Out Beyond



“When you see a new trail or footprint you do not know, follow it to the point of knowing.”

………Uncheedahd, Santee Sioux


When I was a girl and my family went camping, my dad insisted we find the furthest site on which to land, beyond other car tracks and away from civilized improvements.  He would drive the Ford Falcon station wagon past recommended perimeters in search of a spot without trace of other humans.  It added to the experience, he thought.

We would pass many other campers along our way and though we kids were always pushing to end the journey and start adventures, he would continue further, not settling till we arrived at a place where we would be untethered and uninhibited.

To my way of thinking, the destination almost always merited the prolonged journey.   

I remember those kind of places. 

Places that were above tree line, on the other side of the rope, usually out-of-bounds and always hidden from view. 

Places that seemed remote and untouched.

Places that took effort to find. 

Places that took time to reach. 

Places inched to with persistence and curiosity and without flash and whim. 

Places arrived at by mastering the skill of steadiness and small steps.

Places reached by narrow course and not broad swath.

Those are my favorite kinds of places. 

Further on, far from where everyone else stops, splendid, unknown places. 

Places that are still in reach.   Just reach.   

90 thoughts on “Out Beyond

  1. So beautifully expressed and inspirational!

    I remember going to some hard to reach places as a child. I remember being in our jeep cherokee as it climbed steep grades I didn’t think cars could climb, and waiting on the other side for someone to appreciate the view we found deep still water, surrounded by trees, surrounded by peace. We also got that cherokee stuck in the mud, but by scooping out the mud and filling the hole with rocks we got the car out.

    Thank you for sharing and prompting memories of adventure and perseverance.

  2. Your Dad really helped you to be the person you are. This one is a really nice post, with some really beautiful pictures and as always some really beautiful words from you. Thank you for sharing your memory and taking us all along with you on this wonderful journey.

  3. I wish I’d had more outdoor adventures as a child. At least I get to go along with you through your words and pictures. Always lovely.

    • I do feel fortunate to have fond memories of family vacations…..and l also feel lucky to live where I have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty and solitude of mountains all the time. It grounds me, I think. Thanks b 🙂

  4. Your writing brings the visuals to life. This is a lovely piece that reminds me of childhood adventures gone by. Thank you.

  5. Beautiful post, all around. How lucky to grow up like that!
    Our family went camping exactly *once*. My mother refused to ever do it again, but my brother and I remember it as one of the best times of our childhood…
    Thanks for sharing your memories and majestic photos.

      • We went with another family – experienced campers – and I think she felt terribly out of place, city girl that she is. Washing the dishes in cold water might have been another part…and the bugs…and the hard ground under the sleeping bags…and…you get the picture. 😉

  6. Wonderful. I love the idea: “not settling till we arrived at a place where we would be untethered and uninhibited.”

    My family never camped, but instilled in me the same sort of curiosity/adventure. Only in my life, the unknown terrain was cerebral, not physical.

    Never put that piece of insight together before. Thanks.

  7. Your dad instilled an appreciation for exploring. I loved the last picture…aspens??…when we saw them in CO my mother was careful to instruct us that aspens only grow in the high altitudes. It made me appreciate, that when I see them, it would be because I/we have journeyed from our familiar surroundings to there. When my mother pointed them out, I think she was nostalgic for the aspens from her home state of WA where aspens also grow around the Columbia Basin and along the eastern slopes of the Cascade mountains. Another thoughtful and lovely post.

  8. I tell myself that I love living in Los Angeles, and I do, but certain things remind me of the joy of living someplace a little quieter, with lots of unexplored nooks and crannies so close at hand.

    The good news is that words like those also remind me of that sense of joy at exploration (and discovery!), so that it’s not like the thrill is totally gone. Just waiting for its reminder.

    • I found my sense of discovery and joy increased after I hit the age of 50…..those child-rearing years were so full I did not fully appreciate certain things as I do now. Thanks, Deborah.

  9. Gorgeous. I love getting off the beaten path and finding something unspoiled and untouched. And then lightly touching it. 🙂

  10. Bella, you have the gift of words and photography. You marry the two so beautifully. The sentiment here is wonderful. Your Dad got it right, in my opinion. Beautiful.

  11. Just beautiful, as always, Bella. How old were you before you appreciated being far away from those kids you passed (and wouldn’t remember now anyway)?

  12. Beautifully written. Inspiring words, spectacular pictures. Discovery and wonder of places no one else takes the time to see and experience – I envy you and admire your dad for instilling this in you.

  13. Wünsche dir einen schönen Abend ,es sind tolle Bilder von dir ,gefällt mir gut ich wünsche dir einen schönen Abend noch und viele liebe Grüsse Klaus

  14. Es ist Samstag die Sonne scheint was will man mehr,Habe deine Fotos mir angesehen,ja wandern in dir unendliche schöne Natur,das muss herrlich sein,und wenn man dazu noch einen Vater hat,der einem alles zeigt,du bist ein glücklicher Mensch der einen Vater hat ,viele liebe Grüsse und schönes Wochenende wünscht dir Klaus

  15. Your post reminded me of these lines from Browning’s “Andrea del Sarto”:

    Speak as they please, what does the mountain care?
    Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
    Or what’s a heaven for?

  16. Life’s journey should be like that, Bella, making us always want more of those places, even if those remote places are within ourselves. What a rich heritage you come from!

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