Hermit Peak

I’ve been in a rut lately.  I’m a photographer.  And I haven’t picked up my camera.  Or written a blog post.  Ever since I went to Big Bend National Park back in March, I haven’t felt like going out and shooting.  Excuses.  There aren’t any clouds in the sky.  Too many people out and about in the summer.  Too hot.  I’m too fat to drag myself down a trail.  Any number of reasons not to do what I love.

Last week I starting forcing myself out of the house and on the road, determined to break out of the malaise.

I started with a drive to Estancia to photograph an abandoned farmhouse rumored to be a Sears Roebuck Craftsman kit house from the early 1900s.  One of those places you have to stop and take a couple of shots of, and many have.


A few days later we set out to find the nearly ghost town of Trementina.  There’s not a lot left there, but I’ll take a few shots of any old gas pump that I run across.


I did find some old farm equipment with cholla cactus growing around and through it.


Time spent on the open road was nice, and seeing new places and old rusty things is always fun, but I didn’t feel the fire.  I took a few photos and enjoyed myself, but the passion still seemed out of reach, a distant memory.

Driving back from Trementina, off in the distance, I spotted a mountain peak.  It’s not the first time it has caught my eye — I see it every time I’m in the area — but this time something, an urge, an itch, made me pour over a map and do a little research and figure out that it was Hermit Peak, about fifteen miles as the crow flies from Las Vegas, New Mexico.  I decided that I needed to try and get there.

As often happens, the path taken is not the path intended.  We read directions on how to drive to a hiking trail that would then lead to the top of the peak (hoping for a good vantage point or two along the drive), Google maps sent us in another direction.  We decided to see where that would lead, knowing that our original plan would be the fallback.

From the moment we turned down a dusty county road we could see Hermit Peak off in the distance.  Eventually I had to get out and take a few shots.  I liked this spot but thought that further down the road must be a better vantage point.


This was more like it.  Dramatic clouds in the sky from the monsoon rains, the peak more in profile.


A little further, where we would eventually turn around, was the sweet spot for me.  The clouds, Hermit Peak looming in the background, the dried grass with the remains of an old structure.  I squeezed off quite a few shots in this spot.


The other road?  It was a nice drive, but there was only one good vantage point and the trail is closed.  This day, the unintended path was the right one.


And more importantly, the fire isn’t completely out.

If you’d like to see more of my work, my online portfolio (where my work can be purchased) is here.  I post photos daily on Facebook and Google+, share my photography journey on Twitter (@KSchafferPhoto), and share iPhone pics from the road and around the house on Instagram (kschafferphoto).



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