Conversations with…

DSC_5355a mountain goat.

He did not speak.  There was no need.  His presence was enough.  His gaze spoke wonders.  He probably thought that I was nuts, but he did not move.  He sat there contently and listened to me speak.  I remember not what I said, just that for and hour I had a conversation with a mountain goat.
DSC_5303bwThat isn’t really lyrical. It’s actually true.  It was an early, early morning on my last in South Dakota.  I hadn’t hiked my favorite trail yet.  That of Little Devil’s Tower.  I also had not seen a mountain goat yet.  By this morning, I had about given up on seeing these bigfoots of the Blackhills and I had hiked so much by that day-I was a little hiked out. Still, I couldn’t fight this overwhelming “need” to make the hike.  So, I made the drive to Needles Highway and through the Needles and made my way to Little Devil’s Tower.

As I got out of the car, I made the executive decision to leave my camera behind.  My camera had practically been glued to my hand the entire trip…I wanted to be in the moment.  As a self-proclaimed photographer, I should no better than to leave my camera in the car. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

Little Devil’s Tower trail is not really for the weak hearted.  It’s about 1.2-1.5 mile but it is up hill and considered strenuous.  I don’t know if I would call it strenuous, but it is definitely a little challenging; especially, at 530 in the morning when you have spent your entire vacation walking trails that are miles and miles long and exposed to the elements.  I was in my element, but man that trail makes me work for it.

I was about a mile in, I think…almost to the top where all the trails meet (there is more than one way to get to the top).  I was tired, my joints were getting the best of me, pretty sure I was sweating even though it was not at all hot and then I see it.  I glanced to my right down, past the Cathedral’s trail and there he was sitting upon a rock with many of rocks between him and I.  DSC_5340Bigfoot.  No, I kid, but these guys-it is about like seeing Bigfoot.

I climbed, I maneuvered, and my way over to him as close as I could get.  I was on one rocky hill and he was a couple feet away from me on another.  I sat and looked at him. He sat and stared at me.

I had a sense of peace, which I know sounds funny-but I was at ease.  We had in silence for a bit and then I talked a little bit.  Ate some snacks.  Talked some more. Sat in more silence.  At that point, I started to realize that I really wish I had brought more than my cell phone.  I debated about going back to my car for the camera, but it was a long-long way back to the car.

If I went, would I even have the energy to make it back up?  Would he even be there?  I had to take a chance. I mean, did I really want to miss this opportunity.  The cell phone pictures I had decided to snap were just not going to do him any justice.  I climbed, I maneuvered, and I worked my way back to the path and ran all the way back down.  That 9 weeks of working out six days a week really paid off that day.  I made it back to my car and grabbed my camera.  As I headed back to the trail, I looked up-man, it was a long-long way back up that trail.  Off I went.

DSC_5338To my surprise, there he sat when I returned.  The sun was a little higher, but he was still there.  Staring at me contently once again.  And once again, I made my way over to my spot.  We talked some more, he allowed me to take some pictures, and after many of minutes passed, I decided to leave him be.  I said my thank yous and my goodbyes. I then make the wonderful maneuvering and climbing back to the trail.  I was not far from the top, but I debated about just heading back down.

I stared at him a few more minutes and looked up to the tower.  Mountain goat, tower, down the trail.  Finally, I decided that I put too much work into it just to go back to the car. I made my way up to the tower.  After more climbing and maneuvering, I reached my destination.  It was well worth the site.  That picture will come at a later time, but I also discovered that my buddy the mountain goat was not alone up there on those rocky inclines.
DSC_5376There was a fourth closer to my buddy, but I couldn’t get a good shot.  That is okay, because I think the ones that I did get made up for it.   They definitely made up for me going up and down that trail twice.  As did my conversations with a mountain goat.

Have a beautiful day and tomorrow.

Montana Rose Photography




DSC_0022 (3) I haven’t actually talked a lot about my trip itself.  I mean, I have but I haven’t.  Not sure why.  Maybe because I’m still unsure as to what I think about it. It is a little hard to explain.

This was a trip that was not planned.  At least not this exact trip.  I had taken some time off from work (my “pays the bills” job), because I was reaching my limitations.  Lacking my ability to maintain control over the mechanism that controls the filter between my brain and mouth.  When I get like that…it is best to take a day or two off in order to reset.  I think that we’ve all been there.

I knew that I wanted to do something those days, but I was unsure as to what it was.  I knew that I wanted to go camping, but I didn’t know where.  I had my ideas, but I also knew that finances wouldn’t allow for anything overly far or extravagant.  My original plan was Pictured Rocks in Michigan.  It looks interesting and I may still make my way there, but it did not happen this time.  I just wasn’t feeling it.  Then I was going to go to Glacier National Park in Montana…would make sense wouldn’t it?  For some reason, I just wasn’t feeling that either.  The drive, the time allotment, the mileage, the gas money, and it just didn’t feel right.  So, how did I end up in Wyoming?  Good question.

I was having a really bad day. I didn’t get off work on time, which confirmed Montana was out. I didn’t have anything prepared for any kind of trip. People were getting on my nerves.  It was now Saturday and I had lost 24 hours.  It was just one of those days (or number of days) when nothing was working out right.  Then I got sucked into Facebook with its negativity and  I saw a picture for Grand Teton National Park.  Next thing I know, it was three hours later and the zone and I were on our way.  I’ve never done that kind of thing before.

I’ve never really been the type of person to just spontaneously take off on a seemingly major road trip; especially, one that is over a good day’s drive.  One where I would only have a day or two before I would have to turn around and come back.  I always think things through. I weigh all my options. Take finances into consideration. I plan it out to the best of my ability with the understanding that things do not always go as plan. Still, I’m always cautious and careful.  This time, I was not. I just threw caution to the wind and went in with blindness and selfishness.

It is still a little surreal to me that I went.  One, because I did it spontaneously and two…because I did it spontaneously.  Also, just being there and seeing everything. The mountains, the clouds, the sky, the wildlife.  I know that sounds silly, but having been sucked into the Midwest for so long…the clouds and sky were just different in Wyoming.  The air was different. Anyone whom has traveled anywhere different from what they are use to….well, you know what I’m talking about.

It feels a bit like a dream. I guess, because I know that if I had planned it….truth is, that trip never ever would have happened.  I over-think things…A LOT. I always find some reason to not do something.  I think that is why I’m still in this state.  At my “pays the bills” job.  Holding on to bridges that probably should have been burned.  I think and think and think and over-think until I talk myself out of it.  I have got to stop doing that, because it is clear what kind of opportunities and experiences I may be missing out on.

I’m definitely glad that I took this trip. I’m not sure that I accomplished all the clear-headedness that I was wanting to achieve.  I was short on time and never got a chance to get some decent sleep in, but just the same.  I’m glad that I went.  I may be paying the consequences for making spontaneous and slightly careless decisions.  Still, had I not gone….I would not know for sure what I know now.  That is that I really do need to start being more spontaneous and not just thinking it.  Sometimes, we just need to shut off our brains and throw caution to the wind and maybe even let go of the rope.

Have a beautiful day and tomorrow.

DSC_0028 (3)Live, laugh, love, and let it ride.

Montana Rose Photography

Oh, Controversy

Normally, I try to stray away from controversy.  It is amazing that age can have that effect on a person. I mean when I was younger, I was all about making a stand and charging the masses with my controversial opinion.  These days…not so much.  Never discuss politics in polite company.  I’m not always good about that, but sometimes you just get pushed past the point of return on some subjects.  Either way, I’m better about it than I use to be.

Sorry for the quality. I actually took this one with my phone.

Sorry for the quality. I actually took this one with my phone.

When I first saw this sign, I was intrigued.  I had seen several monuments at Gettysburg by that point and it was the first time I could recall actually seeing this sign.  I would like to say that it took forever for me to figure out why this sign was in front of this particular monument and not others, but that would be lie.  Truth be told, I wasn’t at all surprised. Just surprised that we are still in age where this is an issue.  That shouldn’t surprise me either, though.

DSC_0772Good Ole General Lee upon Traveller standing high above his troops.  The Virginia Monument.  Now, I’m not about to take sides. I’m not about to get upon my soapbox (and it is overflowing).  I’m not going to give a history lesson. I’m not going to preach. I’m not going to open this up for political debate.

Truth be told, I’ve been procrastinating on posting these pictures.  To post pictures of a controversial man. To post pictures of Confederate monuments.  The audacity.  I can hear the critics now.

I find this to be a shame.  I’m a Civil War girl.  I’m a battlefield girl and I have so many pictures.  I should be able to share those without there being some hidden agenda.  Without there being some indication as to what side of the fence I stand on.  Truth be told, if you haven’t figured it out yet….I never stand on one side over the other.

The fence.  Sides of the fence.  Pick a side.  Please.  I’m usually the girl who finds the post in the middle.  I then stand upon that post perched like a bird shaking her head at the ridiculousness that arises from taking one side over the other.  There are always two sides to each story.  There is always controversy revolving around those stories.  For this reason, I like to know both sides before I step down from upon my perch to pick a side and join the masses.  That is if I choose to join the masses, but considering whom usually ends up talking for the masses…I tend to just stay upon my perch.

Then yesterday, I felt the southern girl pride come out or just the girl who has had enough of this ridiculous controversy and BS. It got a little bit harder to keep my mouth shut.

The Dukes of Hazzard being removed from TV Land  and other stations because of the General Lee… A CAR.  Yes, a car that dons the bars and stripes on the roof top, but a car in an iconic television show none-the-less.   One that I grew up watching. One that I still watch when I can.

A show that is hardly racist and probably one of the few shows from that era that didn’t have those hidden quips of racial stereotyping.  A TV Show, A Car. One that you watch and can realize in a minute that the General Lee had nothing to do with slavery, racism, or much else pertaining to the ignorance that arose from the Civil War . It’s a car, people.

The Duke Boys’ reason for the General Lee is a simple and traditional one, but I digress.  Now, I’m going to step down off that soapbox, because if I don’t we’ll be here forever.  I will say, though, enough is enough already. We are starting to cross a line.

DSC_0758I look at the photo above and I do fight the urge to put in my two cents.  A friend and I had a long conversation about it yesterday and I get it. I do.  This is a monument, though.  It represents what you want it to represent.  There are so many sides to every story.  What once was and what now is….are not necessarily on the same page.  Things now are now and not what it once was nor what it was necessarily meant to be.  Monuments, flags…the flag (you know which one)….they did not begin with what they became.  That was all the result of people doing all the wrong the things and going about making their stands all kinds of the wrong way.

Now in attempts to repair the past, we’re not doing such a good job at repairing the now.  Just sayin’.

I have other pictures from Gettysburg and I will be posting them.  They will not be General Lee, but when I go to battlefields, I respect both sides of the line.  Have a beautiful day.

DSC_0778Montana Rose Photography


DSC_0513I have never been a beach girl. I know, I know. One of the few out there in the world, but they had just never really appealed to me.  I’m the “sitting out at the lake in the middle of nowhere” kind of girl.  Still, when I heard of this beach I just had to go. 

I had just gotten a tent as my five year anniversary gift from my “actually pays the bills” job and I was dying to use it.  I love camping.  Sleeping out in a tent, bundled up in a sleeping bag, rocks sticking in your back, and taking in the stars all while lying beneath that big dark midnight blue sky…it makes my heart happy.  That one ridiculous rock and all. 

My first instinct was to go to Montana, Wyoming, or Colorado somewhere like that where the mountains are tall and the wild horses run free.  Being on a limited budget and not necessarily wanting to drive an entire day out, I did some research to see what my options were.  That is when I found it. 

SONY DSCAssateague National Seashore.  My new favorite place to visit.  Horses run free and sand under my feet…more appealing than what I thought.  With it only be a nine hour drive, the dog and I set out a few hours after midnight (to get an earlier start) and we were there by two or three in the afternoon.  There is a small possibility that my GPS may have taken us around every bloody freakin’ tow road there was increasing our drive.  Not to mention, apparently my GPS does not like Pennsylvania at ALL.  So, that was fun.  

We got to the campsite, set up the tent, and headed immediately to the beach.  I’m not going to say that I was immediately hooked, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t immediate see the appeal. That big blue Atlantic staring me in the face, warmth of the sand on my bare feet, and that May sun beaming down….yes, okay…I get it now. 

DSC_0002We had four glorious days on the beach.  Horses sneaking up here and there. It was quite a scene.  I had this vision, while planning my trip, of coming home with all these stories and finding myself.  Sitting on the beach, everything just kind of disappeared.  Clarity was clear as the sky, but stories didn’t come rushing in.  It was just a serene, peacefulness that sank in while basking in the sun.

Getting lost in the ocean.  Watching the beast (that is what I called my baby girl dog at the time) just soaking it all in. It was hard to want to think about…well, anything.  It is easier to enjoy the moment when you are not thinking. 

I still can’t say that I’m a beach girl.  I am never going to have the desire to live on the beach.  I will never say that I enjoy long walks on the beach.  I’m never going to enjoy that finding sand hiding a year later.  However, I can say I’d frequent a beach bond fire or two and that I will never turn down the 5am wake up call to watch a beach sunrise.  This will be why I’m going back at least one last time, because we never know what tomorrow will be and it is well worth the drive.

SONY DSCLive, laugh, love, and let it ride.

Montana Rose Photography

Returned Moments

Many of years ago I went to a concert with a co-worker.  I had been to many of concerts and had met many of country music singers.  I’m not going to go as far as to say that it was an ample amount, but it was a decent list. A longer list than a lot of people can say.  My co-worker, not quite the opportunities….or at least I don’t think. 

It’s funny  now, because I can’t really remember the exact month or year of the concert.  I just remember the performer, the gesture, the words said, and that I was okay with it. 

It was a Keith Anderson concert. I love me some Keith Anderson.  It was outside and after the concert he was signing autographs.  That is about the gist of the details that I remember as far as that goes.  I remember there being a relatively long line to get his autograph and that there was only one spot left.  There were two of us. 

I didn’t hesitate to tell my co-worker to go ahead and take the moment.  She insisted I should get in line with her anyway, but I respectfully declined.  It was not my first rodeo and I knew that it would not be my last.  Something told me that I would get the chance to meet Keith again at a later date. I just didn’t realize what kind of treat I would be in for.  I watched my friend enjoy the moment and went on with my night. 

A few days after the concert, she informed me how she and another co-worker thought that it was stupid and that I should have gotten in line.  I just smiled and said that it wasn’t my last chance.  2013, this would prove to be true. 

St. Patrick’s day weekend, Keith Anderson performed at the Hollywood Casino. I got a couple of friends to go with me and we stood two rows away from the stage.  We sang, moved, and had some amazing moments. More so when one of the guitar players, married, but hot guitar player, continued to look at me.  The woman in front of me would later get jealous when it became quite obvious that I was the one he was looking at.  My friends and I would laugh about it later. 

884398_485934481472227_1892612850_o(The quality is not as good on this picture. I had a far less superior camera at the time. )

The next moment would come when we finally got up to Keith Anderson for pictures and autographs.  I’m not the type of girl that stands in line for just anyone’s autograph, but he is one I will kindly do so for.  When I reached him, he wrapped his arm around me, kissed me on top of the head, and told me how pretty I was.  Moment returned.  I would see Keith again a year later, but I was unable to get his autograph due to some misunderstandings with the place of the event and Keith’s team.  He apologized about it when I mentioned it later on a tweet.  He truly is the man. 

DSC_0128I don’t know if I will get his autograph or even the chance to meet him again.  Or if I will even get the chance to meet that hot guitar player in person.  Did I mention, he sings as well as he plays?  His voice makes me swoon (and I’m not really the swoon type). Still the memories.  The smiles.  That is enough to keep this girl happy. Not to mention, I got some amazing shots to hold on to.  All good deeds, no matter how small, come back around.

DSC_0095 DSC_0078DSC_0077
Live, laugh, love, and let it ride.

Montana Rose Photography