Boiling River & Bears – Yellowstone.

     While Celine and Sophia were napping I decided to go for a walk down to the nearby river. It was a great time to be alone and observe the natural essence Yellowstone had to offer. After they woke up we went looking for the boiling river so that night we could bathe (for the first time in 4 days :P).

     Evening arrived so after supper we went down to the boiling river and made the plunge but what we didn’t realize was that the water was either ice cold or scalding hot 80% of the time. There were only a select few spots that allowed for comfortable relaxing and even then you’d catch the occasional shock of cold or boiling water. Even though it was a painful experience and one that I wasn’t the fondest, of we were a little cleaner and less foul smelling.

     On our way back to the vehicle it was already dark and for some reason I was super paranoid the entire time. About 50 meters from the vehicle Celine and Sophia were joking about seeing a bear and then not a minute later they both went quiet behind me and told me to keep walking. As we approached the vehicle I noticed their speed escalating. Confused and somewhat panicked I asked what was going on and they simply replied by saying, “nothing,” and then full out ran. I followed suit and it wasn’t until we were back in the vehicle that they informed me of the massive bear print in the mud that was clearly not there on our walk to the river. None of us saw a physical bear but the size of the print they described made me thankful for getting back when we did. If it was just a black bear I wouldn’t have been too worried but judging by the size it was evidently a grizzly and at the time of year we were there the bears were feeding 20 hours a day.

     We safely made it back to the campsite and I think I slept with the bear spray in my sleeping bag that night ( just kidding that wouldn’t be safe :p). Anyways, the next morning we packed up and set off for the 10 hour drive home. Overall the trip to Yellowstone was a great time of relaxing and exploring an area I had never been before. The history, wildlife, and unique geological features definitely entice me to go back again but there are so many other amazing sights that I can’t wait to see. Thanks for reading this long, drawn out series and I hope to be able to get up to date with all the other small day adventures I’ve gone on. 

The Mountains Won't Shut Up.

      So if you haven’t heard, Canadian citizens get free park passes this year since it's Canada’s 150th anniversary. Just a heads up, this might sound a little ranty but really I’m expressing everything said in a speculative way and not vindictive but I think there are some valid points for a case against the pass. Also I do realize the benefits of extra exposure for people to see the beauty of nature and experience the outdoors but think of this more as the devils advocate perspective.

     Sure a free park pass is awesome but the whole “The Mountains are Calling and I Must Go” trend is getting old. Honestly, I’m guilty of even owning a shirt that says this but how many people are making trips just to get that extra Instagram photo that will get some likes? I’m all for quaint day adventures and the photos below are an example of that. But with the extra traffic from free park passes could have serious ecological side effects. I’m not even going to get into the poor economic decision it was. I think a lot of the national parks have been made into a commodity more than an actual reserve for nature. Its almost like they are a premium part of Canada that people love and inadvertently destroy because we don’t know how to act respectably in a beautiful piece of nature. You're probably thinking this post is a kind of late but I think with more time it will be clear to see if there are any repercussions to handing out free passes and then a better response can be made on if it was overall positive or negative. I love the wilderness and feel as though I’m too far from it majority of the time so when I get to go to a national or provincial park it rejuvenates me. However, it does disturb me when I see people taking for granted or disrespecting the environment they’re visiting. Like many things, society has lost its reverence for the natural world and assumes dominance over it even though it wasn’t theirs to assume. 

     I think I’ll conclude there but I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the free park passes and why you think they’re awesome, a bad choice or both. Also I truly do see the positive aspects of it so I'm keeping an open mind until we can see the final results. One last thing, did you hear bison are being reintroduced to Banff National Park; so thats really exciting! 

Old Ways.

     One of our last adventures while Celine was visiting was venturing into a historical part of the city to walk along the cobblestone streets observing the small shops selling their trinkets.  Throughout our walk we shared a lot of laughs and good conversation that I had dearly missed while we were apart. It was so refreshing being together, just the two of us, in a quiet subsection of the bustling chaotic city. After looking around and seeing some of the iconic attractions we decided to go for lunch at a quaint restaurant that cooked local dishes. To say the least, the local dishes, that I’ve had before, were prepared exquisitely this time and really were the best quality I’ve had since arriving here. You might think the photos of Celine are of her drinking nice red wine but it was freshly squeezed pomegranate juice that was equally desirable as the rest of the meal. Part of having the local restaurant experience is that there is a language barrier and to our surprise that glass of juice was quite pricey just as the rest of the meal was (in comparison to other food here), which might explain why it was so delectable.  

     After our lunch we went for a walk down a very modern boardwalk, which seemed to juxtapose the old streets we just came from. In retrospect of this outing I’ve been thinking how the ancient architecture and old style of cooking has been preserved and much like the fundamentals of cooking or architecture our ideologies follow the same suit. As a young person I find myself in constant realization that the generations before me have ideologies and ways of thinking that differ greatly from my own at times. This insight often occurs in times of conflict or disagreement. The scenario is often that I think I know best but the old dogma that another may hold contrasts mine so greatly I become confounded as to how society evolved in such a way to produce two significantly differing thought processes. My conundrum is to know when I should pursue my own understanding, or trust the apparent wisdom of the older person, to ensure success in the situation at hand. As I regularly pray for wisdom I wonder if there is a reason why I have differing thoughts or if they are even valid when put up against the ‘tried and true’ ways of previous generations.

     What are your thoughts on advancing ideologies, not including ones from scientifically proven ones? Have you experienced this situation in the work place or in daily life with family maybe? Let me know how you handled this. Also I’m writing this at a time where I’m not currently directly working with anyone where this is happening. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the photos! They are some of my favorites considering I didn’t go with the intention of shooting photos. 

Time Elapsing.

     As some of you know Celine is here to visit me for two weeks! After being apart for four months it’s amazing to be reunited with her. Sure it wasn’t easy being apart that long but I love that we are able to pick up right where we left off and continue to grow in our relationship. I wont get too mushy but time is flying by since she got here last Sunday!

     The #28toMake project of creating a time-lapse everyday this month has been going well. Overall it’s really pushing me to be more creative and think differently about how time passes as well as what will be photographically compelling. I don’t always have great subjects but it’s fascinating seeing what one can observe when manipulating the perception of time. Which has been your favorite?

     Next week I’m going to another village with Celine, which means I’ll be getting more awesome photos of this intriguing country. I feel so fortunate to have seen so much of this diverse nation in my short time of visiting. If you have video projects or want to use these time lapses for anything let me know and I’ll get them to you! 

The Necessity of Nature.

     It’s been a while since I’ve been able to get out of the city, which has resulted in feeling quite torpid. Not only physically stagnant but also in an emotional, career, life, motivation, aspiration, and inspiration sort of way. At first I was confused as to why I was feeling this way but after a short amount of time introspectively speculating the truth revealed itself while watching Ben Brown in Iceland exploring a glacier. The wonderful irony of this is that I was sitting inside watching YouTube videos and not doing anything about it. However, in my defense, that’s the problem with living in a massive city in a different culture. It makes finding a way to escape the concrete jungle nearly impossible. By no means am I ungrateful for the opportunities I’ve had thus far but all my life I grew up on an acreage that allowed me, anytime I wanted, to walk out my door and go for a walk amongst nature. Even when at college I was able to organize trips to the mountains or look out over the prairies and watch the wondrous sunsets whenever I wanted.

     Some of my favorite memories are from when I was younger and built various forts on our five-acre property or trudging through knee-deep snow just for the sake of being outside. When I first started photography I would escape by going into the forest to search for my prized subject; mushrooms. I’m not sure what it is but every time I photograph these funguses it brings be a calm I cant define. What sort of things feed your soul and rejuvenates your mind?

     To conclude, I’ve come to the full realization that nature feeds my soul and makes the necessity of connecting with my creator more accessible. Since this isn’t always possible I decided to challenge myself creatively to produce a time lapse everyday this month. I have no idea what they are going to consist of at the moment but stay tuned. Once again thanks Chase Jarvis for your 28 to Make challenge and the endless inspiration you provide. You’ll be able to watch these videos by subscribing to my YouTube channel at Mason Unrau