Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I've mentioned that I'm taking a black and white film photography class this semester that I'm really enjoying. Well last night we got an assignment to take a roll of photos at various times of day. We need the photos for Wednesday's class. One of the times of day he wants us to shoot is at high noon, or basically any time between 11:30 am and 12:30 pm when the sun is at it's highest and strongest. So I had this great idea that I would go to a nearby trail and hike so I could pictures of the sun on the rock outcroppings. Doesn't that sound great? I know, right? About 10:30 this morning I look at the thermometer sitting at 85 degrees and start thinking that maybe I should figure out someplace else to go photograph. But I can't think of anything that's appealing that I haven't already done. At 11:15 I get in my car with my camera bag and my water bottle and drive to the trail head. Before I get out, I check my car's thermometer and see the temps have risen slightly to 87 degrees. Not unbearable, yet. So I head out.

I haven't hiked in a good six months or better. And I'm pretty sure I've gained back most of what I'd lost the last time I was hiking. So, out of shape, overweight, haven't done anything in awhile, temps slightly uncomfortable and I'm carrying an extra ten pounds of gear on my back. Should be fun.

Now I have a methodology for hiking that gets me through most of the misery. It's a highly technical method called "don't look up." See, if I don't see how far I have to go, it's not so overwhelming. So I shuffle along looking at the ground directly in front of my feet and just take one step at a time. All I'm trying to do is get to one of the peaks in enough time to get some decent pictures. I will say that I didn't do as badly as I thought I would. But it wasn't pretty. Also, I didn't get passed by the normal train of people either. No kids, old people, morbidly obese, people on crutches or three legged dogs. Just a few people in reasonably good shape. So I didn't feel too badly.

Anyway, I got up to where I needed to be in plenty of time, took my pictures and headed back down. And would you believe that the downhill was actually worse? I think it's because the temperature had risen by that point and the sun was beating on my head. I hadn't had enough sense to wear the hat I keep in the car because when I started there was some cloud cover and I thought I would be fine. Not so much. At high noon there's absolutely no shade on the trail. I ended up stopping more frequently on the way down than I had on the way up. By the time I got to the bottom my brains were fried. Once I got into my car I cranked the ac and just sat there for a few minutes while I cooled off. The temperature had hit 91 by the time I got back to my car.

Obviously, for health reasons, I need to do this more often. Just a whole lot earlier in the day. And preferably without the extra ten pounds of cameras.