the great american roadtrip

Today, after staying up until 3:00 AM for the most epic night of bag-packing ever, we left Nashville for the American West. Destination: Colorado. Mission: Backpacking the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area.

We’re taking 3 days to get out to our starting point, which will be a trailhead near Cottonwood Pass west of Buena Vista, CO. But the short term goal for today is Kansas City, MO where we visted with Steph’s dad, and will meet up with my family to caravan the rest of the way out to CO.

We left Nashville in a rainstorm, which was fine – the car needed to be washed and we didn’t have time to do it before we left. I’m certain my backpack is much too heavy. I pride myself on loading a light pack. During highschool packing trips I would load up a 24 lb. pack pre-food (which is pretty dang light). But on past trips I’ve always been a little light on food, and as a result have been left feeling a little too hungry some days. Never a good combination when you’re exerting yourself physically.

So I’ve got food for this trip. Lots of food, and it weighs a lot. I’m afraid I’m going to have to thin things out a bit before we hit the trail.

Another thing adding the weight is my camera gear, which I’ve resigned myself to accept. I’ve never taken a really good camera up into the mountains before, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve got my Canon 35mm SLR, which is a great camera, and 9 rolls of black & white film (I’m fascinated by really good black & white film landscape photography). I’ve also got two lenses – a standard zoom and a wide angle zoom (which I just bought off Ebay last week). And finally the tripod. Got to have the tripod for good landscape photography, and here’s why:

Good landscapes show incredible detail as a result of a great depth of field. This means that things really close as well as really far away are all in focus, which means you need to set your aperture very small, which means that only a tiny amount of light is allowed to hit the film. This automatically means that your exposure time has to be set relatively long. And you know what happens when you have a long exposure time and you’re holding your camera by hand – blurry pictures. Unacceptable, and this is fixed with a tripod.

So here we are in Kanasas City, ready to meet up with the rest of the family tomorrow morning. We’ll drive through the entire breadth of Kansas, stopping off to see my Grandma Burns and aunt, uncle, and cousin. We’ll get into Pueblo, CO late Saturday night and stay in a motel, and then it’s off for the mountains Sunday morning.

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