Creative: The Leica File 26

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Out in the wilds of the Southwest. One of my favorite places in the entire world. If you haven’t been to the Grand Canyon just know it’s a huge hole. Huge. A lot goes on there but you might not know it unless you get dirty. Short term goal for me. Walk to the bottom. Haven’t done it yet. There is rumor some jackass is attempting to develop the south rim area. Complete with hotels and gondola system that will allow people who don’t deserve it to take a half hour cable car ride to the bottom so they don’t have to walk. And you wonder why our public lands are in such danger. Follow the greed. Go see it before it’s ruined. And if you think this area can’t be ruined or isn’t in danger then you just aren’t paying attention.

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  1. Ah yes, the language of film! The best book I ever had about film developing and printing was Darkroom, from Lustrum Press. One dark day I found its tattered remains and thought “I’m never going to use film again” – and i threw it away. I still bitterly regret that decision (that and selling my Leica R4s Mod 2).


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  2. I’m in the process of building another darkroom in the basement. We have a utility room that has been screaming at me to build out darkroom since we moved in. It’s perfect.

    Dillen goes to Denver School of the Arts. One of her teachers called me and said they were tearing down the school’s darkroom. They no longer used it for the visual arts majors. Insanity. She asked if I wanted anything. I picked up two enlargers, lenses, trays, tongs, pretty much everything except chemicals. All free. Dillen wants to learn how to develop and print. I’m more than happy to oblige.

    As for the Canyon, it’s a sad state of affairs. I see it here too. Especially now with the leaves starting to turn. RMNP is a zoo with meandering drivers gawking, phones hanging out windows. There’s so much cool stuff to see. Mind blowing, breathtaking views. All you have to do is park and take a little walk. Up there, just over that ridge, wilderness. No humans for hundreds of miles. No cell coverage. No technology. Just wilderness. I can’t get enough of it. I need more time.

    I have an overland camping route mapped out along the North Rim. Worked it out years ago. I have another from 4 Corners to the Canadian border. No pavement the entire way. Been wanting to drive them for so long. Hoping I get to build another truck soon so I can make it happen. I want to make those trips, along with others I have planned out, writing/photo projects. Backcountry travels, characters on the trail, folks off the grid. We’ll see.

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      I’m convinced most of us are almost brain dead. People live in a bubble. I think it’s too late for salvation. Spoke to a friend in Wyoming yesterday. So depressing. Spiraling development, multimillion dollar homes, subdividing prime ranch land, greed, fences, water hogs and absolute entitlement to resources.

      As for the drives. I’m in! I’m buying a 6-speed manual Subaru Forester then going to mod it out a bit. Rally rims, BFG all terrains, one-inch lift, King springs, skid plates and lights up front. Roof box, bike racks, etc. Should have it in the next few months.

    2. I recently read an article somewhere about Jackson. It was about all the people who work in town to keep it running. The resort. Restaurants. Shops. The cost of living is so high that none of them can afford to live in town any longer. Telluride is the same way along with a plethora of other resort mountain towns.

      The development here is staggering. Completely out of control. Shitty pop up neighborhoods being built everywhere. Houses with a 10 year life span. It’s insane. The prices are delusional.

      There was a law here that made it illegal to use rain catchment on your property as all water was sold to CA even before it had hit the ground. It was recently overturned.

      Stoked for your Forester. That setup will get you to so many amazing places. Keep it simple. I’ll send you some info on the routes. There’s so much cool stuff out there. Kokopelli. Grand Escalante. The Swell. TransAmerica Trail. I’d love to go all the way up through the Yukon and into Alaska.

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      Pretty much any resort town is beyond the limits of the locals. Doesn’t matter if it’s Wyoming, NM or California. Priced out by the second home owner, third home owner, trophy home owner, etc. I’ve even seen ranching kids leave for the city, get jobs and get rich then buy homes back in their small towns only to try and pass laws to get rid of agriculture. We are so disconnected to the natural world I fear it’s too late.

    4. Have you read Richard Louv’s books (Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle)? He gave it a term, Nature Deficit Disorder.

      Read an article the other day that doctors in the UK are now writing “green space” prescriptions to get patients outside. That speaks volumes on how disconnected people are now.

      Part of me would love to dump everything and buy a working ranch or small farm. Get everyone out of the city. All day physical labor. Hands in the dirt. Sheer physical exhaustion at the end of the day. Asleep when the sun goes down. Awake when it rises. Beauty in the silence and simplicity.

      Met a couple on my ride today from Austria. Today’s loop went by a campground and they were just rolling out. Bikes fully loaded. They are taking a year to ride their bikes around the world and were on the way to SF from Denver. They had already done Europe, Africa and South America. From SF, they are headed to Asia. Not a bad way to connect with the world.

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      Yes, we went from “tech is the life source” to running tech detox camps in less than ten years. It’s destroyed something in our race, something that is so essential if we don’t fix it we are all doomed. Tech can’t fix tech. Cycle touring was so on my radar until Lyme. Not, not sure I can do it. Still think about it, but would have to be slow.

  3. If you have not gone there yet I would recommend the way I got to see it in 1987.
    We came drivkng in after dark in early september, put up the tent, went to sleep, got up early in the morning and waled along the paths through the “wood” and suddenly it opened up to this spectaular view. I still remember, the feeling.
    Really happy I did not come driving in early in the afternoon and drove all the way to the edge as most praople seem to do.
    We also walked down to the river and back up the same day. Just pack food for a day and bring a gallon of water and make sure to fill up at each of the water stations.
    In early september its fairly cold up on the egde but really nice temperature down in the canyon – shorts and T-Shirt will do.

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      That sounds GREAT. I too go up for the sunrise, lucked out and got a good one. The hike down and out is on my list!

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