Expedition Oklahoma

The Almost Dead Blog

So, I used to update this page religiously.   I still have so many posts I could make, tons of content, a few years worth of vacations, weekend adventures and numerous photography outings.  I don’t seem to make the time for it anymore.    All of the following images were taken at the Botanical Gardens in Albuquerque.   Expedition Oklahoma has been in New Mexico for a year, this expedition Oklahoman is enjoying her life in the west.  

In a more intimate look at my life this year I will write like the blogger that I used to be.  I divorced this spring from a marriage that lasted over twenty years. It was over a decade ago but fear of being alone, fear of other things kept  me there. This notion that marriage is forever no matter how unhappy I was.  How ridiculous that we continue to suffer because of archaic societal expectations.   But it is still a terrible experience to lose this companion that you’ve known  your entire adult life.   Divorce is hell, terrible, traumatic and emotional no matter how necessary it is.  

But it gets better.  It’s slowly getting better.   I am far from impulsive and this decision took me a very long time to make, this move that I’ve thought about of for years and years.  This decision to move to New Mexico is one that I’ve written about and talked about for the last decade to friends.  This break which allowed me the freedom of dealing with anger or fear when I knew I left my world behind.   Rebuilding my life alone and away from the people I need every day because of the fear of staying too close to what was tearing me apart.   

But then I met someone important.  I lost people who mattered this year, but I found someone who makes me realize why it never worked in the past.  

So what is love? I was hesitant to say it but couldn’t find any other emotion that fit.  I couldn’t say I’m in “like” – Its not the obsessive love, it’s not the disconnected love of twenty years of not feeling like I had control of my life.   It’s not wanting to spend a weekend alone.  I’m an introvert, I’ve always valued my alone time.  It’s learning about something that has never interested me because I don’t understand it.  But at the same time its a million little things.

Maybe this love is a love of the same things; it’s a whirlwind weekend of road trips and concerts.  

Love is effort and time.  This blog, this sightseeing, expeditions was largely driven by loneliness,  I photographed and became a photographer because I was lonely and wanted to be accepted.  I photographed parks because the camera was my companion.  The camera didn’t disappoint me, the camera went with me and wasn’t too tired for my time.  The places I went and things that I photographed and documented helped me put on a good face for the world.  I wasn’t lonely when I could share how beautiful I found the world around me.  So much of my photography was, just that, loneliness.   

So it has been four months and I’m not lonely.  I’m content.  I guess that is an emotion I’ve lacked in my life. I’ve always wanted to look for something better or more substantial for me.  But I’m content now.  

I still love photography.  But I love my companion more and right now that is all that matters.   

This song sums up my 2017…   “Lost And Found” – I went to see Train, alone the evening before my 40th birthday.  I will never go to a concert alone again,but this song resonates with my emotions this year…  

Here’s to the time we have
Here’s to the lines we crossed
Here’s to the ones we’re waiting on, and the ones we lost
Here’s to the time we have
Thank God for what we got
Here’s to the ones we’re waiting on, and the ones we lost

And found, the ones who stick around
Lost and found, the ones who stick around

The Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque!

It’s been just right at a year since I moved to New Mexico.   We woke up early and went to the mall for the “Park and Ride” which is what I would recommend since it will save you the trouble of parking.

We arrived as dawn was beginning to peek over the Sandias.  

What a beautiful morning in America.  

I found a little history:

From a small gathering of 13 balloons in 1972, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has grown to become the largest balloon event in the world. Held each year during the first week in October, the Balloon Fiesta now attracts almost 600 balloons and 1000 pilots.

The first gathering of 13 balloons in 1972 was held in the parking lot of Coronado Center Mall in Albuquerque. The following year, 13 countries took part in the “First World Hot Air Balloon Championship”, the world’s largest ballooning event, held at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds. By 1978 Albuquerque was playing host to 273 entries. The number of balloons steadily increased, with 600 in 1988 and 903 balloons in 1999. The organizers of the Balloon Fiesta registered over 1000 balloons in the year 2000. Balloon Fiesta Background

It was an amazing experience.  I also have had difficulty with my internet service at my current residence so updating this blog has been nearly impossible and extremely frustrating.  I live on a Navajo Reservation in western New Mexico and the digital divide is a real issue. 

I really enjoy living in the west.  Albuquerque is a great town.

I really don’t need to write a lot here so I’ll just share images from the event. 

It was a “bucket list” kind of event.  I’ve always wanted to go to this event.  

The first balloon festival that I attended was in Gainesville, Texas in 2013.  My lens broke that evening.  It was too windy for the balloons to fly.  

The moon was out and it was a beautiful morning. 

What a crowd!  

This is the world’s largest hot air balloon.  

So many images.  

Come to New Mexico!  

The Eclipse from New Mexico

There’s a little black spot on the sun today….

It’s the same old thing as yesterday…

Hiking at El Malpais

Things can only get better! Yesterday we went on a little hike to El Malpais. The last couple of weeks have been crazy with the beginning school and managing to get a bad cold on top of that not to mention two amazing weekends in my new home state of New Mexico.

El Malpais is a National Monument which has some great hiking trails and it is just outside of Grants.  Check out the NPS website here: El Malpais- National Park Service.  

The wildflowers were blooming! I didn’t realize that New Mexico would be so beautiful this time of the year. 

It was a beautiful hike.  

Caves caused by the lava flows.

So I don’t have a lot to say. It was a wonderful day (and weekend) and here are some more images.

I’m not in the mood to rant about politics. Humans are disappointing.

We hiked to the cinder cone. Which was pretty cool! There aren’t a lot of ancient volcanoes to see in Oklahoma.

I visited this hiking trail last fall and didn’t complete the hike to the cinder cone.

It’s never a waste of time when you’re out in nature.

The Indian Paintbrush is beautiful to see because it reminds me of spring at home.

So, let’s be still…  

Oklahoma Nights

I did a little night shooting while I was in Oklahoma. I did a lot of front porch sitting in Oklahoma this summer. I got divorced this spring, so I spent the summer at the farm with my parents and my sister. It was good. I need to spend time with my parents. I love the farm I missed it.

I miss my Oklahoma comfort zone.  I can run around backroads at night and not worry.  

This year has been a very different year.  Difficult, I don’t like being alone so much out here.   

I’ve been back home in New Mexico for a couple of days now.  I am in two worlds right now, a difficult transition.  It is strange when you make a major life change, you lose your idea of what your future will be like.  In a way my past was my future and not having my past, I don’t have a future.  It’s a little disconcerting, not having a vision beyond the next school year.  I don’t know where I’m going or what I’m doing right now.   I hope this feeling leaves me soon.   

Driving Across Colorado

On June 7th my sister and I drove across Colorado with the goal of visiting Dinosaur National Monument the next day.   We started our morning in Canyon City and visited the Royal Gorge first thing in the morning and then proceeded to drive across Colorado on our epic road trip 2017.  Eventually I’ll post road trips from 2014-16!   

I stopped to take a few shots of the Arkansas River which was flowing into the Royal Gorge. We were traveling from the Royal Gorge to Salida on the first leg of our journey to Grand Junction.

We were heading towards Monarch Pass…

Snow covered mountains; I think so!

Driving across the country in our tiny car… 

So we continued…  

This is the area between Gunnison and Montrose, we didn’t go through Montrose though, we continued north to Hotchkiss.   This is Curecanti National Recreation Area which is AMAZING.  

This area is the Dillon Pinnacles.  

Just beautiful.   

So I believe this is part of The Black Canyon of the Gunnison, but it is also Curecanti National Recreation Area. 

Incredibly beautiful, I had to stop multiple times to take photos!

I believe I’ve been so far behind with posting images I didn’t know where to start.  Maybe I can begin to work on this blog again.   

I really want to go back ! 

But we continued on… 

The scenic route was worth the time! 

The Royal Gorge

Add this to a list of “Things I do not like.”  Suspension bridges, that move and shake and you can look through the boards and see a thousand feet down.  This bridge would be on my big “nope” list.   Nope, not going back and I did it once, no need to walk across it again.  Also, how do I begin to catch up on this blog with a move out of state and over two years worth of travel barely touched.  I guess I will begin with whatever I feel like posting.  This bridge spans the Arkansas River which I find fascinating for a few reasons; one being Spiro is near it.  

What is a gorge?  Why is this one “royal,” you might ask.  I do not know why it is the Royal Gorge, but I will soon, because I’m going to search for this information on google.

  A Gorge is a narrow valley between hills or mountains, typically with steep rocky walls and a stream running through it.

We visited the Gorge on June 7th at the beginning of our annual road trip.   

I did walk across this.  

This great American river, which traverses Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.  You can see more posts about it here: http://www.expeditionoklahoma.com/2013/04/wd-mayo-lock-and-dam-near-spiro-oklahoma.html

If you want an extreme view of the Royal Gorge bridge, you can see it from above.   

Or from below, since you can take the train through the gorge.   

I didn’t take a lot of photographs here. I was pretty much ready to be off of the bridge.   I’ll drive over mountain passes any day (and I did).  But I’m not a huge fan of bridges like this. 

It is definitely a sight to see. 

Here is the link for the official information…  Royal Gorge Bridge.com  don’t worry – click on a link it takes you to a new window!   

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument in New Mexico

It is finally time to start working on photography again.  I’ve been a terrible blogger for the last couple of years and I have so much content to post.  Some of this is because I’ve had not-so-wonderful internet service.  Also, I’ve been working at remote chat jobs.

A little bit about the Tent Rocks from the National Monument website

The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is a remarkable outdoor laboratory, offering an opportunity to observe, study, and experience the geologic processes that shape natural landscapes. The National Monument, on the Pajarito Plateau in north-central New Mexico, includes a national recreation trail and ranges from 5,570 feet to 6,760 feet above sea level. It is for foot travel only, and contains two segments that provide opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, geologic observation, and plant identification.

The cone-shaped tent rock formations are the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago and left pumice, ash, and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick. Tremendous explosions from the Jemez volcanic field spewed pyroclasts (rock fragments), while searing hot gases blasted down slopes in an incandescent avalanche called a “pyroclastic flow.”

Precariously perched on many of the tapering hoodoos are boulder caps that protect the softer pumice and tuff below. Some tents have lost their hard, resistant caprocks, and are disintegrating. While fairly uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet up to 90 feet.

It was worth the drive.  The first hike was around the tent rocks, which apparently are also called “hoodoos” in geology.  

A relatively short drive from Albuquerque or Santa Fe, it is worth hiking the slot canyon, which is pretty amazing.  

This was one of my last May outings.  I didn’t know about this place until my brother mentioned that he’d like to visit last fall and I’ve intended to drive up and see this place.   A national park is usually always worth your time.  

This was a day trip that was definitely worth it.  

I really enjoyed walking through the trail that led through the slot canyon. 

I still take photographs like I used to. I still shoot fairly often, but perhaps not with the intensity or dedication that I did a few years back.  I need to spend time working on this page and my other pages and get back to where I enjoy the hobby of photography like I used to.  I’m sure calling it a “hobby” would set the passionate, absorbed, serious photographers in a furious rage.   It’s just that it is my hobby.  

It was a great day.  

Take the time to go see your world, even if you don’t stray too far from home. 

Tent Rocks National Monument is worth  your time if you’re visiting New Mexico. 

Oklahoma State Track and Field 2017

So it was my first time to have a child of mine compete in athletics at the state level.   My youngest boy competed in State Track and Field last weekend.  

I’ve been a runner for years so to have my son competing in running is just awesome!  

Once we got to this point in the day it was great.   

I have to remind myself that this was what I was there for. It was an incredibly difficult weekend for me.

The boy can run! 

I’m so glad I drove home to see him though.  

At the same time there is nothing more that I want to forget than that entire week.  

What is amazing about maintaining a blog since 2010 you can look back and see my baby when he was 9 and now he’s all grown up and 16!   

I’ve Decided

That it’s time to work on this blog.  A few weeks ago I went to El Malpais and wanted to do some night photography. 

This wasn’t a good evening.  I was homesick for Oklahoma.  I just wanted something normal.   

Driving around in the desert to shoot the stars.  My divorce was just finalized and I’ve been feeling lost.