These are just a jumble of some of my thoughts and memory vignettes form the trip.
Flash of Light
We were out all night at Bisti 3 times. When you're out at night, there are distinct phases which happen during the night. How the night unfolds depends on time of year, weather of course, and the moon cycle. For us, the phases were: Sunset, Nautical Twilight, the dark time when the Milky Way is very visible, and then moonrise and finally the glow that indicates sunrise is approaching.
Moonrise always lit up the landscape to the point where we did not need our headlamps to navigate the hoodoos
. You could just walk around in the dark, with no problem at all.During the dark time one night, I was talking to the instructor, and there was suddenly a flash of light!
The flash lit up the landscape the way moonlight does! My back was towards the flash, but the instructor said it appeared to come from one star in the sky.
He thought it was light from a supernova or something, with the light finally reaching us. The rest of the group (who were set up in a different place from me) also saw the flash, but their backs were to it as well.
I have not been able to find info on that anywhere online about it, and I have not reviewed my pics to see if my shutter was open during the flash.
Learned about Mongolia
One of the students was originally from Mongolia. She speaks Mongolian, of course, and I think Russian. She also is fluent-ish in German and English. I got to speak to her about where she grew up, and how Mongolian is written, etc.
A Little Cuddle
One of the folks at the workshop and I hug deeply whenever we see each other. This time there was more than a hug. We got some cuddling -- cheek to cheek (or beard to beard really). He was close to me, and leaned in to whisper something in my ear, so I put my arm around his waist and pulled him in for a cheek cuddle. It was nice.
One of the students provided WAY TOO MUCH information about his bodily habits. Do I really need to know that he gets sweaty balls? Or that he has hemorrhoids? Yea, so there's that.
Chaco Canyon came up in our conversations. One of the students had gone to Chaco (paid the permit, etc. etc.) for nighttime photography. While he was there, he and the ranger heard voices. He said it distinctly sounded like voices, and the temperature got cold. The ranger experienced the same thing.
I reminded me of when I was at Chaco (during the day), when I distinctly heard a child's laughter behind me. But there was nobody there. Here is is what I wrote about that experience back in 2015:
It is hard to put into words what I felt at Chaco. I certainly did not see it as just a set of ruins -- I sort of felt like I was intruding on the everyday lives of the people living there. But, of course, there were no actual people...but maybe impressions of people...or somehow I was intersecting from my time into the time when people were actually living at Chaco.
Not ghosts (which has a negative connotation anyway)...and not exactly spirits...just like I was there at the same time they were. It was an odd feeling, for sure!
When I was at Chetro Ketl, I swear I heard a child's laughter...I was taking pictures, and I looked up from the camera, expecting to see a child with his parents. But there was nothing but the sun and wind -- no child.
It was interesting to hear someone else having a similar experience!
I was pleased with the weight I carried. Although I certainly love to hike, I'm usually only out for a few hours, so the water I carry is maybe a couple of biking bottles. I also never carry a tripod.
And I usually am hiking in a green area, so I carry a small water filter in case I need it. In the case of Bisti, there is no water...you have to carry it all, and we were outside about 11 hours, starting hot (85F) and then getting pretty cold (43F) at night. It's an arid area with no amenities, so you get dehydrated fast!
For the workshop, I carried 2.5 liters of water, a tripod, camera and 2 lenses, extra batteries, gadgets I need for shooting, food for dinner, and several layers of clothes -- for the big layers like my coat, I rolled them all together into a tube and tied them up, so that I just carried those with 1 hand - not on my backpack.
I estimate my pack was about 20 lbs, not counting the rolled up tube of clothes. And I did fine. I kept my knee wrapped, so it didn't cause problems. I did get a pretty bad blister, but kept that bandaged for the remaining hikes.
I was pleased with my own performance in carrying 20 lbs plus other stuff for 5+ miles!
The little Air still worked very well! It's a 2013 model, so not new at all, but it performed better than some of the MacBooks and Windows machines there. I believe its performance is related to the flash memory -- there's no spinning hard drive on the Air -- just flash memory. I think that is why it is fast. I'm still really pleased with this little, light laptop!
When I got back home, the flowers out front had exploded! I have a guy painting the trim on the house, and he said that it was like overnight! I also noticed I had 4" of rain in the rain gauge, so I suspect the rain is what caused the sudden bloom!
Time to go back to work...go back to reality! I am not prepared for that just yet!