I never wanted to be a "rocks and trees photographer."
Someone once told me to never be a "rocks and trees photographer," that story is neither here nor there though. That's not the reason why I don't photograph nature.
I like living in the city, being in the city and in terms of being outdoors... I don't mind being outside, so long as it's outside within civilization.
Traditionally my friend Sam and I make a trip to Chicago every November. This year, we didn't have the chance to go to Chicago. Sam had been talking to me about camping. I understand a lot of people like camping, but it's just not something that appeals to me.
Why go sleep outside in a tent when I can just sleep inside where I'm comfortable? Also, there's no snakes in my apartment. The woods are snake heaven. I hate snakes. The woods are to snakes as the Tora Bora Mountains are to Al Qaeda.
However, Sam had shown me some awesome pictures he had from hiking at Red River Gorge in Kentucky. So I agreed to go hiking, not camping, just hiking for a day. We grabbed our friend Nick and set out for what ended up being a really warm and nice afternoon considering it was November.
We also found out that our friend Nick doesn't like heights and gets really nervous when you stand by the edge and look over.
The pictures Sam had shown us were of a cliff called "Half-moon rock." He said there would be "a little climbing involved," but that it wasn't too bad.
On our first trail of the day he pointed out the rock we would be climbing:
When we finally got to the trail for half moon rock, it appeared like it would require a lot more than just "a little climbing." A group of men were ahead of us, climbing up the rock face with two beers in each hand. "If those guys can do it with beers in their hand, you'll be fine," said Sam.
|- People highlighted for scale.|
Truth be told, the climb isn't that bad... so long as you don't look down, slip or fall. I followed Sam's lead and he helped me out at one point by pulling me up when I struggled. The view from the top though is totally worth it:
Once we reached the top we met our beer wielding neighbors, one of whom had already passed out. "He killed a bottle of vodka before climbing," said one of his kids. The other guys were setting up hammocks to sleep in trees and were smoking something that's now only legal in Colorado.
Cautiously, we climbed out to the edge...
and looked over...
Looking back on the day, I'd be willing to try camping - but will go to great lengths to avoid snakes coming near where I will be sleeping.
As for the "vodka man," here's a photo of him...
Don't drink and climb, kids.