Lost Maples: Wake-up call

Lost Maples State Park is a popular destination for landscape photographers and painters. Late October through early November, the shifting shades of reds and oranges form a collage of fall colors. A clear, cold stream twists and turns through the rocky riverbed. Brightly colored Maple leaves float as tiny  boats drawn towards countless small waterfalls. Encompassed by rock-faced, rolling hills and endless sunsets Lost Maples is a nature-lovers playground only a two hour drive North West of San Antonio.

Lost Maples (19)
Photo credit to Texas State Park.

  At least that’s what countless publications, postcards, and websites seem to express. Our fall schedule, as it always does, is filled with festivals, weddings, and family commitments. So there we were in late December, being pursued by strong winds and freezing rain. The story of my life is being in the right place at the wrong time.   Always the optimist, Lauren pointed to a single maple leaf buffeted by the wind, “look one waited for us.”  Only moments later, it too fell to the ground.Lost Maples (12)Lost Maples (15)

Stuck in our camper van comforted only by a hot cup of coffee, I gazed out the window. Lauren, always upbeat, sat crocheting  another beanie for a kid fighting cancer at MD Anderson.

That night, no amount of clothing could withstand the harsh cold of the unrelenting wind. If only I could get a few decent images of a star trail, a good night sky silhouette to soak in the light of another galaxy, the backdrop of a cosmos. Yet, the night sky and all its splendor remained hidden behind the clouds. As a last ditch effort I resorted to halfhearted light painting. Lost Maples (20)

The following morning, to our surprise, the sun tired to push though the clouds. Hiking toward “Monkey Rock”, still frustrated, I wondered would Monkey Rock even look like a monkey.  How often have you hiked miles to see a famous formation which looked nothing like its name or navigated through the back-country to capture images of a magical waterfall only to find a trickle of water flowing down a slime-covered rock face. Yes, I was a bit bitter.

Lost Maples (23)

However, Monkey Rock did not disappoint, nor did any aspect of these trails and park system. With each photo my mood improved. The light wasn’t perfect but, it would have to do. Upon making adjustments to the aperture and shutter speed, I began to realize there was something wrong with my  perspective. But not a perspective related to the composition, focal distance, or lighting, just my personal perspective. I don’t leave the suburbs and hike into the woods for the sake of a picture, a Go-Pro video, or a story.Lost Maples (17)

  If taking photos, writing articles, or blogging become more important than actually seeing, experiencing, and learning, then I’ve lost my way.  True discovery is no more about conquest than real art is about recognition.

 Lost Maples (13)Lost Maples (22)

4 thoughts on “Lost Maples: Wake-up call

  • In this day and age of wonderful camera gear, it is real easy to get caught up in the moment instead of enjoying the big picture. Taking images and blogging are important to me too but so is Nature and the picture she presents us. Great blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Monkey rock was completely unexpected for me too. I saw the sign and thought “yeah right” with sarcasm. But it totally looked like a monkey. Made my day when I camped there in the rain for two days last year. But you are right. Going camping and hiking is about connection with nature again, good bad and ugly. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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