Sunday, September 12, 2021

Hike Along El Capitan Trail

(Above:  Selfie with El Capitan in the background.  Taken while having a picnic breakfast.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

My month-long art residency here in Guadalupe Mountains National Park in west Texas is quickly coming to an end. The experience continues to be inspirational on several levels. I've hiked lots of different trails and seen all sorts of wildlife.  I'm learning about "wilderness", as an officially designated area with the nation's highest level of natural conservation.  I've taken hundreds of photos, but I haven't blogged as often as I would have liked.  Why?  Well ... the truth of the matter is that I am in the midst of learning a new system ... Windows 10.  I know!  I know!  Most people have already upgraded.  Steve and I didn't ... until a week before I left home.

(Above:  El Capitan as the first rays of dawn's light hit it.)

Our old laptop's internal fan is broken.  Every day there's a chance the entire device will fail.  I didn't want to risk going to Texas and ending up unable to use my laptop. So, we bought a new one over a tax-free weekend. 

My laptop is important to me ... and not just for art residencies or other times when I'm away from my home computer.  My laptop is where I write "Morning Pages", a daily, ritual habit after Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way.  I have stream-of-consciousness journal entries written on my laptop (and backed up on an external hard drive) since fall 2007.  I can't imagine spending time in nature without the ability to record the sensations and thoughts in my own words.  I NEED my laptop.  It is essential to my creative life.

(Above:  El Capitan after the rosy glow of sunrise burns off.)

Here's one of my problem!  New laptops no longer for slots for CDs.  This means that my Photo Shop CDs cannot be used to install them on the new laptop.  Nowadays, those who want to use Photo Shop purchase an on-line subscription.  I haven't done this (yet ... the day will unfortunately come).  Instead, I've brought along the old laptop which has my familiar Photo Shop program.  Every image I've taken has been uploaded to the old laptop, color & contrast corrected, saved to the external hard drive and then uploaded to the new laptop (which does have a better wireless connection here in the park and is much quicker ... and less likely to "die" at any given moment.)  It is a pain!

(Above:  As close as one gets iconic El Capitan when on its namesake trail.)

Here's another one of my problems:  The new laptop's default for photos is insane.  There's all these little images in "recent to oldest" order.  Even though I've carefully changed the filenames, the images don't list alphabetically.  Alphabetization isn't even an option.  Finding my "folders" (away from this default) took a week or so.  I'm also used to opening folders in multiple screens.  I haven't figured out how to do many of the tasks that have been, up to this point, rather automatic.  I am learning ... slowly.  It has cut into my time for blogging.

(Above:  The rather flat, stone base of the wash where the El Capitan Trail meets the Salt Basin Overlook Trail.)

Now, after three-and-a-half weeks, I've finally gotten all my saved images onto the new laptop.  I must be getting used to it (and I do love the feel of the keyboard!)  So ... today I'll write several blog posts.  These were things I planned to do earlier.  But, better late than never!

(Above:  Some of the delicate flowers along the trail.)

This post shows an early morning (as in starting before dawn) hike along the El Capitan Trail.  From my vantage point, I couldn't see the sunrise but I did see the first, rosy rays hitting the iconic mountain face.  I brought my breakfast with me and sat on the flat, stone wash near where the El Capitan Trail intersects the Salt Basin Trail.  In my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful spots in the entire park.  This is likely because there's a nearby natural spring.  The plant life is amazing. Bird were everywhere.   

(Above:  Detail of one of the cactus plants along the El Capitan trail.)

Few people ever take this trail and find this spot.  Sitting there was a moment when I felt one with nature.  Julia Cameron writes about "filling the well".  This is the time when an artist finds inspiration in its divine origin.  Creativity isn't necessarily ideas for new work but the result of a refreshed soul.  This art residency is less about the artwork that I will make in the future but the ways in which I've tended my own spirit.  Yes ... I wrote all about this in my Morning Pages.

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