage is vast, the lighting is dramatic, the extras are innumerable, and the budget for special effects is absolutely unlimited. What I had before me was a spectacle of wind and water, an earthquake of the senses, that even Hollywood couldn’t orchestrate’.

‘Life of Pi’ is a story about faith and fate that leaves spectators questioning whether the meaning of life is something perceived or believed. Are you a person that prefers to believe in things that always make sense/things that can see? Or are you a person that prefers to believe in miracles/take things on faith? There are no right or wrong answers – just an opportunity for introspection.

Wild Life

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August 2014 – Yellowstone Park, Wyoming

Photo taken by Vasiliki Papacharalambous

Όταν αποφάσισα να ξεκινήσω αυτό το blog υπήρχε ο προβληματισμός κατά πόσο έπρεπε να μοιράζομαι τις σκέψεις μου στη μητρική μου γλώσσα ή στην αγγλική που γνωρίζουν όλοι να μιλούν και να καταλαβαίνουν. Αυτή την ιστορία θα’θελα να τη διηγηθώ στα ελληνικά μιας και οι εικόνες μιλάνε από μόνες τους. Οι εικόνες φωτογραφίζουν για ακόμη μια φορά το δημοφιλέστερο εθνικό πάρκο των Ηνωμένων Πολιτείων αν όχι ανά τον κόσμο, Yellowstone Park.

Διανύαμε ήδη τη δεύτερή μας μέρα στο πάρκο και η απογοήτευση στα πρόσωπά μας ήταν ολοφάνερη αφού ήμαστε πεπεισμένοι πως θα ερχόμαστε αντιμέτωποι με ανήμερα λιοντάρια του δάσους, πεινασμένους λύκους, δολοφονικές αρκούδες και κάθε λογής άγρια ζωή που μπορεί να αντικρύσει κανείς καθώς διασχίζει το Yellowstone Park.

Ξαφνικά αντιληφθήκαμε μπροστά μας να επικρατεί ένας μικρός πανικός και τα αυτοκίνητα να ελαττώνουν ταχύτητα. Ο κόσμος σαστισμένος και ενθουσιασμένος κατέβαινε από τα αυτοκίνητα για να απαθανατίσει την επιβλητική έλκη που έτρωγε αμέριμνη άγρια χόρτα στην πλαγιά του βουνού (φώτο 1). Ενοχλημένη η έλκη από το σκηνικό που εξελισσόταν γύρω της (φώτο 2-3), αποφάσισε να κατευθυνθεί ‘απειλητικά’ προς στον κόσμο με μοναδικό σκοπό τελικα να διασταυρώσει το δρόμο (φώτο 4) και να χαθεί μέσα στο πυκνό πράσινο του δάσους (φώτο 5).

Ένας φίλος της παρέας και λάτρης της τέχνης της φωτογραφίας, θέλησε να τρέξει πίσω από την έλκη σε μια τελευταία προσπάθεια να βγάλει την τέλεια φωτογραφία. Με λίγη καθυστέρηση χάθηκα κι εγώ μέσα στο δάσος ψάχνοντας ανήσυχη τον ‘ριψοκίνδυνο’ φωτογράφο να κυνηγά την έλκη. Διστακτικά προχωρούσα μέσα στο δάσος με το φόβο μην συναντήσω πρώτα την έλκη …ευτυχώς μετά από μερικά λεπτά αφουγκράστηκα τις πατημασιές του φωτογράφου κασκαντέρ …

Sunlight

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August 2014 – Moab, Arches National Park

Photo taken by Vasiliki Papacharalambous

As not all sun is created equal, another exercise from a photography course is shooting in full sun. With nothing to block the light, choosing the right time of day to shoot is even more important. Middle of the day is the most difficult time of day to shoot since the light is coming from overhead.

Located just 5 miles north of Moab is Arches National Park, which contains the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches. Although over 2,000 arches are located within the park, you can also find an outstanding variety of other geological formations such as colossal sandstone fins, massive balanced rocks, soaring pinnacles and dwarf landscaping trees.

A paved scenic drive took us to many of the major viewpoints within the park while many easy trails led us right up to many of the largest arches. While hiking on a well used trail in the middle of the day, a dried up dwarf tree got my attention and I instantly decided to capture its silhouette blocking out the sunlight…what do you think of the outcome?

The Narrows

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August 2014 – The Narrows, Utah

Photo taken by Vasiliki Papacharalambous

Hiking the Narrows in Zion National Park, was rated #5 in the National Geographic ranking of America’s Best 100 Adventures….and I can confirm from personal experience that it’s indeed an adventure and an ultimate travel experience I think everyone should try.

Hiking is done largely in the river as, for a third of the route, the river runs canyon wall to canyon wall. Hiking in the river was a challenge for me and an unforgettable experience. The water was murky and the bottom of the river was covered with round, basalt rocks. Proper footwear and bringing a walking stick was essential …. but I found out too late…I was barefoot hiking in the river with a severe thunderstorm warning being announced that could cause the Narrows to flash flood. Fortunately, after 2-3 hours hiking I’ve managed to get out of there with just some bruises and cuts on my feet and knees.

Later on I found out that hikers should exercise caution when hiking the Narrows during rainy periods as the winding canyon and sheer walls make approaching flash floods all the more sudden and difficult to evade. The Narrows Escape (published in 2012) is a fictional novel written by Brad Allred – a survivor of a flash flood in the Narrows.