The Dude Abides

Bits and pieces of my life I've decided to share with you...... World Wide Web.

Guatemala, 2012

Guatemala was a real treat to visit.  So many highlights I’d have to write a novel but the photos will have to do.

Our first stop was a visit to the ruins of the Mayan city Tikal.  This is where they shot the rebel base for Star Wars Episode IV (i.e. Tikal = Yavin 4, 80% right now).  Lots of temples and plazas to see plus there was a shear abundance of wildlife abound including monkeys, toucans, peacocks, anteaters, and m’bois the Central American Agoutis.  We stayed in nearby El Remate at this amazing little resort called La Casa De Don David.  I tend to avoid giving shout-outs but this family-run place was a slice of heaven and had unreal greenspace (see last photo).

Our next move was an 8 hour minibus ride to Semuc Champey, a natural wonder (second photo).  Along the way our driver made numerous stops, including a lumber pickup and new tires for the bus, making a very long journey even longer.  The commute was worthwhile though as Semuc Champey turned out to be a natural waterpark in the middle of the jungle.  Amazing swimming, lots of waterfalls/slides, uber blue water, and a jungle hut with tarantulas and no utilities.

Antigua was our last major stop in the country and had plenty to do.  My absolute favourite was bartering at the local markets for amazing handcrafted goods.  I managed to wrangle away a blanket, hammock, and jade chess set without getting scalped for being a tourist.  Other highlights included hiking a volcano and hitting up what is probably the only Irish pub in Central America.  No Guinness on tap though.

Lac Ste. Anne Lightning Storm - June 26, 2013

Was out at the family cabin yesterday and witnessed one of the best shows Mother Nature has put on for me yet.  The storm was absolutely perfect for shooting because it was across the lake and I didn’t get rained on.

Hiking Roche Miette - June 21-22, 2013

This past weekend myself and a group of friends ventured on a spur-of-the-moment hike to the summit of Roche Miette.  Closure of the Yellowhead Highway to Jasper prompted a change of plans and we ditched waiting in traffic and started billygoatin’ it up to the shoulder of this nearby mountain.   Few headlamps, little water, and poor observation skills started us down the wrong path (literally).  Beginning our trek at 2200 hrs didn’t help matters either.

Our original plan was to climb to the shoulder and camp overnight, which we achieved four hours later at 2 am.  What was supposed to be a intermediate, two hour hike turned into an expertly lost journey through dark woods and across sheer faces of scree.  Exhausted we reached the shoulder and immediately pitched tents.  Sleep didn’t come until a few drinks later at 3am.

We all felt too pooched to scramble to the summit come morning.  While still shaking out the cobwebs, a solo female hiker passed by our pathetic camp on her way to the top.  Not to be outdone, we had a change of heart and made for the summit like billygoats on bath salts.  Hopefully the pictures speak for themselves but, needless to say, it was definately worth it.

Belize, 2012

Images from two underworld adventures in Belize; spelunking in the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) cave and tubing through Jaguar’s Paw cave.  Couldn’t get many shots within the caves themselves due to an abundance of water.

Exploring the ATM cave is by far the greatest adventure I have ever done.  You’re basically spelunking upstream against this underground river in water up to your neck, squeezing and wriggling your way through claustrophobic boulders and rock formations, and then climbing up from the river to a massive chamber full of Mayan artifacts.  All in total darkness save a sporadic headlamp.

Tubing along Jaguar’s Paw cave was far less strenuous than ATM.  It was more like a lazy river with intermittent spelunking and artifacts along the way.  Our guide, Salmo, was unreal and, although lunches were provided, he had us chowing down on termites, cocoa beans, nuts, and various other jungle foliage.  We never did eat lunch.

London, 2011.

Some of my favourites shots of the touristy attractions around London.

It’s better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.

—Emiliano Zapata Salazar

San Francisco, 2010.

Me and my ladyfriend visited SF for the first time in 2010.  Took the Amtrak “Coast Starlight” train down from Vancouver, highly recommended.  Loved this city so much that we are going back this May.

I Do What I Want

I’m trying my hand at blogging mainly to showcase my photography, not so much my writing skills.  I recently began sorting through my photo archives and have found a lot of pictures I feel are worth sharing.  Words about my travels, work, activities, and musical interests may be thrown in the mix; however, being engineer by trade, written is not my forte.  But I do what I want.

My travels have taken me to a lot of amazing places and I always have plans for mo’.  Top countries in my book include SWITZERLAND (80% right now), Croatia, Guatemala, and Luxembourg.  The majority of my ventures are to Europe and around mine continent but I have also dipped into Central America and the Caribbean.  I go where I want (is this ok, Lyss?).
I currently work what I want at an engineering firm specializing in arctic construction.  Basically, over 50% of my time is spent in the Canadian north, Alaska, and hopefully beyond.  Funny enough, even though I’m north of 60 so much, I have very few photos to show for these incredible places.  Perhaps I’m less appreciative of my surroundings because its my work environment.  Or perhaps its the 9 months of the year that are TaunTaun freezin’ cold (Hoth averages below -45) while the other 3 are spent battling Volkswagen-sized horseflies among other airborne behemoths.  Regardless, the tundra is a truly amazing environment that most people will never understand without experiencing it.  As a personal mandate, I aim to take more northern photos and post them regularly.
Rock climbing is a staple activity of mine but I also enjoy a good snowboard, football (not the ‘merican kind), squash, and doing what I want.  A strenuous game of chess is always fantastic.  My musical interests tend to vary violently and the only genre I listen to on a semi-regular basis is da blues.  However, as I write, Neil Young just finished wailing and the chaos that is The Mars Volta fills my ears.  These are all things I find pleasant.
Enjoy what you want.