First Camping Trip of 2018: Jasper.

     Below are a few photos from our camping trip in Jasper National Park. We spent three nights at Pocahontas campground and went on a few hikes around the area. Our last morning there we  tried out a 10km summit called Sulphur ridge and for the ease of the hike, the views were stunning! I would have loved to camp up there if it was permitted but just getting to look out over the mountains and forest was gratifying enough. Sometimes I think I enjoy the forests more than the mountains, which would make sense since they provided us clean air. I hope you enjoy the photos and have a great week!

Future & Contentment.

     The images this week are still from Troll Falls but they feature my wife Celine and our pup Aspen. An interesting thing occurs when you get married and have a dog (or for other people, kids); you have to increasingly be less and less selfish with your time and decisions. A lot of people might view that as being negative but in reality it forces you to mature and grow as an individual. You're not able to recklessly spend money on things you simply want but rather have to always be thinking about if that money could be used towards something that would make the lives of the ones you love better. Being selfless is never easy and my own selfishness was evident soon after getting married. Figuring out how to balance what you want and what someone else wants feels like an awkward dance at times and can really be uncomfortable. I think working through those sorts of instances brings growth for everyone involved, which creates a stronger relationship afterwards.

     I say all this because when it comes to important decisions, like where to live in the future, taking all things into consideration can be a struggle. Celine and I aren’t too sure where we want to end up but we know that friends our age need to be there and they mostly live south. I tend to have the problem of pondering so many ideas, or maybe even fantasies of different life paths, it’s easy for me to lose track of reality and the now. There are so many things I want to try, which makes me worried about attaining any sort of contentment. I could write an entirely separate post on that but I should conclude. I guess I’m saying I have no idea what the future has in store but I hope that we can spend it with friends and family in careers we find fulfillment in. I think my current dream is to live in a beautiful location with my work in a gallery, leading workshops or sharing my passion for photography with others to show how it can be used to create change in our world. Regardless of what I end up doing, I know I want Celine there with me and Aspen tagging along.

     Thanks for reading everyone; the next few weeks of posts will consist of a highlighted image with a description or back-story to it and then the rest of the outtakes from that particular trip. I hope you enjoy them and I’d love to hear any feedback or advice you have.

My Friend Paul.

     I can’t believe how fast time travels. To think it has already been 4 years since Paul and I were roommates in our freshman year at Prairie. The first day, after I had moved in, Paul offered me some pizza and I kind of just forgot about it and wasn’t hungry so it went un-eaten. Little did I know, this apparently deeply insulted Paul and ever since, he’s jokingly held that over me. That first day pretty much summarized our relationship: miscommunication, jokes, and food (:p haha). Through it all, we’ve had so many incredible experiences and memories that are unforgettable. You’re probably wondering why I’m writing this somewhat personal post and it’s because Paul got engaged! After 4 years of growing and being friends you learn a lot about a person. I know Paul loves adventure, adrenaline, delicious food, fancy dates (with his fiancé of course), meeting new people, exploring new places, and friends. As soon as you meet him you see his drive to experience life fully and that’s one of the many things Paul has taught me. I feel blessed to have such a close friendship with him and I hope for the best as he takes these exciting next steps in his relationship!

The images below are from a short hike Paul and I did when he first got his Great Pyrenees pup, Loki. As you can tell it’s a massive dog for only being 5 months old at the time! Anyways, I just wanted to share that and hope that our adventures together don’t stop once we are both married dudes!  :)

Fantastical Food Pt. 2.

If you haven’t read last weeks post, I recommend going back and doing so for some context. 

      A trend that I’ve noticed in many peoples’ lives is that if they were brought up with any sort of extremes in their life, almost inevitably, they’d flip the opposite direction as a teenager or young adult. I’d like to think I’m exempt from this paradox but in many regards I’m recognizing it in myself. Fortunately, I was raised in somewhat of a balanced home (yes mom and dad you guys did great, give each other a high-five or something) so the effects are minimal and due to my inquisitive mind I’ve learned from wise people to always question both sides of any story. Essentially, I think that’s how I’m at the point I am now; always questioning and increasingly aligning with the minority within the social circles I’m part of. Maybe I just need to find different circles but even in high school when everyone partied and thought it was ‘cool,’ I thought it was a waste of time and money. There’s a plethora of other examples of this in my life but it seems consistent throughout the years. I’m aware, or more so cautious, of the reality that I could just be a contrarian, always wanting to go against the social norm, but when it comes to forming an opinion on important matters I think it might be an asset.

     As I mature I’ve reflected back on events that have occurred throughout history and more times than not travesty followed right after something that should have been intensely questioned, simply wasn’t. I’m sure you could list a surplus of case studies so I wont get into it but if that’s the reality shouldn’t we oppose the set standards more? With all this said, I want to get back to the topic of food and hope you’ve been reading everything I’ve said so far with our western perspective of food in mind. As Wirzba adamantly opposes in his book, Food and Faith, our western culture has diminished food into nothing more than sustenance that we need as cheaply and quickly as possible. Before this period of rethinking food I would’ve aligned with the default consumerist mind set of food only existing as fuel for our bodies to use up and burn. It was also due to Food and Faith that I made the connection that since food is one of the most intimate things we experience it should be observed with more reverence. Not only do we ingest matter that has been grown from the earth but also for people who eat meat another being is consumed. A creature that inhaled and exhaled, ate, and existed in many of the ways we do. I don’t recall what context I heard this thought, but why do we decide that eating cows, pigs or chickens is entirely fine but then dogs and cats are off limits. Why is it the cows and pigs get the duty of being perpetually killed to be mindlessly consumed? I don’t have the answer, even though I’m sure there might be one, but I’m unsure if ethically we can justify the treatment of millions of animals being grown for us to devour.

      I want to continue with these food posts while I’m thinking through a lot of the things I’m writing about but they take a lot of time due to the amount of thought I have to exert. If you have any comments, questions or insight I’d love to hear them. I should also mention that I’m currently trying out vegetarianism to see what that would look like and possibly understand things a little better so if you have any advice or personal experiences send me a message. The images below are from a fun day hike I did with Paul in the beginning of winter at Elbow Lake and wedge pond. I don’t think I mentioned it but last weeks photos were from Crescent Falls. Thanks for reading and I truly appreciate your time of sharing these thoughts and ideas I’m working through.

Wild Waterton.

     I forgot to mention in the previous posts that on our way home from Yellowstone we made a detour to Waterton. Maybe it’s that the town of Waterton is essentially a dead end, or that in the summer it erupts with life and in the winter seemingly goes into hibernation but out of all the places I’ve travelled to, it might claim the spot as my favorite. Ever since creating the fond memories from my family road trip there a few years ago, it’s a place that brings me so much joy.

     Anyways, we went to the obligatory Cameron Falls where I tried some unique angles of the falls in an attempt to mix it up from one of my portfolio image I made on my previous visit. After that we went to the notorious red rock canyon. Unfortunately it wasn’t a sunny, warm day like the first time I visited the spot but it was cool to see it tourist free. We concluded our quick visit in Waterton with a stop at drift wood beach where we found a lot of awesome rocks. :p

     I’m going to drop the posts down to once a week again (hopefully) and try to focus on developing a podcast with my friend Caleb as well. If you listen to podcasts, what would you look for in one that talks about current events and culture? Message me or comment your ideas.