Category Archives: Adventure

My Journal from My Travels in Nepal

Today I had reason to open the box containing some of my most prized possessions–you know, the items you might take with you when asked to evacuate–my travel journals. As I picked up each one, and turned the pages, memories came flooding back. In particular I spent a lot of time browsing through the pages of my journal from my travels in Nepal and India (1998-1999). This was the last extended, independent journey I would take. I went “backpacking” for 4 months through Nepal and India, including a challenging and amazing trek in the Himalayas. Below are but a few of the notes from my trek.

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A Side Trip to Marble, Colorado

What is the connection between the Lincoln Memorial and a small town embedded in the Colorado Rocky Mountains? Marble. Parts of the historic monument were sculpted out of said stone from the Colorado Yule Marble Company located in Marble, Colorado, an outpost at 7,950 feet (2424 meters), 40 miles south of Glenwood Springs.

The 25 acre site of the former processing mill is now a National Historic Landmark and makes for an interesting side trip from the more well trodden areas in the Roaring Fork Valley. The Colorado Yule Marble Company was founded in 1905 and its Yule marble was considered to be of the highest quality in its class. Although access to the actual quarry is prohibited, visitors are welcome to walk around and explore the ruins (at their own risk), and check out the large blocks of marble.

While this excursion would not be a priority for the first time visitor to the area, my husband, Ashton, and I found it to be a pleasant day trip. We have visited this part of Colorado many times and have enjoyed much that it has to offer including hiking, biking, river rafting, general exploring, the spectacular views, skiing, shopping, and dining. So, while visiting family in Carbondale last year, we heard about Marble and decided to go for a scenic drive.

We headed South on highway 133, West of Mt. Sopris (12,965 feet / 3,953 meters) and the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness area, part of the Elk Mountain Range. Photography opportunities abound and it took us a while to reach the junction with state road 3, up to our destination, in the heart of the mountains. The roads parallel the Crystal River all the way to Marble, and Beaver Lake. This excursion was more about the journey than the destination.

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View of Mt. Sopris from Highway 133 with the Crystal River in the foreground.

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These rocks were polished by past glaciers which covered many of Colorado’s mountain ranges.

Fun with rocks!

Photography fun with glacier river rocks!

Looking East from Highway 133, at the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness area.

Looking East from Highway 133, at the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness area.

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Time to catch our breath in Marble!

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If you forget to pack a picnic, there’s always some “Slow Grovin BBQ”.

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Town of Marble population: 131 as of the 2010 Census.

The paved road ends at Beaver Lake. Beyond, it's four wheel drive and the 'ghost town' of Crystal.

The paved road ends at Beaver Lake. Beyond, it’s four wheel drive and the ‘ghost town’ of Crystal.

We didn’t take any sort of tour but merely walked around on our own. A small leaflet was available at the ‘entrance’ by the loading area. So, we were left to guess which was the avalanche wall, the different ‘fire walls’, the mill, the ice rink, etc….So, following are some random images from the site.

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Under this sign there was a bin with small pieces of marble that one could take for a souvenir.

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Marble blocks like these were scattered throughout the area.

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My husband, gamely posing to give some perspective!

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Time Warp!

Time Warp!

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Along state road 3, on our return to Carbondale:

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Our unusual side trip to Marble proved to be an enjoyable learning experience. Who would have thought that parts of the Lincoln Memorial came from a remote, seemingly inaccessible region of the Colorado Rockies?

If you enjoyed my photography, please check out my website at: Bela Geo Images

My New Adventure

Adventure is defined in many ways. Some people say that being outside of one’s comfort zone is an adventure. Dictionary.com defines it as: “An unusually risky undertaking with an uncertain outcome.” One could also argue that life itself is an adventure.

So, it is with great excitement that I am starting a new phase in my life; a new life journey; a new adventure! Unlike my past travel adventures, this will involve less physical risk, yet I will certainly be outside of my comfort zone. For the past five years I have been in a transitional period―basically in limbo―as I muddled through the challenges of being a caregiver. Hmmm…I guess by some definitions, that could also be called an adventure.

During 20 years of my life, I was fortunate enough to realize many of my travel dreams by working in two industries that made it possible for me to travel extensively: private yachting and private aviation. I worked as a crew member on private yachts, off and on, for about 10 years. My unconventional career made it possible for me to work for a while, then leave my job and go on extensive independent journeys. Then I moved onto private jets, where I worked as a flight attendant or “corporate inflight manager” (as I prefer to call it) which was both exciting and very challenging on many levels. It gave me the opportunity to literally travel around the world and  combined my love for travel, flying, and food & wine (private flight attendants organize the catering). It also gave me the opportunity to photograph and write about my travels―something I have been enthusiastically doing now for over 20 years, albeit only as an interest.

Five years ago, my husband, Ashton, and I were faced with a reality check. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia, and it quickly became apparent that, as an only child, I needed to step up to the plate. We underwent a major lifestyle change and—to make a long story short—moved from South Florida to the Philadelphia suburbs. My mom lived with us for 4 years, until recently, when we realized that she needed more care than we could provide at home. So, although we managed a couple of trips during the past few years, I had to put away the suitcase for a while, and life changed dramatically. I certainly don’t regret our decision, and am grateful that we were able to provide my mother comfort and joy during this latter chapter in her life.

I’m also grateful that this difficult time coincided with the rise of social media and that I was able to maintain a connection with the outside world via the internet. In addition I was fortunate to connect with other travel lovers—photographers and writers―via Facebook and Twitter. As anyone who has been a caregiver knows, it’s a draining job and you end up placing your own life on hold. I think this is especially difficult for those of us who have a natural independent and adventurous streak. I often felt guilty for feeling frustrated in this role, which was quite unnatural for me.

It has been 5 years since I had to make the decision to leave my jet-setting job to fulfill my filial obligations. I now find myself in the unusual but welcome position of having the opportunity to try to achieve my lifetime photography and writing goals. So, I guess I am yet in another transitional period (life has many).

As begin this new phase of my life, I am launching a new photography business and website. Consequently, I had to come up with a name. I felt that ‘Xplore724’, which I have used for various purposes, no longer applied to me―and hasn’t in quite a while―as it implies that one is constantly traveling (although my birthday remains 7/24)! So, my new brand is “Bela Geo Images”, and my new photography website is: http://www.belageoimages.photoshelter.com. Please note, have also changed my Twitter handle from @Xplore724 to @BelaGeoImages. I hope this doesn’t cause too much confusion.

This will certainly be an “unusually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome.” But, as my personal history has proven, I have taken on a lot of risks and adventures!

Cheers,

~Anabela