Here’s another photo I took on my most recent sojoun to Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, Alaska. I’d been hoping to find some scenes like this, but they’re hard to come by. Fresh snow still sitting on a spruce tree, in nice warm sunshine. Usually, after a nice dump of snow, wind blows it off the trees before the weather clears up enough for this kind of photo. One calm evening I went up on this ridge, not a breath of air was stirring down in the forest at the cabin. But up high, the wind was blowing like crazy .. it was weird, it’d blow really hard for a few seconds, a gust, then stop and all was perfectly still for a few seconds, then the wind would kick up again, often from exactly the opposite direction it had last came. This went on for a few hours. I didn’t shoot much that afternoon, but it was cool to see this crazy weather. A few days later, after we’d had some more snow fall, up I went again, and got some nicer conditions. The light was nice, and the air perfectly calm. What was most fun, though, was that the temperature was markedly warmer up higher. The cold air tends to sink into the valley there, and the difference can be considerable – often as much as 20-30 degrees. Being up on a high ridge in great weather, with tolerable temperatures, is a treat. I spent Winter Solstice and New Years Eve up here – absolutely awesome afternoons!
I’ll be going back over to the park soon – I would’ve already headed that way, but I had a small incident on Sunday that delayed my plans. Recently, I’ve had some ankle problems that I associated with riding my snow board – though it didn’t feel like a sports injury, I knew I was too young to be simply suffering any old age disease. SO I turned 40 on Thursday, and woke up on the weekend with this insane pain in my left ankle – the recent problems had been in my right ankle, so whatever ailment I was enduring (stoically, of course) had somehow switched ankles. I ruled out any real injury and knew exactly what was going on.
Turns out my father gave me gout. And I’ll tell you this. Gout hurts like nobody’s business. I can hobble around, a little, but I don’t think I’m up for a run in the woods in Wrangell – St. Elias National Park. Ice helps, a lot, and I’m also taking some anti-inflammatory stuff, and a pain killer. I’m all for the pain killer, but it’s more a pain duller than a killer. Hopefully this little episode will end soon enough and I can get back to the park. Unfortunately, they seem to think gout is genetic, and doesn’t really go away – stays with ya, and pops up until you can find out what triggers it. Hopefully turning 40 triggered it, for me, as that’s pretty much a one time deal. “They” say it usually kicks in at middle age – which means I’m gunna live til I’m 80 – unless the gout proves fatal. We’ll see, eh?
Oh, and for those still wondering, the little audio file on my Pine Grosbeak post was taken from the tune ‘Pretty Man’, by Prince. Get your iTunes out and listen to the song – way cool.
And Lastly, here’s another version of the same scene, reworked as a black and white photo.