Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its seventh year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

Comments, thoughts, or just a friendly chat, use the response box below or email me at patrickgroleau@gmail.com.

March 30, 2013

2013 WANDER-ABOUT: DAYS 7 & 8

NIKON D200-SIGMA 100-300@300mm-F7.1-1/800th-ISO400
... we saw so much during the short time we were in montana and the black hills that the two days seem like one, so i've combined them into a single journal entry ... here, you can see that while crossing the high prairie it seems as much as we watched we were being watched ...

NIKON D200-SIGMA 100-300@300mm-F7.1-1/1250th-ISO400
... as exciting as it was to encounter these big furry beasts, by having the car washed while we were in rapid city we missed the opportunity of a lifetime to see buffalo "up close and personal" ... from what we heard, had we left the road salt on the side of the car the buffalo would have come right up to lick it off ... then again, looking at those horns and thinking of my car's paint job, perhaps that was an experience well avoided ... we also missed some rather dramatic close-up shots of several of these animals almost touching the front bumper of the car, seems adrien forgot to put the battery in her camera (and, yes, i'd left mine in disassembled in the bag that was in the back seat) ...

OLYMPUS EP-1 PROJECT
... 137 years have gone by ... long ago the last drops of blood washed down the hill, to be carried by the gentle currents of the little big horn river on a journey to become part of a far-away sea ... it matters not the color, red for the native and white for interloper, the tombstones are equally silent ... in the breeze is a whisper of chief joseph's voice, words that now apply to all those who here quietly repose:

... "from where the sun now stands, i will fight no more forever" ... 

OLYMPUS EP-1 PROJECT

... "a cheyenne warrior fell here on june 25, 1876,
while defending his homeland and the cheyenne way of life"...

... as a child i was fascinated with the story of george armstrong custer and the battle of the little big horn, and i had always wanted to visit the "custer battlefield national monument" ... as an adult, i am pleased that instead i had the opportunity to walk across the "little bighorn battlefield national monument," happy that the renaming was a recognition of the truth that history was much different than the myth i had grown up believing .... if you are one who has studied this moment unique to two cultures, i highly recommend a visit ... the marked relief of the terrain, the lonely sound of the wind whistling through the dry grass, the sense of spirit and spirits that pervades the landscape, all must be felt firsthand in order to fully understand this place of broken promises and dreams ...

OLYMPUS EP-1 PROJECT
... surviving a close call with a herd of antelope, enjoying the thrill of $3.23/gallon gasoline, reliving my youth as we legally flew low across the prairie at speeds that would be a criminal offense back home, all were part of our drive through montana and wyoming to rapid city ... adrien had managed our motel reservations, so we drove directly to mount rushmore to view it during the limited time they light it at night ... courtesy of the current budget cuts, the gate to the monument was untended so we got in for free ... the freezing mountain air did nothing to diminish the impressive sculpture, but, for me, the modern multi-story parking lot and fancy visitor facilities seem out of place when i recall the rustic buildings that have been replaced ... i accept that four-lane highways and the bus tour industry equal progress, but i don't have to appreciate it ...

OLYMPUS EP-1 PROJECT
... smart planning, we got up early and drove up to the top of the black hills to be first in line to take a tour of the jewel cave ... i lost the tickets, a nice man turned them in to the ranger ... good things happen .... the tour was fabulous ... we had no idea that the cave, the second largest in the world, has over 165 miles of mapped passages, and yet, as the ranger told us, has probably only been 5% explored ...

OLYMPUS EP-1 PROJECT
... when adrien told me that we would be climbing over 700 stairs, i was a bit hesitant, but our two hour underground stroll turned out to be less strenuous a hike than i'd worried ...

NIKON D200-NIKKOR 18-135@48mm-F7.1-1/1000th-ISO100
... from the jewel cave we drove across the mountains to visit the great carving of crazy horse ...

NIKON D200-NIKKOR 18-135@90mm-F10-1/250th-ISO200
... to get a sense of scale, consider that the opening beneath what will eventually become his outstretched arm is large enough to contain a ten-story building ... i remember when the face was just a rough outline, my understanding is that it will probably be at least another generation before the sculpture will be completed ...

NIKON D200-NIKKOR 18-135@52mm-F6.3-1/5000th-ISO6400
... i think this was one of adrien's best jumps of the entire trip ...

... the story behind the crazy horse memorial is both fascinating, and, as i've discovered from a bit of research, equally intriguing ... whatever your feelings about chopping up a mountain to make a statue, it remains a place worth visiting ...

NIKON D200-SIGMA 100-300@300mm-F10-1/1500th-ISO200

NIKON D200-SIGMA 100-300@300mm-F8-1/1500th-ISO400
... our drive out of the black hills was an experience in and of itself ... i would have taken more pictures to share what we saw, but i figured if i stopped every time i felt the urge to pick up my camera we'd have been on that road for at least a week ... all of you, try to figure a way to do it, take a drive from 6,000 feet up in rugged south dakota highlands down along the edge of nebraska's sand hills all the way to the platte river ... i promise, it'll be worth the effort ...

... we're at jon's, in ohio ... enjoying the local sites as a family ... more later, for sure, but for now i'm exhausted ...