Bahamas, Part II

Our daughter Ellie wanted to add a different experience to her high school life. She discovered a school is the Eleuthera, Bahamas called The Island School. The Island School offers high school juniors a special experience studying abroad.

Each day Island School students get up at 6am and either run or swim before breakfast. It’s training for a portion of their final exam which includes a half marathon or 4 mile open ocean swim.

After breakfast they attend their studies for a full day of classes that are immersive and experiential. They conduct in depth research with the local environment and community. They study biology in the ocean, learn history in the local townships and math outside.

Towards the end of the semester, students go on an eight day kayak expedition which includes two days of solitude. Just you, by yourself, with a journal, a tarp, food and water.

A few weeks ago, Lauren and I spent three days with Ellie, her classmates & their families and teachers for Parent Weekend in Eleuthera. We were blown away at the experience these kids are getting. We woke up at 6am every morning, did the morning run, jumped off High Rock together, ate together and laughed together. The founder Chris Maxey is an inspiration — and the staff and teachers are so committed. We also got a day off so the three of us could enjoy our time together and explore the island as a family. It was wonderful.

Ellie’s semester is coming to an end and she comes home next week. She will have been away for 100 days. We have missed her more than anything. She should be so proud of her experience and accomplishments.

I sure am.

(All photographs taken on a Leica M3 and Hasselblad 503cw on Kodak film. Developed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab in California). 

Eleuthera, Bahamas, Part I

Earlier this month we spent four days in Eleuthera. The island is quite long, over 110 miles long. While I’m told the northern part is developed, we headed south. The southern portion of the the island is thoroughly remote. The nearest market or restaurant is about a 40 minute drive or so. We didn’t see any a single souvenir shops. Our rental car was provided by a resident, a gentleman named Robert. We paid in cash. Folks that grew up and live here will tell you that at one time this was a bustling island. But that has changed. All of that tourism has since moved to Nassau. Life on Eleuthera is quiet and remote.

But the thing that struck me the most was the kindness from everyone we met. Lauren compared it to going to our first trip to Ireland and talking with the locals. All the stories, life challenges, rich history and island beauty. Although we got a lot more hugs in Eleuthera than pints in Ireland :)

We were quite taken with this place. And have already made plans to visit again.

(All photographs made with a Hasselblad 503cw and Kodak film. Developed and scanned at Richard Photo Lab).

Philipsburg, Montana, Part I

After we left Yellowstone, we took the park’s west exit and drove about 4 hours to Philipsburg, Montana. The rain was pouring down for the entire drive but we could still appreciate the beauty along the way.

Philipsburg is a town with less than 900 residents. The town center has a candy store that is over a hundred years old. There is a local brewery that makes this delicious craft beer called Razzu. The main street is about 4 blocks but you can spend a whole day there eating and talking to folks if you wanted to.

We stayed at a ranch about 30 minutes outside of town. It was our first time in Montana and we fell in love with the whole place. The food, people, countryside, pace of life. Everything.

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More photographs here.

Yellowstone National Park, Part I

Yellowstone National Park, June 2018 (part 1)

Last month we made a family trip to Yellowstone.

The park is incredibly vast and so beautiful. It was our very first trip and we spent 5 days exploring as much as we could. The landscape changes dramatically from epic canyons, to open valleys, to lush forests to open lakes and streams. The hiking trails are wonderful.

I loved the eastern part of the park the best, especially Lamar Valley. There was so much wildlife around each corner and seeing all the bear cubs playing in the meadow was something I will not forget.

Part 2 here.

Joshua Tree, California

A few weeks ago, Lauren and I took some time to celebrate our anniversary.

We started the week in the desert, exploring and hiking in Joshua Tree National Park and Coachella Valley Preserve. I visited Joshua Tree on my own a few years back and it was so much better to make the return trip with my wife.

After a few days we drove west and spent the rest of the week relaxing at the beach. The west side of LA has really grown on me.

Twenty three years and counting with my best friend. Luckiest guy ever.

 

Peru, Part I

We made our second trip to South America last month with a visit to Peru.

We began with a visit to Lima which is a the capital of the country. Lima is a big city, with a population of 10 million people. It is a beautiful old city and sits on the Pacific ocean. We spent a few days checking out the historic sites, exploring the Magdalena Market, and wandering the streets. We had an amazing lunch at Malabar. If you go to Lima, you must eat at this place and if possible meet Chef Pedro Miguel who is an inspiring chef and a lover of food and Peru. I also recommend exploring the art museums in the Barranco district. The MAC museum is quite small but very interesting with thought provoking work. Unfortunately we ran out of time and didn’t make it to the MATE.

We left Lima (sea level) and flew to Cusco which is about 11k feet above sea level. We could feel the heightened altitude immediately after stepping off the plane. We all had altitude medication, and our fair share of coca tea which helped.

We spent the rest of the trip in the Sacred Valley, the city of Cusco and exploring Machu Picchu. Some of my favorite memories: visiting the students at the Sol & Luna school, mountain biking through the little villages outside of Cusco, hiking to the top of Machu Picchu Mountain (2 hours up and 1 hour down), & wandering the San Blas streets in Cusco.  We were very fortunate that the weather was so kind. Our trip took place during the rainy season but we only an half of day of rain.

Peru is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The culture, landscape and people are beyond incredible. I hope we can make another trip to Peru in the future.

Additional photographs here.

(all of the photographs were shot on 35mm and medium format Kodak Portra 400 film, developed and scanned at Indie Film Lab).