Last Look Back
The trip to Palo Duro Canyon was well worth the time and labor. It was a 6 mile round trip hike in to the "Lighthouse" rock formation. None of us had ever been before so it was unfamiliar territory and we reached the park at 9:00pm; just in time to see the sun set. The path to and from was relatively uneventful. We had (what felt like) floating spider webs descending on us, the occasional tarantulas, a small mouse and a lone coyote calling out into the darkness to keep us company. After spending (approximately) two hours at the formation, we headed back. The hike back was harder. The packs felt as if they went from 10 and 15 lbs to 50lbs and our shoes felt like they shrunk proportionately to our packs growth. But, as we reached the mile marker I looked over my shoulder and saw this (the accompanying image) and I found myself suddenly filled with the excitement and the joy of setting up my camera to capture it. It's an excitement you can't really explain but it's not unlike that excitement of a big birthday surprise, the first time on a plane or (perhaps even) that notorious first kiss. It's definitely a wide-eyed, blood pumping, nuclear force that just overrides all the exhaustion and makes you say "What a minute guys, I have to 'shoot' this and we need a break anyway.. give me two minutes." And so, I slung my pack off my back, put my camera on the tripod - which I kept compact and low to the ground - snapped a single image (this one) and the rushed to pack it all back up and catch back up with the shooting mates.
This ended up being my favorite image from the trip; the one not planned for and entirely unexpected.