Magnum Opus: #16: Glaciers of the Rockies

In keeping with my procrastinatory tradition of waiting a few months to announce the publication of a book on the blog, my magnum opus arrived in May: Glaciers of the Rockies. Borne of a deluded fixation to photograph an impossible list of things wedged into a brief summer melt season (which got choked with smoke for half of it), I viciously attacked a massive geographic expanse in late 2015 before packing the plane up and running to Germany. In fact, I was fatigued under my own fanaticism and was considering getting the Montana glaciers in 2016 until the Germany “opportunity” presented itself in the middle of the glacier project, which caused a domino effect where I realized the glaciers would all melt by the time I got back with the Cub when I would be fat[ter?] and middle aged, so no time like the present.

I can finally state that I am current with blog announcements of books. #16 is the latest release, though more are in progress. I have four projects swirling in my head derived of my Western USA flying (still, three years later). As for Europe……this is hard to put into words. The 16 + 4 books are derived of 30% of my photography stock. The remaining 70% has been taken here in Europe, and each time I sit down to work on something, I look out the window, the sun is shining, and I hop in the plane instead…….

I will put a sneak preview in here of some flying last week, demonstrating that the glacier theme is not done.

Glacier du Tour, Argentière, French Alps 

Click below for book page.


Flight: Spain: 2 of 2: Madrid to Cerdanya

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Push Pins. Episode IV. Stereotypical Delusions

In my previous rantings against the Social Media-Travel-Industrial Complex, the subject of Europe vs America was featured as a differential comparison to rail against vain and simplistic perspectives on traveling here. While that is most certainly true, it belies a deeper philosophy that is applicable irrespective of location.

When I chat with Americans about life over here, their eyes glaze over, heads tilt a bit, and they gaze off toward the horizon, akin to nun in a moment of religious ecstasy. It is as though I am describing the Promised Land, when I am merely referring to an interesting experience that involves a dirt road, a sheep, and a redneck Catalan farmer. How is this such a transcendent experience compared to wandering how a rural road in Appalachian Ohio? Something is seriously off about these spiritual elevations that I am capable of bestowing upon happenstance individuals that I talk [brag] with about living here.

One has to ask if the person finds the dusty Catalan sheep enviable, or if said person wants something new and different from their dull and pedestrian existence. I would venture to guess the latter, that the state of being while exploring something new is that which people wax poetically over, while getting confused and fixating on the location.

This supposition is confirmed by a spatial reality: move somewhere “exotic” and after a while, the exotic place becomes normal, which leaves the person living in an exotic place looking to go out and explore, as the new normal gets boring. Uh oh. Nobody bragging on Instagram talks about this curiosity. Wait. I should stay quiet and keep feeding carefully curated pieces of marketing meat to my blog readers instead….

Photos are the second half of getting the plane from Portugal back to Cerdanya.

Prior evening flight to Toledo, beginning with some glorious Spanish housing near the town of El Álamo. This is not an Alamo that I would suggest remembering.

Holy Toledo! This was a phrase oft-used by a rather crass semi-Polish woman that lurked in my childhood. For those that don’t get the double entendre, the photo is a church in Toledo, Spain.

Toledo, the not as holy part.

On the way back to Casarrubios. Someone educated me that the clouds on the horizon are “real clouds” and that the cirrus clouds above are chemtrails, though I was not educated on the particular agenda of these “chemtrails.” I adroitly noted that such clouds would represent an astronomical quantity of chemicals to have been slipped into the upper atmosphere without anyone noticing, and his reply was “now you’re getting it.”

The next morning, on the way to Cerdanya. Poppy field.

We could do this two ways: “Some fields in Spain” or “near Colmenar de Oreja.”

West of Huete.

East of Huete.

Further east of Huete.

Sheep. Not Catalan though.

Somewhere near Valdemoro-Sierra. It looks sexier from the satellite.

Near Teruel.

East of Teruel.

West of Cirujeda. Looks like wood grain though its just dirt.

Almost to the Monegros Desert.

Monegros Desert. It went from about 55F (13C) to 82F (28C) in 15 minutes of flying.

Mequinenza Reservoir.


Mequinenza Reservoir, in a section without silt from recent rains.

Peach trees in Aitona, Catalunya. Visca la revolució!

Nefarious section of Catalunya that has an inversion for half the year.

Approaching the Pre-Pyrenees. It feels good to be back!

Flight: Portugal, Spain: 1 of 2: Atlantic Ocean to Madrid

It was roughly as complicated to get the airplane from the Atlantic Ocean back to the Pyrenees as it was to get to Portugal in the first place, such that it was broken up into two totally separate trips, with the plane stuck in Madrid for a week. I wrote extensively about the story for AOPA on the following post; therefore, I will offer extra images here and go light on words.

Crossing the Tagus River, Portugal. A bit of fog below.

Not too far from the Spanish border, still in Portugal.

Cattle grazing amongst flowers, with an interesting cloud shadow.

Dark red soils southeast of Badajoz, Spain.

Watershed east of Aeródromo El Moral.

I believe these are cork oak trees, with spring flowers beneath.

Near Don Benito.

Rice patties east of Don Benito. The rice has not grown yet. When it does in the summer, it will be a powerful green. Right now its just flooded with water.

El Campillo de la Jara.

Field textures.

About 30 miles west of Madrid.

Quismondo, with the Extremadura Highway. We would drive this very road 5 days later, and the weather was exactly the same in each respective place.

Almost to Casarrubios for the night after just over 5 hours in the air. Too bad weather wasn’t as nice for the eastern half of Spain.