Sunday, December 2, 2007

If you go to San Francisco...

Well, the photos from my Northern California trip are finally done and in my California Gallery. I must say it is quite an amazing place. Even though I've been to California many times before, I was still astounded by all it has to offer a photographer.

I started in the awesome city by the bay, and it only got better from there. I explored waterfalls, mountains, giant redwood forests, coastal cliffs, lakes, rivers -- you name it, I saw it and photographed it. Overall, I was very happy with the trip and resulting photos.

Not everything went according to plan, however.

For starters, I got a bad cold the day before I left Minneapolis. It was severe enough that if I had I been going by car, I would've postponed the trip. But, I wasn't driving, I was flying. So, there was nothing to do but just grin and bear it. Getting up at the crack of dawn and hiking through wilderness with a backpack of camera gear can be tough. Doing it while sporting a fever and coughing every five seconds is an altogether different challenge. Thank God for willpower and Benadryl!

About five days into the trip, with my cold in full swing, I parked my rental vehicle near some railroad tracks running parallel to a river and proceeded to hike along them. I had been told by a guidebook that at the end of this hike was one of the most spectacular waterfalls in California. But, after awhile I realized that the book must be wrong. It said that the waterfall was only 1.5 miles down the tracks and I had already gone two miles. Then, I read more closely and saw a bit of info I had missed: I was supposed to hike the tracks upstream. And guess which way I had been hiking? Sigh... yep... I was hiking downstream.

I stood there numb for a moment and let it sink in. There I was, with a raging cold and a heavy burden, and I had just gone two miles in the wrong direction. Which, of course, meant that I had to hike those two miles back, and then from there go another mile and a half to the falls. And then another mile and a half back. So, instead of hiking three miles, I, navigational genius, would end up hiking seven. Yay.

I begrudgingly did an about face and began hiking back, when something else happened. A train decided that this would be the perfect time to come rumbling along on the tracks behind me. The tracks I was walking on. The guidebook had warned that the tracks were still in use and to watch out for trains, but I figured they were just being overly cautious. What were the chances that a train would really come along while I was there? Turns out the chances were pretty damn good.

I quickened my pace until I found a spot where I could get off the tracks, and I watched the metal monster chug by me. I really had serious thoughts about jumping it and riding it all the way to the falls. It'd be awesome! I would have an exhilarating ride, and cut four miles off of my hike! Then, I woke up. I'd already made enough blunders for the day. No sense in making a FINAL one. Besides, what would my tens of millions of blog fans do without me?

Tomorrow, I leave for Hawaii. I'll be back in a couple weeks with more photos and tales. Until then, take care.

No comments: