"Seattle was built out on pilings over the sea, and at high tide the whole city seemed to come afloat like a ship lifting free from a mud berth and swaying in its chains." ~ Jonathan Raban by Jason Leach

7/7 Photo: Yeah, Seattle is a beautiful Skyline, Mt. Rainer in the background (bucket list to climb that peak)

7/8 Photo: Space Needle. Fun fact it is not the highest point in Seattle in which to get a view, but it certainly is expensive!

7/9 Photo: Congratulations to Mike and Nhien on their marriage! Of the only dates I had on my calendar this wedding was it.

7/10 Photo: After being stuck in standstill traffic for 2 hours 50 miles outside of Seattle I was rewarded with a great sunset as I was driving through Oregon.

“What's in store for me in the direction I don't take?” ― Jack Kerouac by Jason Leach

It has been so nice to get off the road for over a week. While I have enjoyed travelling it is also nice to stay and explore one place for a while. What can I say, Boise ID and the surrounding area of Idaho are incredible and beautiful. I am thankful to be moving even closer to my brother and friends in Boise. 

If you do nothing else in Idaho, go see the Sawtooth Mountains! They are stark in contrast and incredible to look at and hike in, I certainly will be back. Anyways as I am finishing this post I am packing for Seattle for a few days, then back through Boise (hopefully to get my car fixed) and then on to Colorado! Lot's to plan between now and then (how to get my stuff from NH), setting up a budget, and more but everyday it seems I meet more and more people from SUNY Plattsburgh (my alma mater) who live in the area which is exciting!

Jon and Sarah you have no idea how excited I am that I discovered you were out there!

See you all!

Jason

6/30 Photo: Travelling around Boise ID for the week, took a trip up to Lucky Peak Lake to check out the mountains and where everyone goes boating. The scenery here is amazing!

7/1 Photo: After a late start, my brother and I headed up to the Sawtooth Mountain range in Stanley ID (about a 3hr drive from Boise). WOW, one heck of a view! This was at about 10pm, after driving around until 12:30am, we finally crashed in his car in the trailhead parking lot. 4th of July weekend is NOT the weekend to roll the dice with campsite availability.

7/2 Photo: After a rough nights sleep we woke to head into Stanley for some breakfast and to top off on water. We then headed to Sawtooth Lake and Alpine Lake along the way (above). We strongly contemplated climbing Alpine Peak (a class 3 scramble seen in the background of this photo) but opted not to due to snowmelt and lack of crampons.

7/3 Photo: After deciding we did not want to sit around for 12 hours at Sawtooth Lake, we hiked out and headed the 3hr drive to McCall for the weekend. This was a Sheep Bridge used to transport flocks across the North Fork of the Payette. Did some fishing and was skunked badly until I got a fly recommendation and then it was a frenzy!

7/4 Photo: A great sunset to wrap up a great weekend. Who said the west doesn't get good sunsets?! That is the aforementioned Sheep Bridge from afar. 

"Obstacles, of course, are developmentally necessary: they teach kids strategy, patience, critical thinking, resilience and resourcefulness." ~Naomi Wolf by Jason Leach

For spending tons of time on the road is has been nice to get off the road for a a few days. I am here in Boise staying with my brother which has been a welcome reprieve! It was not without issue though as my car decided it needs a new control valve (luckily I have been paying for the extended warranty for the past 5 year which covers the $2K cost of the repair), unfortunately I have to wait since the part is backordered! 

On the flip side I was recently offered and accepted a job with the University of Colorado Denver and will be starting July 18th which is exciting! I also completed the work for my second to last course in the MBA program this morning and get a much needed break until my final course in October (phew, but in reality I do not know what to do with myself now lol). 

I am super excited to be moving to Colorado, particularly because it means that my partner and I are finally living together (and both employed)! I cannot wait to show the pictures from the places we visit there!

My brother and I are off to check out some of the Sawtooth Wilderness and Sawtooth Mountains for the weekend and then I head to Portland, OR on the 5th. Apologies that some of the photos are from different dates, I had a lot going on over the past week (job offer, final for class due, car issues) that taking photos took a back seat for two days. BUT I am back on track!

Cheers,

Jason

6/27: So I goofed and missed a day travelling to Boise and having car issues, so this is from Canyonlands National Park on a boulder about 2,000 ft above the ground floor. They call this place Grandview- I can understand why.

6/28: Okay so apparently I missed two days...oops. This is a shot from a small state park in New Mexico. They have a campground inside a canyon here.

6/29: Boise Whitewater River Park, super cool feature right in downtown! This boater is throwing what is known as a "loop," essentially a forward flip while in a boat, he is mid loop.

“Mortal as I am, I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the earth.” ― Ptolemy by Jason Leach

6/25 Photo: Bryce Canyon, just happens to have trees growing out of it

6/26 Photo: Delicate Arch with the Milky Way behind it. That tiny white dot in the middle is a person, just to give some perspective! It was truly incredible to sit on top of a mountain in the desert so late at night and hike out by headlamp. 

"To Travel is to take a Journey into Yourself" - Danny Kanye by Jason Leach

Welp, that time flew by! Sorry for the lack of posting photos, it has been a whirlwind of travel and then finding WiFi spots (strong ones anyways) is a challenge. That being said a quick update and then on to the photos!

So I left Maryland and headed to Johnson City TN, I highly recommend you check this place out! AND if you do get a nitro brewed coffee in town, amazing! Did some hiking in the area, spent time with old friends, checked out Asheville NC (cool town!) and then hit the road again. I took a straight shot over 1,000 miles on I-40. Let's just say my car and I are a lot closer now. Stopped in Oklahoma City, then through Texas, and into New Mexico. I stopped at El Malpais Chalderon National Monument (they had caves and a volcano to check out, no longer active), as well as El Morro National Monument. Cool spots in the middle of lot's of open space. 

From there I headed to Arizona and on to The Grand Canyon. Truthfully, you wont find a photo in here from that because it is really difficult to capture the sheer size and beauty of the place in a picture (that is my challenge to you all to go see it yourself!). From there I headed to Glen Canyon Dam, then to Zion National Park (AMAZING, see photo below). From Zion I went to Bryce Canyon National Park and the last night on to Moab where I am currently sitting outside a Gelato and local coffee roasters shop (they have good WiFi!). I checked out Canyonlands National Park this morning and am looking to do some night shots at Arches tonight. Then it is off to Boise ID for about a week or so with my brother! Talk soon!

 

6/19 Photo: On top of Max Patch with a dear friend! Tennessee is known for its tall mountains called "balds." They are basically devoid of trees but open grassland at 6,000 feet. They only occur in certain places (TN being the main one).

6/20 Photo: This was the drive to the top of Tennessee's tallest mountain, Clingman's Dome in Smokies National Park. It is a 13 mile drive with a 0.5 mile walk, it was clouded in at the summit but there is a cool ramp structure you can climb to get above the tress. 

6/21 Photo: MAD DRIVING DONE OVER THE PAST DAY!!! I drove through TN, OK, and into TX where I took this night shot. PS that is my car that I am rocking across this great land. I plan to do a post of the sweet car camping setup I have been rocking (truthfully it is a bunch of duffles stacked, but I can sleep fully spread out in the backseat through to the trunk, making for easy naps!).

6/22 Photo: BOOM New Mexico! Petrified Forest National Park is really cool! I was not expecting it to be so big (25 miles of road to drive with offshoots). The petrified wood is really colorful but I thought this composition looked better in black and white (I have a thing for BW photo's).

6/23 Photo: Looking out over the Grand Canyon

6/24 Photo: The Narrows at Zion. NEVER have I been to such a cool place with such an different (aka: awesome) experience! For 16 miles (I barely did 3) you can walk the river down a sweet slot canyon (check the flash flood warnings at the visitor center first). This experience solidified for me Zion being my favorite park so far!

Where have I been by Jason Leach

Apologies I have been out of WiFi range and haven't gotten a chance to edit photos! I plan to this week so expect a big photo a day post updating to the current day (I have still been taking them just haven't posted). Here are a few shots from my phone to tide you over!

 

Horsetooth mountain

Horsetooth mountain

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

Chalderon El Malpais

Chalderon El Malpais

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” – Alan Keightley by Jason Leach

6/18: Sunshine and green fields, Maryland has some beautiful scenery 

Deciding to take this road trip has given way to many feelings. Most are good, at other times I wonder if it is the right thing to be doing. More often than not I talk to others and they are jealous and excited. Most wish they had the chance and/or time themselves. Yet I wonder if I am letting myself down or worse others. 

It is interesting to think about how societal pressures influence us unknowingly at times. Today I drove over 400 miles from Maryland to Johnson City Tennessee (a lovely place nestled around the Smokies and just an hour form Ashville North Carolina) and I kept having a reoccurring thought about how perhaps I should be more focused on my job search. That being gainfully employed is what truly matters. That life without a schedule is uncomfortable and almost scary.

Driving alone for 400 miles gives you plenty to think about and just when I arrive to a new place, meeting with old friends, I am continually reminded that others wish they could make the time for a trip like this and perhaps I am become more comfortable with not living life scheduled, and most importantly in hearing their stories, that sure it might take some work and some time, but I will find a job and it will be fine. Here's to letting go of a schedule for a while....

"Here are some who like to run. They run for fun in the hot, hot sun."- Dr. Suess by Jason Leach

6/17 Photo: Thanks for the guest shot from my buddy Kellen. A little trail running down Horsetooth Mountain. I could get used to hiking/trail running/biking in CO.

Life update, I was invited to interview at the University of Colorado Denver this past week, so I got a chance to meet up with some friends and check out what Fort Collins has to offer, suffice to say it was almost surreal. Having planned to live there for so long (and having never been previously) I was not quite sure what to make of it. Until going for a hike, that was all I needed to realize that this place is a great playground and fit. If you have not gone, I highly recommend it.

I am currently back in Maryland and getting ready to head to Tennessee tomorrow. Exciting news, Rachel and I settled on moving to Broomfield CO, and are apartment hunting currently. No worries we will be getting a two bedroom place so you all can visit! She has a great job opportunity and we feel Broomfield sets me up to have options of places to work as it provides easy access to Boulder, Denver, and a variety of smaller areas.  This is pretty exciting given we have spent the past months talking about this move and it is finally here. Suffice to say we are already making wishlists of places to travel and things to do while when we move there and get settled (anyone want to join Manitou Incline Trail?)!

Off to Johnson City TN!

"There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open" by Jason Leach

6-14 Photo: Overlooking Horsetooth Reservoir, Fort Collins CO

6-15 Photo: Looking back towards Fort Collins, at little night long exposure

Apologies, missed posting the photo from 6/14, so you get two today! 

It has been interesting trying to find a photo to take each day. On some level it should be easy but then the mind sets in and wants to do more, to take a better photo. At times it might feel like settling to myself but I remind myself that the goal is to take more photos and document a bit of my travels. Not every photo is epic, but no reason to not try for it to be. 

Keep your eyes open, a ruined scene still has potential if you keep looking (the 6/15 shot was meant to be a starry night one but the moon was too bright, so I looked back to the road for light trails from cars instead).

Best,

Jason

The Best Laid Plans...Pt 2. by Jason Leach

One final sunrise from the beach, who knows how long it might be before I get to see another one...3:30am wake up call was rough though...

Realized I never shared the plan last post! Here it is:

Leave NH (done)
Arrive in MD for few days (currently happening)
Fly to CO for an interview (exciting unexpected addition to the itinerary)
Leave MD for TN and the Smokies
Enjoy Rt-40 for over 1,000 miles
Arrive in UT and head north to Boise ID
Then to Portland OR, then Seattle WA
Loop back to Boise ID, then over to Yellowstone and down to CO

All tentative and subject to change and/or getting a job (which is the ultimate goal). 
 

The best laid plans... by Jason Leach

I have had a strong fondness for this dead tree on the way to Portsmouth since I moved to NH, go figure as I am leaving I finally take the time to photograph it.

Generally I think there are too many dead tree pictures in the world...kind of like there are too many selfies...just saying

Six months ago I made a decision that I was ready to move on with my career. By the books I had spent 10 years living in as either a Resident Assistant or Residence Hall Director. Living where I worked had lost much of its luster.

So I did what any responsible adult would do...

I submitted my resignation and launched into a national job search, hopes high!

While I realize that launching off the deep end without a swim plan might not be for everyone, for me it was a now or never issue. Having spent my entire life in the Northeast (and believe me I love it), I felt strongly that if I did not get away for a bit now I never would and worse would regret it, so in went the resignation and out went the resumes....

and silence.....

Ironically, I was having very much the same experience as the undergraduate students I worked with over the years. Job searching in today's market and economy reminds me of piranhas feeding, a job drips into the water and then SWARM! Not that I had direct knowledge of that fact other than the silence.

Alas, being someone who refuses to stop trying, I simply adjusted my plan...

So today 6/11 marks the start of a cross country road-trip with the goal of continuing to apply and interview for jobs (I have had some successes recently, including one I am very excited about) and check out as many of the national parks as I can along the way!

I plan to post a photo a day from my travels and perhaps some thoughts from the road/job search front, The posts will likely have a 1 day lag time (so the image above was taken last night actually) to give time to edit and write. 

Stay tuned and check back tomorrow for the next (today's) image!