It was back in 2004 that I got serious about getting out into the wilderness areas, state parks, and National Forests and Parks again. I'd been too busy for too many years doing other things and it had become a rare day for me to go hiking or camping or backpacking. Since then, I've been pretty busy in the outdoors, but now the writing business has been keeping me far too busy to go into the fresh air the way I need to do.
Having what amounts to two jobs has become quite a burden. I can't quit the day-job just now, so I'm going to have to cut back on the amount of time I spend writing. There's nothing else for it, because I stay physically and mentally exhausted working on novels, short stories, and doing my utmost to meet deadlines. I have some publishing commitments to keep, but after that I'm going to cut back on my writing. If I don't, I'll probably drop dead from the pressure.
Following are some photographs from a hike I took in 2004 when I first started back into that. I love hiking. I find the solitude soothing. Being away from the sounds of other people, and far away from the constant grind and roar of machines is something that I have to do from time to time. The more often I can do it, the better.
The first six photos were taken in June 2004 in Holly River State Park in West Virginia. This park is especially pretty, and I'd love to go back for a visit. Carole and I tried to do that this past Fall, but there was some kind of horrible gathering taking place there so that when we arrived the park was packed to capacity and beyond. It was horrid. We might as well have been in Times Square! We ended up heading over to Kumbrabow State Forest where we indeed found some solitude and quiet, if not quite the level of natural beauty.
This is the top of a waterfall known as Shupe's Chute. So designated because the entire contents of the North Fork of the Holly River gets squeezed through a rock channel that's so narrow you can actually jump across it.
The picturesque Chute, itself. The day I was there, the water levels were way up and the noise from Shupe's Chute was deafening.
The water from the Chute has ground and sliced its way through this very hard and durable rock. You can physically feel the power of the water from a distance as it slams its way down the mountain.
The pool at the base of the Chute almost begs for you to go swimming. The week Carole and I were there, although it was early June, was far too cold for swimming. The days were overcast with almost constant rain, and the temperature never cracked 60 degrees.
This waterfall was along the Holly River above Shupe's Chute. There was so much water in the mountains while we were there that we saw waterfalls where there might likely only be such every ten years or so.
And a much more recent photograph taken by my son, Andy, of me and Carole on the Gardiner River in Yellowstone National Park. This is a spot where you can mix the water from a hot spring with the frigid waters of the Gardiner River and create a nice pool of warm water for soaking.