Flight: Portugal, Spain: 2 of 2: Andalucía

I suppose I could write about the flight(s) in question every now and then. This I did for AOPA, enumerated in this linked post, which also talks about my continued vain attempts to fly to Morocco. Below are many additional photos about this amazing section of Iberia.

Somewhere near Isla Mayor.

Somewhere else near Isla Mayor.

Greenhouses near Mazagón.

Isla de Saltes.

Shrine to Christopher Columbus, Huelva. Something makes me think he set off for America from here. Oh, if he only knew the Pandora’s Box he’d open, or that 525 years later, Garrett Fisher would discover Spain from America in a Piper Cub.

Rio Pedras.

Salt marshes near Huelva.

Rio Tinto.

Salt evaporation ponds.

Rio Tinto again.

North of Lebrija.

North of Jédula.

Between Chiclana de la Frontera and Medina Sidonia.

Medina Sidonia.

North of Los Naveros.

Cabo Roche.

Conil de la Frontera.

Faro de Trafalgar. Morocco on the horizon, over the Strait of Gibraltar.

NW of Cantarranas.

Charco Dulce.

Field of yellow flowers.

Field of purple flowers.

Somewhere west of Arcos de la Frontera.

East of urbanization “Kuwait Dos” of El Cuervo de Sevilla.

River on the way to Portugal.

Downpour over the Portuguese Outback.

Wildflowers under oak trees.

Tagus River, Portugal.

Back to the Atlantic Coast. Note the well timed rainbow, a sign of the nonsense weather I had to fly around with a sore ass from too much flying.

 

Flight: Portugal, Spain: 1 of 2: Andalucía

One may wonder why I write the Spanish version of Andalucía, instead of Andalusia, as written in English. I fall back on a movie scene, Mask of Zorro or something like that, which takes place in Mexico during the Spanish Empire. Katherine Zeta-Jones has a line where she says, “In Andalucía, I would ride my horse on a full moon night…” As one would expect, it was said in full accent, with loads of sensuality and flare endemic to most Spanish interactions. That is about the only takeaway from the movie, such that I when I finally did fly to Andalucía, I kept hearing her voice in my head, even while in the cockpit on a sunny day. When I was standing on a balcony with a 50-something year old male friend of mine, literally on a full moon night, in Andalusia, it was “a full moon night in Andalucía.” He’s not as attractive as Ms. Zeta-Jones, unfortunately.

Be that as it may, Catalans do not have such a sensual perspective of Andalucía. Whatever negative that occurs in Catalunya (that usually happens all over Spain to some varying intensity), Catalans are the first to brush off anything I say about it with a “Well, in Andalucía…..” In other words, “you haven’t seen anything yet.” Well, I went to Andalucía and found the people to be the most generous, kind, and laidback subculture of Spain yet. Go figure. And nothing I was told would happen down there did end up happening; really, it was the opposite.

As for aviation, I was trying to fly to Morocco again. It didn’t work, though I did get a bunch of local flying done in that neck of the woods.

The Portuguese Outback – Much of it looks like this.

Évora

My first view of flowers in bloom in the Portuguese Alentejo.

Zoomed out perspective of some of these flower fields. Also a bit hazy on the way down south…

Near Alqueva, Portugal.

And the 590nm infrared version…

Aqueduct just over the border in Spain, near El Granado.

Deer.

Closeup on a river.

Just east of Mafé Aerodrome, Spain.

Rio Tinto.

Tilled field near Trebujena.

Solar installation at Sanlucar de Mayor.

And the death ray…

Somewhere in vicinity of Jerez.

Wheat fields.

The significance of this could go a few ways. I find the flowers rather intriguing.

Salt ponds near Cádiz.

“Salinas” & marshes near Cádiz.

Caño de Sancti-Petri, with Atlantic Ocean on the horizon.

Punta del Boquerón.

This looks like a painting to me. Canal water mixes with various tide cycles to create such different colors. I have seen variations like this, though not as intense, in Portugal and North Carolina.

Avenida Via Augusta Julia, Cádiz.

Cádiz, Spain.

Puente de la Constitución de 1812.

Wheat fields en route toward Trebujena from Cádiz.



Book #15: Field of Dreams: American Agriculture From the Sky

Long before I had a blog, considered publishing a book, or had moved to Colorado, I stuck my camera straight down out of the window in the middle of the boonies in North Carolina, and photographed some agricultural patterns under full zoom. They seemed interesting at the time, so went home and downloaded them, shocked at their artistic value. Since I was merely taking incidental photographs from the airplane, sharing them with friends here and there, I didn’t think too much of it, other than to keep an eye out for the occasional texture or pattern that I happened to see.

If I had any clue that I was about to fling myself off a mental cliff and start wandering planet earth like a confused and overpriced hobo, I do not think I would have believed it. Over the next few years, the airplane would cross America three times, visit 22 states, fly the highest peaks of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, North Carolina, and Tennessee, and view coastlines from the Outer Banks to the Great Salt Lake. In all of those hundreds of hours, I kept an eye out for the occasional texture, pattern, or interesting farm field, taking pictures and forgetting about them.

Some months ago, I announced the publication of “American Texture: Canvas From the Sky,” which is a collection of my non-agrarian textures and patterns. In reverse order, I have now released book #15, “Field of Dreams: American Agriculture From the Sky,” which contains the best of that original inspiration: agricultural textures and patterns from the good old USA.

At some point, I will make sense of my European wanderings, as this agricultural and texture odyssey continues in the Old World. From the first flight in the Rhine Valley of Germany in 2016 to the tulip fields north of Amsterdam down to the wheat fields along the Straits of Gibraltar in Spain and the port vineyards along the Atlantic in Portugal, I have been amassing an asphyxiating amount of artwork. One of these days, I’ll make some sense of all of it, and more books will show up. Until then, I keep flying!

Flights: Portugal: Inland

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Photographs. Episode III. On the Merits of Cracking

My earliest cognitive memory of exposure to the inevitability of cracking was in the 1990s. I was about 17 years of age and was in the process of paying for some photos I had developed at CVS, a low end national drugstore chain that was anything but exciting. The clerks behind the counter looked all of my age, presumably working part time for $6 per hour, and didn’t seem by any means admirable. Instead of handling my payment, they were chuckling amongst themselves as one quipped: “She’s outta the game!” I followed their line of sight to a now ex-employee stomping out of the store, her late 80s perm bouncing up and down as a reflection of her indignation at being fired. I remember thinking to myself about a recent movie, The Saint, where the main character, a devious spy/hitman/freelancer/whatever you want to call it, logs into his Swiss bank account from his charming English cottage, notes the balance at fifty million dollars and says out loud: “Fifty million. I am out of the game.” How could part-time work at CVS compare to having outsmarted Russians who were attempting a coup?

Fast forward a few years, and I began a rather esoteric employment engagement for an amusingly reclusive attorney. There had been some turnover in the firm, and the lawyer continuously explained it away with some bit of background, followed by “well, I guess she finally cracked.” Cracking took an exceptionally nuanced form of self-destruction, where one’s employment equally ended as did the CVS clerk with the bitchin’ haircut, however this time, it had style. To crack was to do what “everyone” wanted to do, and to do it with a statement. It was where unemployment met going out in a blaze of glory, lack of income bedamned.

Now this contrasted with a version of cracking that I was raised with: running afoul of “the rules.” An extension of childhood, America in a cloistered northeastern post-immigrant, racially homogeneous, socially conservative town was one of a defined set of binary rules. Follow them, and the joys and blessings of middle class America awaited. Run afoul of them, and the path goes something like this: unemployed –> criminal –> felon –> homeless –> eternal, unrecoverable social damnation. I knew plenty of those who went down this road, and society treated them like losers. The “rules” were not optional. Cracking, as long as it was done in style, somehow was.

My grandfather enters into the picture somewhere in the midst of all of this nonsense. Not only did a version of ‘Beverly Hillbillies meets Piper Cubs’ feature as my family childhood experience, I also was in a radius of four other private airports. One was apparently running a chop shop for stolen cars (how’s that for bucolic rural New York?). Another was a maniac that did aerobatics every other day for two decades straight. The rest had airplanes and flew them. Mix males, criminals, and airplanes together long enough, and somebody was going to crash. My grandfather gave these instances, no matter who they were ascribed to, a brief honorific: “Well, he cracked up.” Yes, “cracked up” meant the inevitable, glorious, sad, tragic yet distinctly tasteful and individual blaze of glory that ended in death in an airplane.

Recently, a 12-year-old boy in Australia took cracking by the horns, stealing his mother’s credit card, nicking his passport from his grandmother, and flew the coop….to Indonesia on vacation. A columnist in the UK wrote a splendid piece saying, more or less, that he did it “so we don’t have to.” The writer even said he was tempted to give his credit card to his kid, police and wife notwithstanding, set him loose, and yell “Run, Forrest, Run!” Funny, as it is, what is he running from?

I’d say he’s running from this life we have defined for ourselves. Remember that middle America binary nonsense? To some extent, we all agree with it. We get up, go to work, pay the bills, avoid committing crimes, and generally enjoy a sense of societal order. We contribute to it, and generally it reciprocates to some reasonable extent…until it doesn’t. When does this static, unforgiving, and hellaciously boring construct cause people to snap in a non-diagnosable way? I’d venture to guess that is the process of cracking, and we’re all in it in one way or another. Or maybe cracking does come with a diagnosis, and the oft-mentioned Looney Bin awaits. Perhaps the long-running joke is instead of the Grim Reaper lurking, many in society are closer to checking into an asylum that we would all like to believe…?

As for me, I have probably been cracking since the moment I was squeezed through the birth canal without my prior consultation. How else does someone end up with an old airplane flung off the ends of the earth for no logical reason?

Inland Coastal areas, with Serra de Montejunto in the background.

Formation flight photographs of my airplane, taken by Jerome Chevalley over the Alentejo.

Field of flowers, somewhere near Serpa.

Barragem do Alqueva

Piper Cub Photo Shoot. L-4, PA-11, PA-18, PA-18, registered to Switzerland, USA, and Germany.

Portuguese Outback, south of Pavia.

Monsieur Chevalley’s airplane.

Hills ascending east of the Tagus River.

Tagus River Plain flooded with water.

Tagus River sand patterns.

Tagus River Plain. Apparently it is common for thunderstorms to form here in May.

Eastern side of the coastal ridge. A bit less chaotic and dense than the coast.

Serra de Montejunto. Despite its rugged appearance, it is only about 2,000 feet tall.

Coastal windmills.

On the coastal side of the hills. More populated and a bit more chaotic.

Marble quarry near Codaçal.

Chão Das Pias

Fátima. Apparently the Portuguese decided they wanted their own Vatican.

How and why would a farmer do this?

Casias da Foroana. Ie, coastal hills.

 

 

Flights: Portugal: Portuguese Eccentricities

The coast is an active place. Temperatures are consistent, population is higher, and people tend to be outside when near the water. That creates an interesting paradigm where these same humans tend to do odd and interesting things, and it so happens that Portugal is full of it. While I found some of the images amusing, I didn’t think they made “great photos” until I jokingly sent one to a friend of sheep grazing around piles of garbage, and she thought it was very interesting. Upon further examination, there was quite a question as to why someone would put such things in the grass in such a way, and the sheep were a nice touch to the whole thing. So, for today, we’re going to toss natural beauty to the wind and take a look at eccentric humanity.

I also have solved the conundrum of what to do with the blog. It got started in 2014 with a post for each flight, which made sense until 2017, the year when I took 178 flights. I have now decided to group them by subject, so multiple flights will feed into one post for the most part, until that breaks down and collapses.

Sheep with a shepherd.

“Lords of Santa.” Note the graffiti and the weird tower.

Fishing.

Sintra.

Western edge of the Sintra hill.

Why swim in the ocean, when there is a filthy pool instead?

I have heard that surfing is an active sport.

One with the sea?

Under construction.

At least they’re getting wet.

Note the shape of the cylinder in the center right. Why do people build phalli the world over?

“Ticky tacky houses all the same.”

Voluntary prison camp.

Pumpkins. It appears that they have no intention of smashing them.

I have heard that surfing is a great sport to have solitude in the water.

In the process of a wipe out.

That is a human. Lagoa de Óbidos.

I think the romance would be lost if one of them fell in.

Not quite raising the white flag.

The image that inspired it all: sheep grazing around Portuguese trash.

Coastal flowers.

Kite surfers.

Unusual roof tiles.

You can lead a horse to water…

There is someone standing in the center of this image.

Three seagulls.

Hobo on the beach.

A dog taking a crap on the beach.

Why get wet in the ocean when you can share contaminated water with other humans, right next to the ocean?

Death.

Coach class.

Appears to be a Portuguese bullfighting ring.

Alluvial fan.

Birds. I almost flew into a flock like this along the coast of North Carolina. It was like a video game to get out of it.

No beach walk for you!

No clue what this is….

Crates.

Dilapidated shed in a field of flowers, with a power line.

Sculpture garden.

Guy on a horse with a sword.

New age cross.

Some gold statue at a rather magnitudinous installation called “Fátima.”

Portuguese windmills, old style, in various stages of repair.

“Italian marble” from a Portuguese quarry. So I am told some of it is shipped to Italy to be polished and marketed as genuine Italian marble.

Shepherd leaning on his staff.

Flight: Portugal: Wandering Around the Silver Coast

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Photographs – Episode II

I have finally been asphyxiated by my own creativity. There are months of glorious flights back in Catalunya that I haven’t blogged about, and in the spirit of all things Iberian, I have decided I don’t care. I’ll eventually publish something. In the meantime, I am compulsively flying around Portugal whenever the sun comes out, so below are some photos.

As for the much promised second installation of mania, this one features whimsical musings over regional differences in geospatially-influenced travel and lifestyle decisions. The whole idea started with this maniacal quest that seems to surround my photography these days. There is this looming cloud of black doom hanging overhead. No, it is not the resigned pessimism of engine failure (that’s just a gray cloud); rather, it relates to the idea that “it is unlikely I will be here again in the Cub, so I may as well seize the day and go flying.” One would ask, “Where is here?” and the answer is that “here” is anywhere I am in Europe. Is it logical to assume that I will set foot again in Portugal with the Cub, or anywhere else I go? Probably not. Enter Germanic heritage with its associated nonsense about thrift, work, and value maximization, and now we have a recipe for a fanatical obsession.

That got me musing on the fact that I did not feel that way in Wyoming, where I did my highest concentration of flying in one year. Granted, once the decision was made to move to Germany, there was some hysteria to finish a long list of projects; however, the existentialism of Wyoming is not a deluded hysteria by any means: not for me, not for those who live there, and not for those who visit briefly. Wyoming and the West is about nature and exploration and the process of it. Few are in a mad rush to bucket list their way through natural monuments; they are usually so enchanted that they stop in the middle of the road and gaze at their surroundings, without any cognizance of the other humans around them.

Contrast that to Europe. Americans that visit Europe on vacation specifically do bucket list their way through overtly common lists of tourist hellholes, traveling at absurd speeds, trying to see it all. Why? Probably it has something to do with the idea that they won’t be there again, so why not see it?

It is strange to think of Spaniards being carefree in Spain, Americans being enraptured by nature in the West, and Americans acting like lunatics in Europe. Do Europeans scurry around the USA on vacation? Possibly. They often report seeing more sights than Americans have seen in America while on a mere three-week vacation.

What’s the lesson here? I don’t know; this is a blog, so I just ramble. I thought the lesson was to slowly massage the minds of my eager readers into buying my books.

North of Ferrel

Lagoa de Óbidos

Out to sea…

Miradouro do Facho

Nazaré, home of some of the biggest waves in the world (up to 100 feet). Obviously not happening today.

Praia da Gralha

São Martinho do Porto

Salt spray. It comes all the way up to my airplane at 800 feet above sea level and coats it in flight. 

Wave at Nazaré

Rainbow, south of Peniche

Border of Leiria and Lisbon District. Districts are the closest thing to provinces in Portugal. In my opinion, it looks like Ireland this time of year.

Same place looking toward Peniche.

Consolação. 

Baleal, a renowned surfing destination.

Out to sea again. Truth-in-blogging: I actually am near the beach, just pointing the camera out to sea. There is no way in hell I would fly out of glide range. I don’t like flying over water.

Splash. Baleal.

Cabo Carvoeiro. Waves broke the windows at the restaurant 20 feet above the water a few weeks ago. 

Peniche.

West of Boavista.

Praia do Porto Barril.

Porto Novo.

Book #14: The First 100 Days: Flying in La Cerdanya

Supposedly, the concept of a blog for authors is to “engage with the reader.” The experts tell me that people want to hear all sorts of blathering and “personal interactions,” to make followers feel special, like they have some sort of backstage access. I think the whole thing is odd, though I certainly don’t mind the occasional esoteric fusillade railing against incongruities in social norms. In keeping with this “engage with the reader” bit, I’ll share some hot air about my book publication.

#14 was done a while ago, and I am officially letting my blog readers in on it, months later, which defeats the whole backstage access theory. I’ll let you in on a secret: #15 has been on the market too (it’s on Amazon, held under wraps, of course), and I am measuring 4cm dilation for #16! Don’t tell anyone.

If one cannot tell, I find the idea of announcing the arrival of a book as somewhat existential. I put it on the site and forget about it, and then realize: “Oh, I should probably send a note to the people who have bothered to express specific interest in my work.”

This latest title “The First 100 Days: Flying in La Cerdanya” is a slightly new subject template, where I chose to show 1-2 photographs of each of my first 100 flights in Cerdanya. One always includes Cerdanya and related environs, whereas optional image #2 contains where I went on that flight, out of the area. It is noteworthy that I flew 100 times in less than a year, which is a bit of a deluded, fanatical obsession, but I digress.

I could try the whole poor fundraiser angle. For every book that is sold, I get enough royalties for 6 minutes of fuel, which is so financially unappealing that I wish I didn’t calculate that quippy factoid.

The link below will go to the book page on my site, which will link to Amazon in the USA and Europe.

 

 

 

Flight: Spain, Portugal: 2 of 2: Crossing Iberia (The Rest of the Story, Part II)

Since my highest concentration of sardonic witticism lies in the image “labels,” I’ll skip the amorphous blob of words and cut to the chase. Please see AOPA post for the story behind the friendly visit by Spanish paramilitary police.

Somewhere in Extremadura…

Embalse de Cazalegas

I haven’t figured out what species these trees are. Cows graze beneath and crops are raised beneath also. I suspect they are cork oak, or the tree that wild pigs feed on, get shot, and then become Iberian ham.

Extremadura. Cloudy, so not the best day for photos, but otherwise good to get the plane to yet another country.

Spring flowers.

Lagartera

Embalse de Valdecañas (aka middle of nowhere)

These markings repeatedly puzzled me in flight.

This lies in the middle of absolutely nowhere and lacks any indication as to its use. No crosses, no rigid gates, no signs for tourists. It seems decently maintained enough.

Parque Nacional de Monfragüe, infrared. Glare was getting excessive with visible spectrum.

Customer service visit by Spanish paramilitary police to make sure my time in Spain is going smoothly. “An American! Let’s get the bastard!” Full story on the AOPA post. 

Casar de Cáceres

Donkeys!

Explanation as to those bizarre markings in the field.

Strange trees.

Wyoming…or Extremadura? I’d love to do a focus group test and see what people choose.

Infrared.

Vaquitos.

Good use of stones: permanent fencing.

Hmm….something looks strange. [Look down at iPad] Hey, we’re in Portugal! Country #7 for the Cub!

Eucalyptus trees.

Same thing…in infrared.


Orchard.

Eucalyptus trees, infrared. Getting near the coast as haze increases and temperature drops.

Óbidos. Medieval tourist hotspot.

Atlantic Ocean! I made it here alive….

Flight: Spain: 1 of 2: Crossing Iberia (The Rest of the Story)

For those who have read my March 9 AOPA post, these are the photos that were missing; i.e., the rest of the story. For those who have not read the AOPA post, I suggest doing so as the story of crossing Spain into Portugal is told. As for why there is a bunch of rambling below, well, you’ll have to skip the normal routine of ignoring what I write for favor of pretty pictures if one wishes to understand the content.

“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of photographs.” That is how one person who actually reads my stream of literary emissions had to say about it (particularly when he was getting my blog in his inbox and not a bunch of bean counting that he wanted instead). In this particular installation of mania, I will dive into the sticky subject of expatriate living.

Previously, I have railed against my lifestyle as appearing like the archetypal “travel.” Those who wander like discerning, cultured, and unique individualists prefer to not be identified as a “tourist” while at the same time enjoying traditional social presumptions afforded to those who have connoisseured a list of curated destinations. In other words, behaving like a tourist but doing it “differently.” As one would expect, I don’t fit into that category, of course, even though it looks like I do. I have an airplane, which makes me different, or snobbishly supremacist, or both, depending on from who’s perspective.

Now, moving on to another thing that I am not doing that I am actually doing. It has come to my attention after some recent saline-infused coastal musings that expatriate living is traditionally a binary prospect. One either lives like their home culture or the culture of where they live at present while abroad. I have observed many other American expats, and while it is almost impossible to shed a strong accent while speaking a foreign language and other indications of one’s point of origin, I can see that a number of them are fully adopting, or trying to adopt, the local culture. Almost all of them have something they do not like about the United States, and are willing to state it as one of the primary reasons for living in whichever country they are in. Naturally, one would come to the conclusion that there is something so overwhelmingly negative for some people in their home country that they are ditching living there and adopting something else.

Curiously, I have run into a number of Europeans in country outside of their own, and many of them are preaching why the new European country is so much better than the old. Then there was a Portuguese pilot, who used to live in Africa, who asks himself what he is doing living in Portugal…..?

That led to a perception that maybe the matter in question is not how good America or any other country is, perhaps it is a person’s native vs adopted country. It seems that many who leave their native land find themselves in a binary decision between the two, clearly opting for the adopted if they are self-professed happy expats. That lends a further question, what are people leaving in their home country that is better elsewhere?

For those who love travel, the thrill of the wander is enough. As someone who is seemingly completely lost, I can attest that travel is a part of expat living…to a point. Then a new place becomes home, and the initial travel element recedes significantly. I find that it really is a question of a way of life. I would say a country, or a culture, though I think it is more than that. Some countries — law, culture, language, and economics aside — have very specific weather and geography, which strongly favors one lifestyle and may outright prohibit another. Are there skiers in Algeria, or beachside bars in Finland? For someone born in a country that has a way of life that prohibits the individuality of a person in question, one can understand why a new country is adopted.

So, naturally, one would ask what I am looking for outside of America, to which I reply that I am not being like everyone else (of course, even though I am doing what other expats do), and I have a wonderfully accented spice of cogent individuality that drives my enviably eclectic decision making. One way or another, I am sure I will have more to say at some future point.

Cadí-Moixeró (Would one expect anything less?)

Montserrat. Yes, I know. Repetitive beauty. May I suggest other American aerial photographers in Catalunya if you’re not happy?

Riu Segre, infrared. I figured out how to get the colors to behave better.

Inversion along the Pre-Pyrenees.

Serra Montsec

Border of Catalunya and Aragon.

Entering the plains, infrared.

The plains, which then become the desert. Its a little less severe as its winter.

Hill north of Zaragoza, infrared.

Ebro River valley, west of Zaragoza. Strong headwind.

And fire….

Moncayo ridge on the south side of Monegros. Wind mills = wind.

Tierga. I am sure most people will recognize the name.

Somewhere in the middle of Spain.

Somewhere else in the middle of Spain.

Embalse de Pálmaces

Hills right next to Embalse de Pálmaces.

And hills right next to the hills right next to Embalse de Pálmaces, infrared.

Beleña de Sorbe, another famous place.

Alright, this is just NE of Madrid and I am sick of looking it up.

Infrared, for the visually daft.

Madrid skyscrapers in the distance, directly north of the city. Throne of Mariano Rajoy, oppressor of Catalunya or defender of Spanish pride, depending on whether or not you are in Catalunya.

Embalse del Pardo

Suburbs of Madrid. Ugh.

One hell of a cross.

En route to Casarrubios for the night.

Flight: France: Limoux, Autumn Wine Country

Limoux is a tiny little nothing that comprises the nearest name for the farthest reach of this two hour flight. It was a section I had not yet wandered to: out of the French Pyrenees and descending down into wine country yet in the direction of Toulouse in lieu of the Mediterranean. For many reasons, driven mostly out of emotion, I hadn’t done so yet. Perhaps it has something to do with being in France, or the climb to 6,500 feet only to descend down to 2,000 to then climb back to 6,500 to descend to 3,609? Or it might be that the climate and wind is entirely different there. Perhaps it’s the entirely rugged, canyon-filled terrain? Or to top it all off, it’s in sort of a never-never land on Google Maps, with a lot of that quadrant clouded in on satellite shots.

Nonetheless, it was time to go in late October.

It is pleasant now to consider autumnal harvests and the rejuvenating gathering process of the year’s philosophical fruits. As of this moment, we are buried under tremendous amounts of snow and have been experiencing temperatures down to -9F, creating a wholesale change in how one’s environment is viewed.

The funny thing about the area in question is that a local Catalan explained to me how the French view this area of France (and Spain) as the “culo del mundo,” the “ass of the world.” It is the Iberian way of calling it an armpit, yet I find the scenery pretty.

Abbaye Notre-Dame de Donezan

Sarrat de Canada

Above Le Clat

Cailla

Wine Country

Beginning the ascent back….

La Serre – that’s original…

Chateau de Puivert. Sounds a lot like “Pervert Castle.”

French highway D16, like that matters to anyone. Taken directly over Camp Marcel.

Sneaky little plateau surrounded by rugged terrain. Taken over La Benague.

La Rebenty river down in that gorge.

Entering the Val du Capcir.

Now a few in infrared, the old camera. Ruisseau de Salvanières, on the way down.

L’Aiguette

Wine Country.

Beginning the ascent…

Somewhere on the way up…

Val du Capcir.

Mont Louis / Coll de la Perche