It’s always fun to meet people on my trips when I travel alone.
I met this couple when I visited Zapata Falls in southeastern Colorado a few weeks back. They hiked up the river behind me and reached the waterfall about the time I was getting lined up for a shot. After helping them memorialize the occasion I had them take a couple shots on my point and shoot film camera as well. Two flashes later, they went their way and I stayed to finish out a couple rolls of film.
I kept thinking about those two as I drove back that day. A chance encounter of like minded people, those who seek the unseen.
The Falls aren’t exactly easy to reach. Sure, most cars could ascend the gravel road, and the hike isn’t long, but it’s just out-of-the-way enough that it doesn’t get crowded. It’s the idea, rather, that we were seeking something others haven’t witnessed.
That’s the reason I travel on my own so much, after all. the stories I can tell of places I’ve been and things I’ve seen are different when I was the only witness.
I enjoy traveling in groups, with friends, and all that goes along with it. But there’s a magic to being alone in these places. A quiet solitude that ekes out the ethereal.
When I sit by the riverside and close my eyes for ten minutes, just to hear how the river changes its voice when it knows it has an audience of one.
When I drift off the path to find the tiny patch of sunlight drifting down in the early morning haze, lighting a fae mushroom.
When I find the place where rushing water comes to a standstill, stalling in it’s course across the forest.
Even when it’s something like a rock stack that someone else has constructed, there’s a sense that it was placed there for a small audience, and I won tickets to the show. I find that exhilarating.