I am an Information Volunteer for the Appalachian Mountain Club. At their Highland Center in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, I recently gave a lecture entitled “Trail Pix: How Not to Let Photography Get in the Way of Backpacking, and How Not to Let Backpacking Get in the Way of Photography”. I have given this talk several times to help amateur photographers understand what equipment is necessary on the trail (these days surprisingly less than in the past) and how to organize your gear to be ready for that fleeting image and yet not be weighed down with extraneous gear.
My friend and I were volunteering and hiking as part of the AMC’s President’s Society, a group of like-minded hikers that hike a half-dozen treks each year to different locations in the Whites. The hike that we were on was a 3,700 vertical foot climb to Madison Springs Hut (one of eight AMC huts that do not have road access). The AMC also provides campgrounds, shelters, lodges, etc. that they maintain along with the actual trails. Check them out!
For some of us, hiking is a way to stay fit, enjoy the outdoors, and visit pristine places on this earth that are still available to all for a modest fee, if anything.
The past several months have been filled with these adventures for us. In China, we hiked Leaping Tiger Gorge along the Yangtze River and then down to several “rice valleys” to visit with the ethnic people of Yunnan Province. In Croatia in late May, we hiked along the Adriatic Sea to out-of the way beaches.
In July, it was off to Lone Cone Mountain, near Norwood Colorado where we spent a week living at 8,300 and then trekked up the mountain for three consecutive days up to altitudes topping 11,500 feet. Later in the week, we tackled Engineer Mountain near Durango at a similar altitude, but we started at 10,000 feet.
Returning to the East Coast, we took on several day hikes in Maryland and then a short walk along the beach in Rehoboth, Maryland. We will take another Maryland hike on the Appalachian Trail the last weekend in August.
Much of this is to prepare for a fall trek up a pretty tall mountain in Africa. Workouts in the gym and Yoga sessions round out our training. You will have to read my blog after the African trip to see how we did!
On most all of these hikes I take my DSLR (the serious camera). I make some interesting images that transcend “happy snaps” that most people take on the trail. For me, it is payback for carrying a DLSR and I can preserve the memories of these amazing journeys.