Finding Grace

Discussion in 'Travelogue' started by MonikaC, Nov 21, 2018.

  1. MonikaC

    MonikaC Supporting Member

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    On Nov 3, 2018, my husband was finally released from the terrible pain of pancreatic cancer. He had been diagnosed less than 8 weeks before. We were fortunate enough to have a very good friend be in the position to leave his life & wife in OR to live with us & be our advocate. We kept calling him our angel. How he managed everything was absolutely amazing.

    A week after Chips death, I was able to get out of Dodge. Packed up the dog & headed west. Our 30th anniversary was earlier in the year, but our busy schedules kept us from celebrating. We had planned to go 5 months later, in October, on a road trip to the Ancient Bristlecones. Instead, I went in on a memorial trip in November. Those ancient, enduring trees were an important step in my healing. I was able to find clarity & wholeness in the wilderness of the Eastern Sierras; finding beauty & calm while my dog bounded joyously through the meadows.

    These shots have been minimally processed on my laptop, so all c&c are welcome for when I get home & have my desktop to work on the processing.


    First stop was Zion. The high was in the low 40s and the ranger at the backcountry desk cautioned that there was probably ice there. She also talked about how much trail work they’d done there & emphasized to stay in the river bottom. The trail was much easier to find than previously (maybe because it was my 3rd time), and almost all of the photographers were coming out by the time I got to Archangel Falls, where 1 other photographer was on his way in.
    Archangel-2018B&W-copy.jpg Subway-tree-copy.jpg


    Across from the cut where people shoot the rushing water with leaves on the sides, icicles hung from the vegetation. It was hard to shoot it because of the bright sky and ice from the drips below, so I settled for a documentary shot.
    Zion-cut-copy.jpg Subway-ice-copy.jpg Subway-icicles1-copy.jpg


    At the Subway, the only icicles were the size of Vienna sausages, which was disappointing, but I was the only photographer there. The other fellow politely waited below until I was done (kind of unheard of!)
    Subway2018-copy.jpg
    Next stop was the Bristlecones. Upon arrival, I had time to walk the little nature trail at the Schulman Grove. The trees that everybody shoots (Jim Fox said one is called the Sentinel and I’ve also heard it called the Galaxy Tree) now have most of the shattered rock that keeps the competition down for the bristlecones is gone: pretty clearly paths of photographers getting to their tripod placement. There are signs asking people to keep off of it.
    Bristlecone-pair-b&w-copy.jpg small-bristlecone-dustb&wcrop-copy.jpg


    The next day I went to the Patriarch Grove, with stops along the way. That grove was my husbands favorite. I had it and the Grandview Campground to myself all night and through the next morning. It was a turning point in finding peace.
    On up to Mono Lake. I camped a few miles past South Tufa, with the dog curled up next to me. At 19 degrees, I was ready to get moving in the morning. The smoke from the other side of the Sierras hardly made it over to the east side & there was a decidedly un-spectacular sunrise (as was the sunset). I went to a place outside of the Park (so I could take my dog) that I’d been to about 9 years previously. I thought of it as the Place of 1000 Tarns, though the official name is 20 Lake Basin. I found some interesting ice patterns in some of the lakes under North Mountain.
    Tufas-B&W-copy.jpg backlit-tufas-rabbitbrush-copy.jpg North-Peak-copy.jpg


    While some of us are fortunate enough to go to where there are hundreds of these ice bubbles, I found just this one. I did, however, decide that it was just perfect.

    ice-bubble-copy.jpg
     
  2. AlanLichty

    AlanLichty Moderator

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    Very sad to hear of your husband's passing but glad to hear your tale of healing. I find this whole set of images a beautiful memorial and wouldn't change a thing from your edits. That first B&W of the waterfall is especially nice. I like the eastern Sierra shots - especially both of the ice shots.
     
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  3. JimFox

    JimFox Moderator
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    You and your husband have been in my thoughts over the last few months Monika. It is really awesome that you guys have a friend who was able to come and help through that very trying and painful time.

    Your current journey definitely sounds like a journey of healing and hope, I think you wandered to all of the places you were supposed to.

    I am sure that I speak for everyone here, if there is anything you need or in anyway we can help as a family, be sure to let us know.

    As for your photos, like Alan I think they look great and I can’t think of a thing I would change.
     
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  4. Ben Egbert

    Ben Egbert Forum Helper
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    So sorry to hear of your loss Monica. This trip and the photos that you have from it are a very fitting memorial.
     
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  5. JimFox

    JimFox Moderator
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    Monika, you are getting today's Featured Post. I can't use my normal wording as that wouldn't sound appropriate, but your message here is worth featuring.
     
  6. MonikaC

    MonikaC Supporting Member

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    Thanks, Jim.
     
  7. Kyle Jones

    Kyle Jones Moderator

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    I'm so sorry for your lost Monika. These images are definitely a beautiful testament to your husband.
     
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  8. Jim Dockery

    Jim Dockery Well-Known Member

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    Monika, I've been missing your participation here of late, but now know why. My heart goes out to you. I've often thought how hard it would be to go on without my wife who has been my climbing/hiking/skiing companion for 28 years. I think I would have to take a trip like that too and let the mountains and desert sooth my soul. I'm glad you managed to find some quiet in these often crowded areas. Like Kyle says these beautiful pictures are a wonderful testament to your husband.
     
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  9. Jameel Hyder

    Jameel Hyder Well-Known Member

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    Heartfelt condolences Monika. We have different ways we find a way to heal. Glad that this trip of yours provided you an opportunity. Nice images and like others said a fitting memorial.

    Take care.
     
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  10. Amy Nelson

    Amy Nelson Supporting Member

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    I'm so very sorry to hear of you loss Monika, I too lost two loved ones to that wretched disease this year and know the pain and heartache it leaves behind...my heart goes out to you. Your images are gorgeous as is!
     
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  11. Leslie Hunter

    Leslie Hunter Well-Known Member

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    So touching, good for you to go on a path to healing.
     
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  12. Mike Lewis

    Mike Lewis Staff Member
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    I am a recently new member, so cannot claim the privilege of getting to know you online yet, but I can sympathize with your pain. My brother passed away in 2018 from Prostate Cancer, and although his journey with the disease was much longer and should have prepared us for his passing, it really didn't work that way.

    These images are beautiful in their own right, but made more so by understanding the emotion behind the making of them. Thank you for sharing them, and I sincerely hope they help you to come to grips with your loss as best you can.

    ML
     
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