Sunday, August 26, 2012

Concordia Eco Tents, St. John

This spring some friends of ours asked us if we were interested in going on vacation with them to St. John's in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  They had researched the trip and found a great place to stay called Concordia Eco-Resort on the southeast end of the island.  So this July we met them and rented two "tabins" as we liked to call them and had a great trip.  I've never stayed in a place that had such an incredible view!

The tabins were "eco" because all of the electricity was from solar power, the water was from rainwater, and the toilets were composting.  I was a little worried about the toilets, but they worked great and were totally fine.  Our main problem was our tent's location didn't get much wind and there was not any air conditioning so it got hot a night.  Our friends stayed in P11 and had an incredible breeze the entire time.  Our tent also had more mosquitoes because of this lack of breeze.  If we went again I would want to stay in any tent from P17-P11, although the edge tents might get a little too much breeze (see property map here). 

As you can see in the photo above the walk to the beach was short: maybe about 10-15 minutes.  The snorkeling was awesome at this beach and on the whole island.  I got to see a hawksbill turtle, a nurse shark, rays, tons of colorful fish, starfish, and really incredible corals.  I wish we had purchased an underwater camera for the trip because it was truly amazing down there. 

The photo above is of tent P10 and the photo below is the inside of P11.  We (I should say Ken) did a lot of cooking in the tent.  The stove was powered by propane and there is also a small solar-powered refrigerator.  The water in the tent is not potable, but the potable water was close just had to fill up some water jugs and bring it back. One of the best features of the tents were the balconies.  At night you could see the Milky Way and lots of shooting stars.  

We had a wonderful trip. Thank you Ken, Susan, Ellie, & Ian for including us on your vacation!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Garden of the Gods

I wasn't going to post any more pictures from the Taos trip, but when I went back through I just had to post these Garden of the Gods photos.  The last day of the trip we drove up through Colorado to catch our flight in Denver and Christina (my travel partner) suggested we stop here.  It was a super hot and sunny day but it was worth it to see these amazing rock formations.   I love the color of the rocks and how their surfaces have been worn smooth. The second photo below was one of my favorites and reminded me of Jabba the Hutt. Oh, and if you look really closely you can see a climber in the photo above.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Taos Sketchbook

Now that you've seen all my photos from my Taos trip I thought I'd finally scan some of my sketches from my homemade sketchbook.   I'd say about half of these were done on the trip and the other half I did back at home.  I think if I had to do the trip over again I would force myself to do more sketching on site.  It was just hard not to take photos because I love taking photos and there was so much awesomeness to photograph. 

My goal is to keep this sketching habit up and to force myself to draw more.  It is amazing how much it informs my other work and how freeing it is to just draw...with real pencil and paper and no computer!  A bit scary at "undo" button, but it forces me to be present in the moment and that is always a good thing.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cowboy Country

These are the last of my Taos photos.  The photo above was taken of a driveway entry portal across from the Earthships near Taos.  I love when people take the time and initiative to do something interesting when they could have chosen otherwise.

The branch below and the Sacred Heart Church (third photo down) were both taken on the road to Taos from Santa Fe.  There is a highway between the two, but if you ever get the chance to drive the back way it is a wonderful scenic drive.

The two sunset photos were taken south of Taos at a rest stop.  One night our group went up there to take photos of the sunset and it did not disappoint.  I decided to spare you and not post all 100 photos I took that evening.  It was hard to narrow it down to just two because the whole sky changed so dramatically every minute. The following quote is from Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather and is one of my favorite descriptions of New Mexico:

"The sky was as full of motion and change as the desert beneath it was monotonous and still,—and there was so much sky, more than at sea, more than anywhere else in the world. The plain was there, under one's feet, but what one saw when one looked about was that brilliant blue world of stinging air and moving cloud. Even the mountains were mere ant-hills under it. Elsewhere the sky is the roof of the world; but here the earth was the floor of the sky. The landscape one longed for when one was away, the thing all about one, the world one actually lived in, was the sky, the sky!"

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

New Mexico Flora

"One morning I started out along the curving path behind our garden and it was one of the most lovely days I had ever seen, so still and mellow and fragrant, and every leaf and every flower petal seemed new and as though they had opened within the hour and were breathing quietly and deeply in the silent gold and blue day." -Mabel Dodge Luhan

I just finished reading Edge of Taos Desert today and this lovely quote inspired me to post my favorite plant photos from the Taos trip.  The desert never ceases to amaze.  I don't understand how plants survive out there in the hot sun with hardly any water, let alone produce their incredible flowers.  I'm not sure what the plant is in the photo above, but just look at it...those wild, frilly-headed flowers just can't get enough sun! And I wasn't laying on the ground to get this photo; the plant was probably six feet tall!  If one had the assignment to create a plant that was joy incarnate this would be it.  Which reminds me of another Mabel quote that is the perfect ending to this post:

"I had a sudden intuition right then that here in this country life could come to one more concretely than in other places, and that meanings that were shut up in words and phrases out in the world could incorporate themselves in living forms and move before one.  Ideas here might clothe themselves in form and flesh, and word-symbols change into pictured, living realities."