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"There are some places so beautiful they can make a grown man break down and weep."

Edward Abbey

Cutthroat Lake, North Cascades National Park

Home! After a month on the road, with continuous views of majestic mountains, expansive and seemingly endless valleys and forests, and new roads and trails to travel, I now have time to focus inward, to look local, and to focus more on the details that make my home in Bellingham, on the Salish Sea, and adjacent to the North Cascades, such a jewel. It is always good to come home.

Alaskan Schrooms

Returning from the wonderful fall colors of the North, timing was perfect to soak in the changing of the seasons here. I was further inspired by photos from friends of fall excursions in British Columbia and the Cascades, found on Facebook and in the Adventures Northwest magazine. The editor of this publication, John, is a wonderful photographer, a Whatcom Land Trust board member, and a good friend.

Creekside Color, North Cascades NP

Larch, aspen, and colored leaves swirling down local steams and the Nooksack River announce that fall is here. Local parks, back roads in Whatcom County, hikes through the falling leaves, and crisp temperatures provided the opportunity to slow down, look small, and be a bit more intimate with my camera here in the area I and my family have chosen to live.

River Side Trail, Nooksack

New snow on the peaks, and light snow on the North Cascades highway, remind me that while fall lasts longer here than in Alaska, it won’t be long until we are into the holidays and the winter season.

Before that happens, I am planning one more adventure with my wife Stephanie and heading south: Idaho, Utah, New Mexico, and finally Texas for a family wedding. Maybe a return up the western coast?

Nooksack River Schrooms

In many ways, I am looking forward to the exact opposite of my month up north. Places south, time in the desert, coastal vistas, and redwoods -- all places which I love but too seldom get to visit. Pelicans, lizards, sand, and cactus instead of grizzly, eagles, snow, and fir. Less colored leaves and more painted rock.

Time to get into the desert mindset. Time to slow everything down so that I can see and understand what that landscape holds. Looking small so that I can recognize and appreciate the wildlife and intimate details in the sand.

Nooksack River Forest

I love seeing the big, the magnificent, and views that take your breath away. I also love those sights that you really need to work for. Watching for birdlife in the Everglades, finding elk in the Olympic Forest, movement in the rocks for Pika, and finding life of any kind in the desert. To be successful in these places, you need to stop, close your eyes, and focus your breathing. It is amazing how much you can see once you get to that slow motion mindset.

Wildcat Reach, Whatcom County

I am really looking forward to the next few weeks, of sharing the road and trail with Stephanie rather than the usual solo-journey. I hope you will follow us as I post additional images and describe our southern venture.

"It's strange how deserts turn us into believers. I believe in walking in a landscape of mirages, because you learn humility. I believe in living in a land of little water because life is drawn together.” Terry Tempest Williams

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