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#436959 - 06/05/13 01:52 PM Nature, National Parks, US
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 586
I wanted to take the time today to share something more positive out of my life. In mid-May, I went on a road-trip with one of my friends from high school. We were lucky enough to have been able to hit about thirteen national parks in fourteen days. It was a pretty incredible experience. It's a bit futile for me to try and describe my feelings - I mean, even poets and writers have even struggled to put the grandeur of beauty into words. I hope simply sharing some of the photos I took will convey how amazing and healing traveling through nature was for me.

http://postimg.org/image/p172iao77/ (Grand Canyon)
http://postimg.org/image/cs74fb5qx/ (Rocky Mountain)
http://postimg.org/image/z2ydypds7/ (Canyonlands)
http://postimg.org/image/tml6lw21h/ (Bryce Canyon)
http://postimg.org/image/wcve3ytlz/ (Yellowstone)
http://postimg.org/image/njvjqayb3/ (Great Sand Dunes)
http://postimg.org/image/m1nrc2pep/ (Black Canyon)
http://postimg.org/image/goakf43rh/ (Grand Teton)

If you happen to be around any of these places and haven't visited them, I strongly urge you to...they were breathtaking, and I can't think of a better way to simply step out of yourself, leave the world behind and enjoy something sublime, quite beyond human existence...

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#436962 - 06/05/13 02:46 PM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: concerned_husky]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3607
Loc: South-East Europe
Thank you Husky for sharing these beautiful places with us.
I would love to see all that nature one day in reality!
Man you did some travel in short time, some writers or poets could be jealous wink
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#436965 - 06/05/13 03:12 PM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: concerned_husky]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 586
smile

Any time, pero - I'm glad you enjoyed them. It was a crazy trip for sure, hardly had time to rest - but I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Something really pure about nature that's serene and calming...
_________________________
Husky

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#437033 - 06/05/13 11:38 PM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: concerned_husky]
atari_kid86 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/23/10
Posts: 124
Loc: Michigan
I LOVE national parks. I for sure want to go to more.

Here's a few I've loved:

Mendenhall Glacier - Juneau AK
Hoosier National Forest - Bloomington IN
Manistee National Forest - Manistee MI
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Shoreline - Empire MI

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#437077 - 06/06/13 09:34 AM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: concerned_husky]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 586
Awesome you've been to some atari_kid86 smile

I can't wait to hit some of those.
_________________________
Husky

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#437080 - 06/06/13 09:47 AM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: concerned_husky]
atari_kid86 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/23/10
Posts: 124
Loc: Michigan
Sleeping Bear Dunes is one of my favorites, though it's hard to compete against Alaskan rain forests in Juneau.

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#437155 - 06/06/13 08:36 PM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: concerned_husky]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 586
Been browsing some photos from Sleeping Bear Dunes and Juneau - they look incredible. Kind of what I had romantically imagined American nature to look like before I hit some national parks myself. Had always been fascinated with Alaska too...ever since I read 'Into the Wild'.
_________________________
Husky

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#437170 - 06/06/13 11:23 PM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: concerned_husky]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 3336
Loc: O Kanada
great topic. i am a nature fanatic.

i was a mountain climber for many years.
took my first summit at the age of 12.
we had no idea what we were getting into.
it started out as a day hike,
and ended up a near death disaster.

there were three of us.
my mom's boyfriend, his friend and me.
he said he had done the hike before.
we got lost.
his friend fell off a cliff and broke his foot.
we had to take turns carrying the guys pack.
then my pack fell down a cliff and i did not want to climb all the way down to get it.
lost all my food.
then it got dark.
we slept above the tree line.
in the open on the snow.
burning dry bushes for fires that flared and died.
i lay on a boulder all night shivering.
when i suggested we cuddle to conserve body heat (saw it in a tv show) my mom's boyfriend refused,
because he thought it would be gay,
and he told me it would be inappropriate to cuddle with a 12 year old boy anyway.
(he was definitely not an abuser).
i was exhausted enough to finally pass out.

we woke up a few hours later at sunrise and saw that we were just below the summit,
so we left the guy with the broken foot behind,
hit the top, came back down and grabbed him,
then proceeded to get repeatedly lost trying to find our way back down the mountain.
this proved to be scarier than getting lost while climbing up.

late that afternoon we finally hit level ground again,
but had no idea where the car was.
we wandered in the bush for hours,
being eaten alive by giant bugs,
until we found a road,
but it was on the other side of a river,
which we tried to cross.
i got swept away by the current,
and my mom's boyfriend had to rescue me.

when we finally reached the road,
we figured out which direction to walk and ended up at the car after a few miles of gravel.
broken foot hobbled behind us all the way.

it was already dark again when we got in the car,
my mom's boyfriend discovered he had lost his wallet on the mountain and refused to drive without his license.
this forced broken foot to drive 2 hours back to the city.

it was one of the best experiences of my life,
and i couldn't wait to climb more mountains.

but... i made sure that i was fully prepared and trained and properly equipped before i set foot on another mountain.

here is my first mountain.

Williams Peak (2123 m - 6965 ft)

and the view from the summit (this was worth all the trouble)


have been up this peak several times since, and if you know the route, it actually is a day trip.

more mountain climbing stories to come if you like this one.

_________________________
Victor|Victim

War
Love
Poetry

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#437208 - 06/07/13 06:44 AM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: concerned_husky]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 586
That is some adventure smile Scary, but I'm glad you made it out alive. Would love to hear more of your stories and see more photos! That view from the summit is stunning...

Hikes give a nice analogy to recovery in some ways...the higher you go up, the better the view starts to get, but it becomes more and more strenuous and tiring. And sometimes the trail leads you into rough terrains, with hardly any views and you have no idea where you're going or what you're doing. But you know the view from the summit is going to be amazing, so you keep going up and up.
_________________________
Husky

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#437249 - 06/07/13 12:36 PM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: concerned_husky]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 3336
Loc: O Kanada
Originally Posted By: concerned_husky
That is some adventure smile Scary

the odd thing is, i do not remember feeling scared.
i don't believe i was.
not even once.
not even when i got swept in the river.
i was watching a great adventure movie in my mind,
and i just knew i was never really in danger.
i knew i was destined to survive.
i was the star. i was the hero.
i lived in that state of emotional detachment for many years.
off and on for decades.

this may have been what saved me when i was being raped by the serial killer.
my denial of fear and fascination with danger made me a perfect victim,
but it also made me an adventurer.
_________________________
Victor|Victim

War
Love
Poetry

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#437256 - 06/07/13 01:52 PM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: concerned_husky]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 3336
Loc: O Kanada
my first volcano
(a true story)

ever since i was a little boy, i wanted to conquer krakatau.

saw it in a movie and became obsessed with climbing it when i discovered it was a real place.

this is the actual scene that inspired me.


the krakatau volcano erupted and exploded in 1883,
causing massive tsunamis and killing at least 36,417 people,
while simultaneously destroying over two-thirds of krakatoa island.
the explosion is considered to be the loudest sound ever heard in modern history,
with reports of it being heard up to 3,000 miles (4,800 km) from its point of origin.
the shock waves from the explosion were recorded on barographs around the globe.

i finally fulfilled my fantasy in the early 1990's.

by this time, i had already climbed many mountains, and wanted something more exciting.
i wanted a mountain that could fight back.
my addiction to chaos and adrenaline had reached epic proportions.
my children had not been born yet.

at the time i climbed, the elevation gain (from sea level to summit) was just over 700 feet/200 meters.
since then it has been growing at a rate of 6.8 meters per year and is currently about 1200 feet/350 meters high.

technically, it was not a difficult ascension.
the climb itself was nothing but hard work.
it was like plodding up a giant pile of fine black sand, pebbles, rocks, and boulders.
everything was loose and footing was an issue.
sliding down while climbing up was more frustrating than fun.
the heat coming up from the ground was merciless.
the thick soles of my shoes became soft and gummy.
the sun was like a bonfire over our heads, and one of our team ended up with some serious redskin.
the sweat and black sand got into every nook and cranny.

but i muled it all the way up to the top,
and celebrated my life long dream of pissing in the crater of the world's most dangerous volcano.
i had sworn to do this, and i did it.
i liked to spit in the face of death.
i dared god to kill me all the time.
then i pulled out the frisbee and we played a short careful game of toss.
this was part of my summit tradition.
i was sad to climb down, but you can't stay at the summit forever.

the volcano did not erupt, just put out a lot of smoke and fumes.
i did not go into the crater more than a few steps before i decided that was not a good idea.
it was stinky, noisy, and smoky.

turns out, krakatau itself was not the most dangerous part of this adventure.

the danger was the local people and the weather.

the island is a couple hour trip by boat from the coastal village of carita, indonesia.
we hired a boat through the hotel, but later found a local fisherman who was willing to take us there for a lot less money.
we cancelled the hotel booking, but made the mistake of telling the desk clerk why we cancelled.
the next morning, the hotel sent guys with machete-like knives to threaten our party and the boat crew as were trying to board.
they demanded we use the hotel's boat because we had already reserved it.
it was ugly. but they picked the wrong people to threaten.
the captain and i were the same personality, it seems.
we both went psycho and dared the dudes to use their weapons.
we got right in their faces.
they folded on their bluff and left us.
this bonded me to that captain and we became best friends for the next couple days after the climb.
that was the trip TO the island.

the trip BACK was even worse.
the weather got worse and worse.
the waves got worse and worse.
the little boat was tossing about like the opening scene from gilligan's island.
my sister just about got thrown overboard by one big wave,
almost going over the side, but grabbing on at the last second.
one of our team was sick with sunburn.
another one of our team was constantly vomitting.
a third one sat there silent, blank stare, white face, for hours.
another one was crying and sobbing.
my wife was in a panic and was NOT happy with me for talking her into this.

it got so bad up top, that we all crammed into this tiny engine room and choked on diesel fumes.
the captain kept smiling and telling us this was nothing to worry about, so i stayed calm.
i figured he knew the territory, and this must be normal.

but later, when he put on a life jacket, and stopped smiling,
i started to realize this was not good.

at this point i demanded life jackets for my team, as i was worried about my wife and sister.
the next thing that happened was like some bad scene from a black comedy.

the captain opened the door just a crack,
tossed in one single solitary styrofoam life jacket,
and closed the door.

there were about 8 of us sitting there,
staring at this lone life saver floating in the filthy oily water on the floor.
then we all looked at each other.

i thought there was going to be some kind of mad panic,
with all of us fighting to the death for the chance to survive.
i started laughing, and decided right then and there that i was not going to die without dignity.
"i don't want it." i said out loud.

not one person moved.
we all decided to take our chances with the water,
and gave the jacket to the crying woman.
but she did not stop crying.

obviously, we made it back, but it was a long stressful journey.
i was terrified the whole time until the weather calmed down.
i will never forget that day.

these below are not my pictures.

a view from the water


a view from above.


a view from the summit.


the awesome power of god and nature.


_________________________
Victor|Victim

War
Love
Poetry

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#437358 - 06/07/13 09:38 PM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: concerned_husky]
Agate Offline


Registered: 03/20/13
Posts: 37
Loc: Minnesota
Nature and the wilderness is what has kept me sane and or alive.

It is the most healthy coping mechanism I have.
I require a quiet walk in the woods every day.

I hike, tromp, get lost on purpose.

I learned to rock climb at 16 and knew from my first ascent that I had a love for life.

I pick agates by the bucketful, morels in the spring, chanterelles in the fall, and blueberries whenever in season.

Infact I have about 6 pounds of frozen morels in the freezer right now. I found a beautiful 1.5 pound agate last week.

Agate.

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#437398 - 06/08/13 06:48 AM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: concerned_husky]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 3336
Loc: O Kanada
agate, perhaps we were separated at birth, because you sound like you could be my missing twin smile

any good nature stories?
_________________________
Victor|Victim

War
Love
Poetry

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#437410 - 06/08/13 09:26 AM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: concerned_husky]
Agate Offline


Registered: 03/20/13
Posts: 37
Loc: Minnesota
I was camping last weekend up on a rise way out on the prairie. From the campsite I saw a huge thunderstorm off to the east. Lots of lighting. The storm was so far off that the lightning was all flashes of red and orange. I checked the radar on my cell phone. The storm was 80 miles to the east! Nothing like the prarie to prove you can see to the end of the world.

As the storm finally moved off past the horizon, the northern lights fired up and I was blessed to have a second light show in one night. The northern lights ascended all the way up to 10:30 high in the sky. Sheets of green, purple and pink.


Agate.

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#437447 - 06/08/13 06:50 PM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: concerned_husky]
atari_kid86 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/23/10
Posts: 124
Loc: Michigan
I'm hoping to see the Northern Lights this summer when I travel to the Upper Penninsula of Michigan. We're staying at Pictured Rocks National Shoreline. Should be fun! smile

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#437467 - 06/08/13 09:18 PM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: concerned_husky]
FormerTexan Offline
Site Administrator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 11073
Loc: Denver, CO
I love going to see the national parks. Saw some over several years, along with a few state parks.

Been to:

Yellowstone
Theodore Roosevelt South
Rocky Mountain
Colorado National Monument
Crater Lake
Redwood
Sequoia
King's Canyon
Joshua Tree
Yosemite
Lassen
Point Reyes
Smokey Mountains
Shenandoah
Mount St Helens
Mount Ranier
Bryce
Canyonlands
Arches
Zion
Petrified Forest
Canyon De'Chelly
Badlands
Mt Rushmore
Devil's Tower
Hot Springs NP
_________________________
List of things ain't nobody got time for:

1. That


If I could meet myself as a boy...

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#437469 - 06/08/13 09:34 PM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: concerned_husky]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5942
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
I have been to a few parks, you are right, they are wonderfully distracting. Impressively, I have been to the Porcupine Mountains in the upper peninsula of Michigan. There I went on a micro nature walk where a ranger took a group of us to a patch of woods and asked us to get on our hands and knees and find signs of life or actual insects. He then identified the tracks and insects, it was very fine.

Definitely go, explore, learn and relax.

Nice topic,
Sam
_________________________
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

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#437495 - 06/09/13 01:14 AM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: concerned_husky]
Dave PNW Offline


Registered: 04/03/13
Posts: 112
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Nice post guys. Thanks for reminding me of the healing power of wild places. I don't know if I would be alive today if I hadn't had these places to disappear into from time to time. I have spent a lot of my life outdoors, both for work (as a ranger and outdoor skills instructor) and for play.
Some of my favorite National Parks & Wilderness:

Yosemite and Sequoia- especially the high Sierra
Yellowstone - winter in the geyser basins.
Zion- red rock and narrow canyon bottoms
Wind River Range - vast and wild with high granite peaks
Death Valley - in the Panamints at 10,000 feet you can see forever.
Three Sisters - where I took my son up his first peak
Mount Hood - Elliot Glacier on the NE face
Okeefenokee Swamp - vibrating with life at night
Baja - the wild coast north of Loretto
Allegheny National Forest - the hills where I grew up

Thanks for reminding me. Dave

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#437499 - 06/09/13 02:37 AM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: concerned_husky]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3607
Loc: South-East Europe
Great post, stories and photos!
I love nature. I've been born in mountainous Bosnia and I used to miss mountainous heavily. It is strange but it is not natural for me to live in surroundings with open horizon without seeing mountains as barriers to view in distance. When I moved to college I needed couple of years to adjust.
Town where I've studied was placed at the end of wast plain "without end" and there was just one monumental mountain at south that stood like lonely pylon. It was reminder of my homeland for me.
Me and my brother liked to spend hours in walking around the city, wondering around and finding place with best view on mountain wink

We have beautiful nature here and unfortunately I was just in couple of national parks which is something that I'd change in future wink
Nature here is very rich, geologically it is carst region with many wonders made by rivers.
Those that I've seen are
Plitivcka jezera (Plitivce lakes) national park
Krka river national park
Kornati islands national park
Risnjak mountain national park

For end I would like to show you place that I would like to visit o ne day. It is mountain Maglic (2.386 m) - it's name means something like "foggy". It is the highest Bosnia's mountain with virgin forest and intact nature placed in Sutjeska national park. I visited park as kid but not mountainous side of it unfortunately.
Here is photo of glacial lake placed just at base of the top of the mountain:


http://www.kaijonkipsa.com/photos/-Photo-Album/Maglic%20mountain.jpg
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#437650 - 06/10/13 12:34 PM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: concerned_husky]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 3336
Loc: O Kanada
yes this is a great topic!

i loved your story agate.
Originally Posted By: Agate
I was camping last weekend up on a rise way out on the prairie. From the campsite I saw a huge thunderstorm off to the east. Lots of lighting. The storm was so far off that the lightning was all flashes of red and orange. I checked the radar on my cell phone. The storm was 80 miles to the east! Nothing like the prarie to prove you can see to the end of the world.

As the storm finally moved off past the horizon, the northern lights fired up and I was blessed to have a second light show in one night. The northern lights ascended all the way up to 10:30 high in the sky. Sheets of green, purple and pink.


Agate.



i can picture your description and all the beautiful colours as clear as if i was there.

this topic and your story inspired me to get back into nature this weekend past.

i just turned 52 and i am recovering from a car accident in february. last month i could barely walk.

yesterday i followed a trail and reached the summit of some low altitude nameless peak in dogwood valley north of hope, bc. i was way out of my comfort zone.

it was torture, but i did not quit. i helps having 3 young people to keep up with. i was out of shape and lazy and still weak and sore from the injury, but i made it to the top. it was a challenge.

i am feeling pride and pain today and i owe it all to this thread on this forum.

thank you.
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Victor|Victim

War
Love
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#437664 - 06/10/13 02:06 PM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: concerned_husky]
Agate Offline


Registered: 03/20/13
Posts: 37
Loc: Minnesota
Wonderful!!!

Where you and I work its loud, intense, time sensitive, crowded, and often people who are "having a good time" get in your face. The last thing I need on my downtime is to be anywhere that has any of these traits.

Quiet

Trees

Water

Solitude

Breath

Wind

Sky

Openness

Rocks

That's all I need. If I get to share with someone else even better, but I could go hours without saying a word, just sharing the experience together is enough.


Agate

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#437808 - 06/11/13 03:46 PM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: concerned_husky]
Suwanee Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 718
Loc: Southeast USA
Husky,

I've used the climbing-healing analogy as well. Sometimes the summit is a broad plateau, and sometimes it is a knife-edge ridge. Sometimes the view is amazing, and sometimes the summit is shrouded in clouds.

I climbed a multitude of mountains when I hiked the Appalachian Trail. I suppose it was one of my "vision quests" that kept me occupied between high school and college. I'm up for a good hike up a mountain, but I never got into technical climbing.

The AT is generally pretty, but relatively civilized compared to the West. Even so, I experienced long stretches of solitude in places. The AT is strenuous because of its length, but the beauty of the West is legendary. I've traveled through some of the parks out west, but I've never made a long trip of it.

Apart from the AT, I've visited:

Yosemite (CA)
The Grand Canyon (AZ)
Bryce Canyon (UT)
Acadia (ME)
Redwoods (CA)
Great Smoky Mountains (TN/NC)
Big Bend (TX)
Mount Rainier (WA)
Shenandoah (VA)
Death Valley/Joshua Tree (CA)
Dry Tortugas (FL)
Everglades (FL)
Okefenokee (GA) ---Nat'l Wildlife Refuge
Cumberland Island (GA) Nat'l Seashore
Gulf Islands (FL, AL, MS) Nat'l Seashore

I don't think any one is "better" than another. They all offer something. I feel at home in the southeast, but I'm awed by the West. Alaska is still a goal.

Keep climbing.

Will
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My Journal

-Signs and traces left in stone
Ruins of a past unknown-

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#437981 - 06/12/13 08:11 PM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: Suwanee]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 586
This is so cool you guys have seen so many national parks. Wish I could go back there right now!

Originally Posted By: Agate
Quiet

Trees

Water

Solitude

Breath

Wind

Sky

Openness

Rocks

That's all I need. If I get to share with someone else even better, but I could go hours without saying a word, just sharing the experience together is enough.


Agate


I can relate to that so much. I think it was in Canyonlands I just sat and stared into the landscape for hours...there's like an infinite amount of details wherever you look, you can never tire of it. Have you heard of Everett Ruess, by chance?

Originally Posted By: Suwanee
I don't think any one is "better" than another. They all offer something. I feel at home in the southeast, but I'm awed by the West. Alaska is still a goal.


I got the same feeling. When my friend showed me the itinerary for our roadtrip, I was a bit hesitant about the fact that he had included so many national parks that had the word 'canyon' in it...I stupidly thought (in hindsight, like, really, really stupidly) they'd all look the same. But the rock formations of, say, Bryce, were mind-bogglingly different from the Grand Canyon... Again like I said before it's almost useless trying to express those experiences into words. I'm thinking of another roadtrip maybe next year along the west coast, working my way up to Alaska. It's been a fascination for me ever since I read 'Into the Wild'.
_________________________
Husky

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#439825 - 07/02/13 05:25 PM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: victor-victim]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 3336
Loc: O Kanada
MY SECOND VOLCANO

having survived my krakatau experience, i was encouraged to plan another volcano climb.
we were still in indonesia, and there were several to choose from.
as we headed further east, along the island of java, we arrived at the picturesque city of yogyakarta.
just 28 kilometres (17 miles) north of that city stood my next target.
gunung merapi (literally fire mountain), is the most active volcano in indonesia.


MERAPI AT NIGHT

my wife had had enough of danger, and refused to participate in my new plan.

so i hooked up with some local guides and some other tourist adventurers and set out to conquer merapi without her.

because of the extreme heat during the day, the guides had us wait until dark before we began.
so about two dozen of us headed up the trail, at night, with flashlights and two guides.

the billions of stars on a pitch black sky silhouetting the peak before us was a sight i will never forget.
the summit is 2,930 metres (9,610 ft) above sea level, but we were starting out from one of the villages which cover the slopes.
the goal was to hit the summit, rest, watch the sunrise, and head down during the dawn hours.
no ropes were required.

as we got higher, the trails disappeared and it turned into a steep incline.
we had to scramble over rocks and boulders, piled up in front of us.
we climbed up, over, and around for hours, feeling our way up the mountain, following our guides.

the guides were smoking cigarettes almost constantly, showing no signs of fatigue, which i found amazing and amusing.
i was in pretty good shape, but some of the other climbers were struggling.

occasionally, one of the guides would direct our attention to little rivers of lava in the distance, flowing like mountain streams, glowing red-orange in the black.
i was deeply impressed.

then there was a sudden grumbling rumbling sound, and the ground shook.
we all froze.
it only lasted a few seconds, but the next thing we knew, we heard the sound of rocks falling.
the guide closest to me shook his head and said "not good".

rocks, started coming down around us here and there.
not many, and most were the size of pebbles, but some were as big as coconuts.
at this point, the incline before us was greater than 60 degrees, fairly steep, and our group was strung out in a vertical line.
i was near the back of the line.
while we stood there, wondering what to do next, we heard a sound i will never forget.
the only way i can describe it is that is sounded like a giant walking slowly toward us.

CRUNCH!

CRUNCH!

CRUNCH!

CRUNCH!


we could feel the vibration of each step as it got closer.
every flashlight in the group zoomed in on the black slope above us, searching for the source of the sound.
in the dark, it reminded me of a rock concert (no pun intended) as the beams swept the mountainside, and suddenly converged on a gigantic boulder bouncing toward us.
as it got closer, i watched as the flashflights flung themselves to the left and right in a desperate attempt to avoid the path of the oncoming boulder.
each person waited until the last second before chosing which direction to jump or run.

when it was my turn, i jumped left and threw myself behind a rock about 10 feet high.
in shock and awe, i watched a boulder the size of large truck bounce off the ground no more than thirty feet away from me and continue down the hill.

i had completely forgotten about the other smaller rocks which continued to rain around us.
of course, none of us had helmets or any sensible safety gear.

this whole thing probably lasted about 20 or 30 seconds but time was standing still for me.

after the crisis was over, our group huddled together for discussion.

several people were crying, there was panic.
my reaction, as usual, was hysterical laughter.
i was giddy, excited, thrilled, happy that i was alive with nothing but a few scratches and scrapes.
call it euphoria.

when a number of our party decided to abort the mission and go back down, i lost my temper.

this is what i said, more or less.

"we are on the other side of the world, halfway up the side of an active volcano, and it only JUST occurred to you now that this is dangerous??? are you stupid? why did you even come here if you didn't want the risk. i went to a lot of effort and spent a lot of money to get here and i am NOT going back until i hit the top of this volcano. we did not die, and we are not dead. going back now is not going to make it any safer. we could be killed going down as easily as going up. i consider this episode a bonus, and you should be happy we got to witness such an exciting event. i refuse to turn back."

one of the guides explained that we were almost at the summit and that this sort of thing happened often.
he was not scared to continue.
the other guide said he would be glad to escort the quitters back down to the village.

our group split into two and half of us made it to the top.
i felt pretty damn good when i p!ssed into the crater of merapi.

this is what it looked like up there.


i sat and watched the sun rise from the summit.
it was one of the most beautiful things i have ever seen.



the trip down was peaceful and quiet.

this is still one of my most cherished memories.
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#439827 - 07/02/13 05:43 PM Re: Nature, National Parks, US [Re: victor-victim]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 586
victor-victim,

Well, well, well...That. Made. My. Night. I was slightly down and apprehensive tonight...I was sitting in a bar by myself about to start up a smoke and then I came across your post. I thoroughly enjoyed the read (and the photos - nice!).

Originally Posted By: victor-victim
several people were crying, there was panic.
my reaction, as usual, was hysterical laughter.


That made me laugh laugh

Stars, hikes, eruptions, dodging boulders, sunrise and then pissing down into one of the biggest craters in the world...I have to hand it to you, you are the man. Honestly you ought to write a book or at least a blog about your travels, they're AWESOME. I can't wait to hear your next story.


Edited by concerned_husky (07/02/13 05:45 PM)
Edit Reason: Sunset is not the same as sunrise.
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