Migration, Part 2

I did move over to tumblr: Leaving Sea Level 2.0! I'd like to write a long-form post here from time to time, though.
Do seagulls migrate?



Contemplating a migration over to tumblr. Because: it seems more suited to lazy bloggers, I suspect it plays nicer with Flickr, and...all of a sudden everyone is using tumblr for their stuff. And I'm a technological lemming. A lemming that follow approximately 4 years behind the other lemmings, in this case.

Stay tuned...


Alpe Bolla

A couple of weeks ago a friend and I hiked up to Alpe Bolla from Monte Bre, partly to get out of Lugano for the afternoon and partly to check out the hut at Alpe Bolla. Hiking between huts is a new (to me) and massively improved (imho) take on backpacking. You hike all day! And then there is an actual bed to sleep in! And a delicious meal, complete with the local variety of alp cheese! No need to carry a tent, or survive on trail mix, or sleep in the rain. I can't wait to take advantage of this...

The hut!

 Thinking of good photo captions/titles is just not one of my strong points...

 I took a ton of pictures of the dandelions...my hiking buddy was a bit baffled by my new-found love for dandelion photography. She asked seriously, "You don't have dandelions in the US?"

Special and Beautiful Swiss Dandelion
The specifics: Alpe Bolla is about 2 hours from Bre, hiking quickly. There are a number of routes down (or up, I suppose): backtrack to Bre, down to Pregassona or Cureggia, back to Bre via Monte Boglia, or on to Dente della Vecchia. We descended to Pregassona, which took closer to 2 hours than the projected hiking time of 3. There's a TPL bus from Lugano to Bre (beats the expensive scary funicolare, though it doesn't run as often) and another one back from Pregassona. Ditto Cureggia, but not on Sundays. The Pregassona bus runs much later than the Bre bus and funi, so my recommended route would be Bre to Alpe Bolla to Pregassona, with a potential side trip to Dente della Vecchia (that's going to be my next hike).

 *When resuming blogging in a totally abandoned blog, it is best to just pick things back up without comment, tempting though it is to write several paragraphs apologizing for being a bad blogger. I just made up this blogging rule. It's a good blogging rule, don't you think?


Boggera Canyon

Well, that was embarrassing.

I really meant to start posting photos within 2 months of moving here (or for that matter, probably within 2 weeks). I've got a new camera (SLR! for the first time since high school! this one has all kinds of fancy tricks like autofocus, and no darkroom required) and a ton of photos from Switzerland, Italy, and Iceland. Including this one, which I've been meaning to post for about six weeks.

I took it on a lazy holiday weekend afternoon with some new friends at a local sunbathing spot. If one is hardcore (we were not), it also doubles as a local canyoning spot. I'll have to go back, though I'm still way too protective of the camera to bring it along on any adventures like that.


On Second Thought...

I'm going to keep this blog just focused on posting my photography, and possibly linking to/commenting on photography-related things that interest me. I definitely want a travel blog, but I've come to the conclusion that I don't need to feed all my travel mishaps to the Google spiders for the entire world to laugh at. So, I'll be setting up another slightly more private, personal life-in-Europe blog, and I will share a link with friends and family when that's done. Sound good?


Goodbye Peavine Mountain

Two (digitally enhanced, yes) wildflower photos from a last hike on Peavine Mountain. The first is a lupine, and the second is.......that red plant that grows all over Peavine. You know that plant?

I'll miss living on the side of a giant piece of BLM land. I'll miss wildflower hikes with my friends here. I'll miss the high desert, although I will not miss snow in June. And I think I will adjust to life (and photography, and skiing) around the Alps just fine.



So I'm moving to Switzerland.

This started out as a photoblog, because I got sick of having a political blog (I've since begun to miss that one). Then, I discovered I like writing a few words or sometimes a random little story or a travel narrative along with the photos. So now it's, what? Photos + writing? Seemed to work ok.

Now the blog is going to be a few more things, I think. Travel-in-Europe blog (travel-in-North-Africa-and-the-Middle-East-too blog, I hope). Expat blog. Not the whiny kind, I promise. Maybe even a bit of politics, from time to time. I mean, I'll have a whole new continent to learn about!

Posts for the next month will probably take on a goodbye Reno nostalgia form, as I am going through a phase of preemptively missing Nevada. I might write some more on this, later. It reminds me of my last month in Japan, which was just a whirlwind...I knew leaving was the right decision, but the last weeks were just a crazy blur of goodbyes and packing and that weird preemptive nostalgia. I felt like this:

I know there are so many good things to come, though. Cheese and chocolate and Italian lakes and planning my first weekend gettaway. And then there's the job...I don't want to get into that on a personal blog, so I'll just say it sounds completely awesome. And then there's the small, insignificant fact that stuff works in Europe. I've already begun bugging my British co-worker here by giving him running updates on how many weeks I've got till "socialized medicine." The Swiss system isn't even close, as far as I can tell, but better than the US system for sure. Though at this point, leeches and bloodletting might be better than the US system.


Driving to Tongue

I know, I have been a truly terrible photoblogger lately.

Road to Tongue, Scotland
I took this picture last summer on my trip to visit my friends in Scotland. We drove all the way up to the northern coast and visited the tiny town of Tongue. As you can see, there's not much for miles around. It's so small that the postal van doubles as a bus, and so far north that it never got totally dark. We did a great little hike up to Castle Varich and enjoyed the view, hiked out to a puffin-viewing spot, and visited Smoo Cave.


Patos Island

Patos Island is at the top of my list of favorite places on earth (we all should have such a list)—top five, for sure. It’s one of the outer San Juan Islands in Washington State – also one of the smaller and least visited of the park islands. There’s a kayak camp, a lighthouse, an outhouse, and not too much else.

Patos Island: View From Near Lighthouse
When I was in high school, I did a three-week Outward Bound trip around the San Juan Islands. I learned important things like the fact that kelp is edible (along with Vital Life Lessons about leadership and stuff, I’m sure). Our group kayaked into Active Cove on Patos on a day when we were all grumpy and snapping at each other. Rather than letting us sulk around the campsite eating kelp, our wise leaders made us get in the water and have crazy kayak races (this was probably the Vital Life Lesson part). That night, in much better moods about each other and life, we walked out to the lighthouse for sunset.

I have beautiful memories of Patos, but it’s also just a beautiful place. I’ve convinced my parents to go back with me a few times since then (most recently last August). In doing so I’ve discovered that it’s sort of a pain to get into the harbor in any boat that’s larger than a kayak, so I appreciate them being good sports. The lighthouse is now open for visitors a few days per week in the summer, and there is also a great fictionalized account of life on Patos during the early 1900s, by the daughter of the original light-keeper.


Godzilla! (or not Godzilla at all)

I suppose this is not an amazing photo composition-wise...but it makes me smile. Located in Tokushima on the Island of Shikoku. Japan.

Edit because...my coworker just informed me that Godzilla is apparently a LIZARD. Not a big furry thing. Pop culture knowledge fail of the week...
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