Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for January, 2009

Capturing the less scenic

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Sometimes, I feel compelled to photograph the less scenic areas I encounter. Sarah and I used to do more of this kind of urban decay photography, particularly when we lived in the Chicago area.

Yesterday, I was itching to get out, and a walk sounded nice. So, I decided to walk through downtown Edwardsville, a neighboring town that is quite run down. It’s sad to see the state of this place, but it makes for some interesting photography. It’s a weird combination of abandoned buildings and buildings that look abandoned, but aren’t. It’s hard to tell, walking around, what is abandoned and what isn’t. Here are some of my photos from this outing.

First, the map:


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And the photos.

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Far too busy

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

I’ve been in a bit of a rut. I haven’t had much time for cycling/hiking/etc., since starting my own business. As it turns out, I’m a real hardass, as a boss. Working for myself, there are no “business hours,” only long lists of things that need to be accomplished, most of which I can’t bill to anyone. I think I am getting some things in order now, though, so hopefully I can start billing more hours soon.

Anyway, I haven’t been completely inactive. I do have a little catching up to do. Back on January 10-11, a friend of Sarah’s, who came to our wedding, came to visit with his girlfriend. We hiked about 2.5 miles on the 10th at Frances Slocum State Park, and a bunch of snow fell during our hike. We did a shorter hike on the 11th on the Levee Trail. When we weren’t hiking, we played some games and generally hung out.  Great times. I’m not going to go into more detail about the hikes, but here are a few photos.

Saturday

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Exploring the Back Mountain Trail

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

I have hardly ridden so far in 2009. I was sick for some time, and starting a business is proving to be more time-c0nsuming than I imagined. And with no commute, it’s hard to make myself do even short daily rides.

However, I did get out one day last week. I intended to ride to the end of the Back Mountain Trail and back, but I got sidetracked not long after I got on the trail. I saw a side trail that Sarah and I noticed when we hiked there, and decided to see where it went. I wasn’t really expecting much. Here’s a map of my ride.


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Looking up the side of the mountain

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Waterfall

What I found was, the trail switches back and forth and climbs up the side of the mountain. There are a couple of offshoots that don’t go anywhere along the way, and the climb featured some loose rocks, tight turns, steep climbs, and overgrown sections.

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Trail

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The Trucker, on an overgrown side trail

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Climb

The trail just kept going up. Eventually, I reached a clearing. I saw a couple of fire pits, and excellent views of surrounding mountains and part of Wyoming Valley, below.

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Panoramic view from the top

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My bicycle, on the edge

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Trail heading the other way

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My bicycle, by the power line tower

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Notice the bike at the base of the tower

I also had a nice view of Bunker Hill Road, where I often ride. It’s a hell of a climb, and you can see most of it on the photo below. The road isn’t as straight as the line would have you believe.

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Looking toward Bunker Hill Road

I explored a side trail, looking for other views of Bunker Hill Road. I had some luck, but hit a private property line and turned back.

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Another view of Bunker Hill Road

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Looking back toward the valley
from whence I came

Having exhausted my possibilities in that direction, I headed the other way. I was on a loose trail briefly, and then hit a gravel road. I soon figured out that it was going to meet up with Cliffside Drive, a familiar road that I knew I could easily take to a different part of the Back Mountain Trail. I enjoyed quite an exhilarating gravel road descent.

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Power lines and wildflowers

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Hitting gravel

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Riding downhill on a gravel road

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Looking back

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More descending

I got back on the Back Mountain Trail, and rode to the end of that section. They were working on the steep hill at the end, putting in some stairs. That could make things interesting for those who ride the trail, rather than walking it. To be fair, I have had to walk that hill anyway as it’s steep and hard to get traction in the gravel. Still, stairs will only make it harder. I hope they are going to make some alternate accommodations for bikes.

What started out as a routine ride turned into a fun exploratory ride — and even though I wasn’t out for very long, I found a very cool new area. I will have to see if there are any other side trails that connect to the Back Mountain Trail.

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