What Happens At A 15,953 Foot Altitude With 16 People?

altitude-sign-at-jose-rivas-refuge-on-volcano-cotopaxi-2017
Altitude Sign At Jose Rivas Refuge on Volcano Cotopaxi 2017

One more Bucket List item, or sorta, removed. Since the Ecuadorian Volcano, Cotopaxi, is considered in an eruptive state, scaling to the top is still off limits. No, there is no actual eruption, at least in the sense of lava flowing from the top. No huge molten boulders flying Continue reading “What Happens At A 15,953 Foot Altitude With 16 People?”

Is Trying To Describe An Image Like Stopping The Wind?

With over 60,000 photos on my hard drive it is difficult to choose just one image to tell a story. The reason there are so many is that they all tell stories, of that exact moment when I saw something nearly indescribable, beyond those 1,000 words photos are known to evoke.

Words have not yet been created that can adequately describe the smell of Lavender, texture of a cloud, the merging of colors newly created by the setting sun on the pallet of clouds sitting on the horizon, bathing the mountain ridges in yet different hues.

Wp Project Everydayinspiration

The droplets from morning fog in off the Cuicocha lagoon bathing deep purple petals, new fallen snow on volcano Cotopaxi creating a new coat of white, covering up her wounds from burning ashes, the ruggedness of Mt. Cuicocha jutting up into the atmosphere like a gigantic shark’s tooth, the cascading waterfall of Cascada Condor Machay, defy mere words to describe.

Place yourself in those images in an attempt to be fully descriptive. Feel the pounding of the waterfall on your body as you swim under it, attempting to describe the pounding descending from 60 meters up, with the chill, needle-like droplets attempting to invade your body. Go ahead, attempt to do it justice with words, while a photo still leaves much to be said of the actual event.

It’s in the moment when those droplets of dew, as they were transported from the lagoon, bathe not just the deep purple petals with fairy like kisses, rather embrace all within reach with gentle caresses.

Water, lagoons, clouds, mountain peaks, trees, flowers, speak a language foreign to all but them. Interpretations are limited in futile attempts to describe something limitless. How to relate the feel of the purple petal being bathed, or the clouds as they joyfully arrange themselves to be part of a one of a kind tapestry.

Life is more than one image and travels at light speed, changing too quickly to present an isolated view. To think that an entire moment has been captured with naked eye or camera lens is like picking a poppy seed from a salad, claiming to have seen the entire concoction.

We see only a portion of what surrounds us, failing to fully appreciate the dimension and depth. It passes us by without fanfare, yet aware of our presence. We are known and understood. The clouds observe all and share with the stars, moon and sun. Mountains tell tales of those who would be fooled thinking they have conquered these colossal’s, present for more than a mere breeze passing.

Sit in an image and tell a story if you will, never realizing the finiteness of your presence by comparison. Inhale the joy of life given off by all these visions, knowing not one part will remain in the next second as it was, constantly changing to present a new thing.

As I look out my window doves are vying for my attention, determined to let me know they see me in their world. Clouds are wandering off in continuous display, some engulfing mountain peaks, others defying form or function. Capture that if you will.

I’m gonna have some coffee!

Is What I Think About To Write None Of Your Business?


At the very least that title should have gotten your attention. Thoughts perhaps of, “Who the heck does he think he is saying that?” I can only imagine some more colorful thoughts laced with stronger words.

Recently in response to a writing challenge I find myself really doing what I have needed for decades. Consistent writing on an everyday basis. That challenge was over a month ago so it may be safe to say a habit has been formed, and quite honestly I have no desire to break the momentum.

A couple of my posts have been made about writing that sort of touched on why I write. Still as I sat gazing out my window at the clouds, thoughts began to enter that were a little more profound and not at all superficial, as I suspect the posts I made may have been.

While it’s true that I have been writing, or maybe better said journaling, for years, there was never a thought as to the why of it. Recording thoughts about events in life, creating a poem, building pages for my websites, being amazed at the depth afterwards discovered still amazes me. Fascination may be an even more descriptive word when rereading something written several years ago, or just months.

I have had to ask my wife on occasion, “Did I really write this?” On many of those moments she could indeed confirm. Yet I am left with, “Wow, I really did that?” Chances are it only amazes me and my wife. That seems confirmed by two eBooks I have out there that have not exactly caught fire with the reading public. Many explanations, not the least of which is promotion, could be the greatest reason.

Will that keep me from writing? Not a chance! Persistence not aimed at public acceptance in the first place has much to do with that. There are hundreds of files on my hard drive that have never see publication. It’s likely most never will.

The question at the beginning has not been ignored, rather I felt a little background might ease into that thinking.

Writing is a way of talking to myself silently, that examines those thoughts constantly emerging from my mind. Not common thoughts such as movie reviews or grocery lists. Deeper and abstract at times, which makes it impossible to create meaningful conversations with most.

One of my favorite games is to catch a thought at any point, and trace it back to it’s origin. While at first there seems to be no connection, excitement is finding there always is. The progression puts me in mind of the synaptic  transmission connection shown in various explanations through video or animation of how the brain works. photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/31189469@N05/11444773364">I'm Not In Love no.156</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>

Not many are ready for discussions that could center around such topics. More superficial musings tend to be prevalent, centered around sports scores, fantasy football, the latest video game, soap opera or movie. To me, very little brain power is required discussing such. Not an ego trip there, it just is what it is.

Thoughts have power, the harnessing of which is no easy feat. There’s a good bet that right now you may be thinking I have entered into some sort of fantasy. Scientific studies will prove me out with nothing more evident than the “Placebo Effect.”

Thoughts centered around a belief that something has taken place so strong, that even surgical procedures have shown to be slightly less effective over time than when there were none. A phenomena that has yet to be fully understood, for which the medical profession would prefer to ignore! Imagine people thinking themselves well, without a doctor. They would probably get burned at the stake!

The power of thought has shown it’s effect in my life over the years, so it is no mystery to me that it is real. Indulging in my thoughts then would seem to be somewhat understood if not acceptable or comprehended by others. There are those who may choose to label this as “crazy,” or even something as drastic as “schizophrenia.” Well, as stated in the title, what I think about to write is none of your business. Who really cares about what I think? Desiring to read it is a different story.

So there’s the challenge. Reading thoughts put to words not motivated by what the public wants to read. Rather ideas, musings, random wandering through the quagmire the mind can be, completely original offerings with more than just an intent to put things on a page. You get the chance to see deep inside, if you dare. I don’t know, but that sort of transparency could be scary for some, or many.

I’m gonna go watch some more clouds.

Would You Visit Ecuador With 30 Active Volcanoes?

Smokin'!
Smokin’!

Which ones are erupting? Are all 30 volcanoes spewing out lava? Is it true that all of them are active? What does it mean for a volcano to be active? Would I be in constant danger? How do I know I would be safe?

The last place you might want to be in your life is close to an erupting volcano. This natural phenomena is perhaps one of the most unpredictable occurrences. While it’s possible to have some degree of warning there is no absolute indication until the ultimate activity occurs.

Ecuador has a number of what are called “active” volcanoes. Active means a volcano that has erupted during the last 10,000 years. Seems a little over active, since there a likely few records to indicate such activity that many eons ago.

The most active in Ecuador are Tungurahua, Cotopaxi, Reventador and Sangay. These four are pretty much in constant activity, with Tungurahua being the most active since 1999. Cotopaxi has been the least active up until 2015, when it was almost certain a major seismic event was eminent. However at this point it has just been a lot of smoke!

So what has been the history of danger to tourists regarding injuries from volcanoes in Ecuador? Couldn’t find any. It seems for the most part common sense has prevailed and the many other attractions in Ecuador have garnered attention.

Really, why not appreciate from a distance the light show a volcano can produce, especially at night. The most visible active volcano is Tungurahua, with it’s streams of lava shooting high into the night sky. While it is spectacular, Ecuador is rich with volcanic lagoons such as Cuicocha, Quilotoa, Lago San Pablo and many more.

The Amazonia in the jungles of this country offer a completely different view of nature. Fresh water dolphins and manatees. Life without phones, cable, even electricity. Any electrical when available is by a power plant, but no direct connections with a utility.

Samona Lodge in the Cuyabeno Reserve.
Samona Lodge in the Cuyabeno Reserve.

There are many unique Lodges offering amazing opportunities to see the are from platforms in a 150 foot Kapok tree. Another has installed 3 towers connected by a walkway just above the treetops, providing a few of all the life that takes place at that level.

Opportunities to witness celebrations of the indigenous tribes in Puyo among others could be your once in a lifetime moments. Receiving a “cleansing” from a Shaman in La Victoriano in Cuyabeno could be life changing!

Spending time with the butterflies at the Emporium in Mindo is an eyeopener. Putting some banana juice on your finger to get one to the Monarchs or another to come to your hand and stay there consuming this sweet nectar, will have you amazed at such a delicate interaction.

Amazing what happens with a little banana juice!
Amazing what happens with a little banana juice!

Soaring up to 13,000 ft. on the Teleferico provides a view not only of Quito, but the Cordillera and the “Avenue of the  Volcanoes” plus a breath-taking panorama of Quito and the various peaks of Mt. Pichincha.

The Volcano Park is also a great attraction for the kids, and there’s the chance to actually hike up to the peak of Rucco Pichincha, but your better have your “high altitude” lungs ready for some exercise.

Looking up towards Rucco Pichincha.
Looking up towards Rucco Pichincha.

There’s what water rafting, rainbow trout fishing in the rivers behind Mt. Cayambe, or just trekking the many mountain trails guides will be happy to show you.

So would you visit Ecuador with 30 active volcanoes? Since no planes have been blown out of the sky by flying gigantic boulders being shot out of a volcanic crater, or humongous  flames belching from the same source, you should feel safe. For that matter, planes don’t go near enough for that to even remotely occur.

So the answer to the question is, “YES!” Come on down and see what Ecuador is all about…besides volcanoes.

Resting In The Clouds!

Anyone following my writing may think I have a thing about these billowing formations. Somehow there is a connection.

So what’s it feel like to hang out in a cloud? There are times when some might have suggested being in a “fog,” or that muddled thoughts might be similar. But have you ever been in a real cloud? Where you are high up in the altitude, like flying in a plane, only there is nothing between you and the cloud. Yeah, that kind of cloud.

Since most do not possess the ability to fly like birds, getting high enough to be in a cloud in the first place may seem a little daunting. The easy way, of course, is to find something high enough where a cloud might be likely to pass over. Like say, a mountain top!

Ok, so pick any resident mountain top for your cloud experience. Got one in mind? No? Let’ see if this will help you out just a little. Go with me to Quito, Ecuador, to the top of a peak right behind the city. It is one of the peaks of Mt. Pichincha named Cruz Loma, at roughly 11,000 feet above sea level.

Now the road up to the table on top of this peak can barely be called such. It is more like the worst kind of riverbed with no water, where ruts nearly big enough to swallow a Jeep are threatening all along the way. Speed is not an issue because there isn’t any! You could almost go faster walking, except the altitude for those not used to it would leave you panting and gasping for breath.

So you endure the wild, bumpy ride that reminds you of what it must feel like for clothes being rubbed over the ole’ wash board. Or maybe you remember in the Five and Dime Store those penny boards where you could sorta “gamble” to increase the number of pieces of candy you could buy. When you put the penny in the slot at the top, remember how a coin going down one of those boards would hit those little pegs in it, causing the coin to erratically bounce all over the place. That might best describe your ride in the Jeep going up the trail to the mountain top. No, you don’t get extra candy!

But when you arrive with a chance to stretch your legs, and adjust the rest of your body, the panorama that greets you erases everything it took to get there.

No longer are you looking at buildings, or the sides of the road covered with overgrowth blocking any sort of view on the way up. Now you are treated to the absolute splendor of a panorama enjoyed by few in their lives. Up over two miles in the air, you see the city of Quito sprawled out in front and below you. Even the arriving jets were well beneath your height as they used to approach the runway at the Mariscal Sucre Airport, now located out in the valley.

Arriving takes your senses away for just a moment, before realizing you have a camera around your neck. And photos to prove you’ve been there to everyone back home are an absolute must for bragging rights! And then it begins to dawn on you just how far above everything you are.

Ecuador 1995-1 (14)

All that you see below is in miniature, nearly the same as when you see through the window from inside a jet as you approach any airport. Only you’re not in a jet, and you can feel the cool breeze blowing all around you to prove it. So you start snapping photos of each other, the city, the surrounding peaks, when all of a sudden you begin to feel a lot of humidity and it seems like fog is surrounding you. Say hello to the clouds.

The moisture begins to coat your eyebrows, clothing and all the others around you as they stand somewhat awed that they are actually engulfed in a cloud. Your skin now feels the dampness as well and you can see the undulation of the moisture as it passes by. Everyone has changed their appearance as water droplets coat everything, and the breathing feels strange because of the heavy air.

There is no way to know how big the cloud is, or if it will pass soon. It all depends on the time of year, as during the months of the rainy season the peak is generally surrounded by clouds all afternoon.  There are rarely clouds surrounding the peak through the 6 month dry season.

But you have just had a most unique experience, of being in the clouds. Your camera can tell the tale, as you most certainly have taken some photos…or did you? Were you so in the clouds that the suspense erased your conscious thoughts to capture the moment? If so, you could claim to have been on “Cloud 9!”

Are The Clouds In Your Life Dark Or With Silver Linings?

Who walks under a dark cloud? Isn’t this something everyone tries to avoid? Are there those who actually look for “dark clouds” and feel uncomfortable without one? Does that remind you of anyone?

Watching the clouds play with the mountain peak.
Watching the clouds play with the mountain peak.

Speaking for myself I don’t go out of my way to look for things to darken my day, clouds or otherwise. Do they come? If by that do I mean obstacles, difficulties, things I have to deal with that I would rather not? How about they arrive on a regular basis.

Over the decades I have become a survivor by nature. What that means is I have a low threshold with trust, so I learn how to deal with every situation that arises in a way that allows my survival mode to continue and thrive.

Are there consequences to that? I would be the first to say that on the outside it appears I am a very outgoing, friendly individual. That is a learned behavior. Yet under stress that friendly nature becomes very controlling and dominate! That tends to rub others the wrong way and gives the impression of aloofness and arrogance.

So what color are my clouds? I would have to say they are not black or gray. Maybe a little beige if there is such a thing, and a reasonable part of the time snowy white.

One of my favorite pastimes is taking photos of sunsets and sunrises. Now there are some amazing colors the sun can paste on those clouds. Colors I swear I’ve never seen before. Like a kaleidoscope some of the patterns seem similar, but it just never happens. There is always a slight difference with each turn of the tube. Clouds certainly fit that description, as do the colors that paint them.

And what is it about those puffy white accumulations of moisture in the air that has the tendency to make us feel good, positive, even happy? Well the happy part decidedly comes from within and is a choice. So how are the other two emotions accounted for as it relates to white, puffy clouds?

Are they somehow being related to whipped cream or cotton candy? The obvious association with two foods that are both sweet and enjoyable to most would not be a hard thing to accept.

Now when you put that spin on clouds, why would anyone want to ever go looking for the menacing, threatening black ones? Well, that’s not me so why even go there?

Clouds seem to have the ability to make me feel good, creating a positive feeling. I think the reality is that they always follow the storm, being a sign for the end of turbulence, the nearly overwhelming concussion of thunder and the threat of a lightening strike on your person.

It gave me cause to create a music poem, with spontaneous thoughts in league with musical inspiration. Instead of writing the words, music was played and the words were inspired by the sounds. It’s been added to this post so hopefully you will find it enjoyable.