Posts Tagged With: California

The pursuit of glow – California Sierra Nevada

29° and dark was the biting forecast just outside my tent at the base of the California Eastern Sierras a few frosted high desert mornings ago. Because I was nestled in the comforts of a toasty -25°  Kelty sleeping bag designed for an Arctic field surveyor, the cold hadn’t bit me just yet. Aggressively nibbling it was, as the winter chompers of that eager morning were on alerted standby. My goal was simply to catch the morning glow as it would creep upon the highest mountain peak in the contiguous 48 states, Mt. Whitney. At 14,505 feet, this colossal point among hundreds of lesser-known across the freshly powdered Sierra Nevada was within a short 10 minute drive from my campsite. In order to witness the lovely thulian-and-rouge-hued “magic hour” light casting over these majestic peaks, which was scheduled to make an initial appearance around 6:20am, I had to bear the inevitable and mentally excruciating sound of the un”zip” and force my thermal-layered buns out of that cozy tent. With a pocketful of chilled Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies as my motivating breakfast, I hit the road to a scenic viewpoint overlooking the bumpy and barren Alabama Hills.

6am arrival. Twilight slowly stalking the Sierras like a bobcat moving stealthily towards an unsuspecting desert cottontail rabbit. Gloves off. Ice cold tripod the reminiscent temperature of the 3 Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen beers I guzzled down 8 hours earlier. Camera mounted. I set up my shot and waited patiently in the soul-numbing silence of desert dawn. The cheek-numbing cold was omnipresent as well, but mostly ignorable due to the epic scene that was unfolding before my stretch-deprived eyes. Like the sun melting beyond an ocean horizon, the first light of day emerges quickly. A blanket of magenta-colored clouds hovered over the jagged mountain tops, acting as a quick cue to position the finger on the trigger.

Not more than 20 seconds later, boom…and there it was. Ideally, my first instinct is to admire such a scene with eyes wide open panning a full 180° panorama. But in order to provide visuals along with my story, my default view must come primarily through the small square prism of my cropped camera viewfinder. I clicked away with an overwhelming awe. The “magic hour” light usually peaks and begins to fade within a window of a few short minutes, so you have to make efficient time of your shot selection. I photographed as much as I could while I was rewarded the most beautiful light of any morning I had witnessed throughout the trip, while framing the rugged contrast of the peculiar Alabama Hills in the foreground of the towering and magnificent Eastern Sierras.

If there was ever a confirmation of my long-standing claim that the most beautiful time of the day is to be experienced at first light, this was a universal, unanimous jury. You can deprive me of hand-warmers and cookies all you want, but you can’t deprive me of the desire to witness this Earth at its most captivating and inspiring hour (or minutes) during its steady revolution around the big “glow”.

 

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Back at the LA Travel & Adventure Show!

Gringo With A Green Bag is heading back to the LA Travel and Adventure Show this weekend to get some fresh travel inspiration, feed the celebrities and showcase some new tricks on the Segway. Bring your can openers and keep your hands on the handlebars at all times kids!  #GWAGB

Travel & Adventure Show 2018

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A Galaxy…far, far away

As I usually try to do while up in the mountains, I set the alarm for 3am the other night and got up to do some hand-numbing astrophotography at 9,000 feet. I captured something I have never captured before in what was one of the clearest of clear night skies I have ever witnessed. The “cloudy” vertical band going through the center of this photo is our Milky Way Galaxy (which we are swirling about as we speak). Every bright dot you see is a star in our galaxy, stars similar to our sun (and there are hundreds of billions just in our galaxy alone, and trillions of planets among them). But if you look inside of the red square, you will see a bright object with a slight blur (or halo) around it. That is not a star. This is the Andromeda Galaxy. It is our closest neighboring spiral galaxy, about 2.5 million light years away (1 light year = nearly 6 trillion miles, so you can do the math – hardly “close” at all, only relatively so). It has taken 2.5 million years for this light captured in this image to reach Earth, so what we are actually seeing in that square is the light that left Andromeda 2.5 million years ago…seeing back through cosmic time.

This is the first time I was able to photograph Andromeda. Think about what we are looking at here. Contained inside of that tiny little pinpoint of blurry light there is a gathering of over a trillion stars (suns), and an uncountable number of planets (and that’s just ONE galaxy among hundreds and hundreds of BILLIONS out there in the observable universe). Fascinating! Would you agree? (Now your minds are probably as numb as my hands were while fumbling around with the camera settings in the piercing cold of mountain night.)

Andromeda is on a collision course with the Milky Way. We know this by observing and measuring the wavelengths of blue light shift. Two galaxies, heading straight towards one another at astronomical speeds (a cosmic pun I just dropped there). Due to the unfathomable distance, it’ll take about 4 billion years before our galaxy collides with Andromeda and begins a long, swirling cosmic tango which will restructure both galaxies as they merge into one. The really amazing thing about it is that, due to the unimaginably vast distances between all the individual stars, it is unlikely that any of the trillions of stars will even come into contact with one another during this collision. 

Before this cosmic event happens in an estimated 4 billion years, our Earth will have long been swallowed by our own expanding sun, before the sun finally explodes into a white dwarf. Either way you slice it, it’s a temporary existence we have here. But for now, we have an amazing opportunity to enjoy our planet and appreciate all that we know and have learned about the universe, and our place in it, all because we became aware of our selves and of our ignorance long ago and began to ask the questions that would lead to the expanding of our minds. Let’s be sure to take care of Earth while we have her (or while she still has us) and be grateful each time we look up into the night sky, knowing that each one of us belongs to the one lucky species among millions that beat inconceivable odds to even be here in the first place…and be grateful that our ancestors decided to look up at the night sky one day and ask the age-old question that still keeps us staring up in awe and infinite wonder: “What else is out there among the stars?” 

#GringoWithAGreenBag

 

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Gringo With A Green Bag + Baja California Sur (Mexico) at the U.S. Surf Open

Hey what’s up amigos míos! Had some fun in the sun recently at the U.S. Surf Open in Huntington Beach, California, where I met up with my friends from the Mexico Tourism Board and the state of Baja California Sur! This great Mexico destination has been hot on my radar for years, and now it’s finally becoming a reality, so please stay tuned! I hope you enjoy the interview and be sure to put Baja California Sur near the very top of your bucket list! – GWAGB

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Gringo With A Green Bag takes on the Travel & Adventure Show!

Here we go!! The 2016 Travel & Adventure Show is kicking off this weekend in the lovely city of San Diego, Ca. I’m stretching my hammies as we speak!

Check out my video from last year’s show…it was a wild ride! If they have those Hoverboards there this year it could get dangerous. 😉

Hope to see you there and share in the adventures!

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Moments in “Time”

Time(Calaveras Big Trees State Park – California)

Life goes by pretty fast. Time is the one thing we can’t control. All we can do is make the best of it. Without moments of pause and reflection, we can’t really appreciate time. Most people are allowed a lot of time in life, but we often frown upon it because we feel we don’t have enough of it or that it is passing by faster than we’d like it to. I believe time should be measured in moments, not by clocks or years on the calendar. We can’t slow time down, but when we slow down and enjoy moments in time, the less we will worry about “having” time and the more we will enjoy “living” in it.

#GringoWithAGreenBag

#FreedomTour

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Fall “Freedom Tour” Part 1 in the books!

Inyo National Forest

Just wrapped up the first leg of the #FreedomTour 2015 (literally…got my knee sleeved up as a result of some rugged hiking and shifty-legged Glidecam work. Took me a few embarrassing attempts to jump up on that rock, lol). The first stop was in the Eastern and Western Sierras of Central & Northern California (my home state). It could very well be the most beautiful and naturally diverse state in the union (but I’ll leave that judgement for a later day…once I’ve seen all 50 of those bad boys.)

Autumn in California…we’ve got some colors too folks. 🙂 More photos and video clips coming soon. Walking and gliding (sometimes stumbling) through nature…nothing quite like it.

#FreedomTour 2015

 

 

 

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Fresh off the trail…

…well, not exactly “fresh” if you’re talking about cleanliness and hygiene. Just got back from Maggie Lakes in California’s Golden Trout Wilderness. 4 days of backpacking, hiking, camping, fishing and drinking boxed wine during a hailstorm. Pics and blog to follow…after a nice warm shower and a pedicure. 🙂

GWAGB(Golden Trout Wilderness – California, U.S.A.)

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Foto Friday – 2.14.14

“Come with me, my-y love…to the Sea, the Sea of Love…”

That’s the jam right there! The Honeydrippers did that one. Honeydrippers? That sounds kinky, doesn’t it? Well, it is Valentine’s Day today so I suppose it’s appropriate to share some L-O-V-E, land or sea based. I think this image below is kind of synonymous with relationships. You’ll notice the battle scars on this sea lion couple right here (I’m assuming they are a couple. Could be relatives. Not sure if mating with your cousin is weird where they come from). They’ve probably been through some challenging times…fighting to survive, bickering over who’s turn it is to fetch dinner, getting jealous of their mate hanging out with another sea lion sporting a sexier coat, fighting over the male coming back late at night smelling like raw tuna (ok, that was gross. Sorry about that). But in the end, they both endure through the hard times and find peace knowing that they have one another and that being together is what truly makes them happy. Battle scars are a part of all relationships. The seas get rough at times, but you gotta ride the crests and survive the troughs the best you can, and if your mate is still by your side after the wave breaks and crashes ashore…well, then you know it was meant to be. If not, don’t worry. The Sea of Love is open year-round. 🙂

Sea of Love

(Newport Beach, California)

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Foto Friday – 1.31.14

Happy Friday y’all…throw ya hands up! Well, January was sort of a blur. Fastest month on record, I’m guessing. Though an exciting thing did happen here since I posted last week…RAIN!! Yes, we felt raindrops on our foreheads here in Southern California for the first time in what seems like a decade. “Hollywood showers” may be resumed soon. 🙂  So, drought and earthquakes aside, 2014 is moving right along. Another place that is not unfamiliar with drought and perennial sunshine is Australia…and this week’s Foto Friday is from a little place called Port Fairy in the state of Victoria. When you live in a dry climate like California’s, you really appreciate the sight of a rainbow when you see it. The ocean is always mesmerizing to me, but combine it with a heavenly arc of primary colors pouring into the horizon and you’re gonna catch a giddy excitement on the faces of most who witness it. I’d love to see rainbows more often, but it’s like those Thin Mints Girl Scout Cookies…if I had them throughout the year, I might not have the same fervor as I do when they magically appear on my doorstep every March (making space in my freezer as we speak). A heartfelt thank you to Mother Nature…and the Girl Scouts of America.

Port Fairy, AustraliaPort Fairy – Victoria, Australia

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