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Age and pursuit?

Daryl L. Hunter

Daryl L. Hunter

I am at that awkward stage of aging where I sometimes forget about it, usually while in pursuit of an elusive photo with a rapid expiration date.

It wasn’t until I was forty-three when I took on the task of fatherhood. Another task I added concurrently was to not appear to be the old guy to my young son Scott. I went too much pain to appear to be fifteen years younger, activity wise, than the weary carcass beneath the weary smile. Oh granted, pretending to be younger made me healthier. Oh, except for the breaking and training of the horses, which made me less healthy, incongruently while making me appear more virile.

Daryl L. Hunter & horse Jake

Daryl L. Hunter & horse Jake

While teaching my younger boy Cody how to run barrels on horseback, my young, and green horse as horses do, freaked out and threw me. When you get thrown from a horse, for the sake of training of the horse, you must get back on or they learn a bad lesson. The horse wasn’t the only student in the arena; Cody must learn that as well. So after catching my breath a search of my soul for a bit of nerve, I climbed back on and fifteen minutes latter the lesson was over. A healthy rotator cuff had also met its end.

Scott Hunter, 2007

Scott Hunter, 2007

One day after hiking with a 3,000-elevation gain with my son Scott, a couple of hundred yards from the car Scott asked; “What are we going to do next dad?” With self-loathing, I replied; I’m going to go lay on the couch. I could have really impressed him had I climbed the other mountain.

One autumn while crossing Owl Creek Pass in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado, after a fresh skiff of autumn snow, I saw a porcupine cross the road. Porcupines are a tough photo find, I hastily parked, grabbed my gear, and flew down the hill with all the enthusiasm of a twenty-year old after a hot girl on a Friday night.

Porcupine, Owl Creek Pass, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Porcupine, Owl Creek Pass, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

With all the aplomb of someone whose muscle memory remembered their agility of yore, I deftly caught up to the porcupine then commenced to coerce a smile from the camera shy little beast.

When my portrait work was finished, was the moment the old man in me showed back up. I gazed up the hill I had exuberantly flown down and had an age appropriate groan. I then started moaning and groaning, slipping, and sliding, and falling. I sure could have used that muscle memory and agility of yore that deserted me following my pre-photo adrenalin, as I ascended the muddy, snowy hill. I didn’t know it at the time, but during one of the slips I damaged my shoulder, most likely the left rotator cuff. Now it matches my right rotator cuff I damaged getting bucked off the young horse a decade ago. Now my back goes unscratched. Sometimes I go about balance all the wrong ways.

A Wyoming cowboy works and herd of Bison beneth the Grand Tetons in Jackson Hole Wyoming

A Wyoming cowboy and herd of Bison beneath the Grand Tetons in Jackson Hole Wyoming

While leading a Grand Teton wildlife safari one day I saw a cowboy riding through a heard of bison with the Grand Tetons towering above. A great photo could be had if I could muster up some speed. I briefly told my guests how lucky they were to see such a rare sight. After due diligence, guest wise, I then grabbed my camera and ran to a good vantage point and started shooting, the rider was moving quickly requiring me to do the same. Major huffing and puffing rapidly followed as I ran north trying to keep the cowboy and bison squared up the Grand Tetons beyond. You shouldn’t have a subject exiting a photo, they must be moving into it, requiring me to keep the rider in the left side of the frame while keeping the tallest of peaks in the center. One of my guests got a kick out of my weak effort and huffing and puffing, which could be heard from dozens of yards away, he jokingly hollered; “Want me to bring you an iron lung?” I got the shot! I latter I recovered my wind without the help of an iron lung.

Mount Edith Cavell reflection upon the calm waters of Cavell Lake in Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies

Mount Edith Cavell reflection upon the calm waters of Cavell Lake in Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies

On an early summer morning in Canada’s Jasper National Park, my friend Jim Osterhout and I were pursuing reflections of Mt Edith Cavell upon the glassy waters of Lake Cavell. We quickly grabbed the easy shots, and then we took off through a swampy overgrown trail with all the determination and gusto of an idiot on a survival show with the cameras running, for the trophy photo over yonder and around the bend. The reflections of a windless morning don’t last for long, so we were in quit a hurry as we had no time left in Jasper for another try. August is berry season in the Canadian Rockies, berry bushes are what had overtaken the trail, grizzly bears love berries. Since grizzly bears love berries, while Jim and I were hustling though the berry bushes, we were making the, due diligence, Hey bear, hey bear yell as we made our way rapidly to our hoped for reflection.

Jim Osterhout Jasper National Park

Jim Osterhout Jasper National Park

After capturing a superb reflection we excruciatingly made our way through the thick brambles that were oblivious to us while trying to beat the wind to fleeting reflection. As we called “hey bear, hay bear” we sounded more like an easy meal than fearless hikers storming through the forest. Jim and I had a good laugh about this upon reaching the car while also observing that the next time we might consider not wearing shorts before a charge through the brush as our legs looked as though we had been self-flagellating with rose bushes. Upon arrival for our evening photographer’s boat tour to Spirit Island, one of the other guests jokingly commented; “It looks like you have photographers legs.” Until that moment, I was unaware that scratched and bleeding shins and calves had a name.

Spirit Island, Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada

Spirit Island, Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada

Today I moan and grown however, the next time I’m racing ahead of the wind to capture the reflection upon a mountain lake, I’m sure the exuberance of pursuit will once again overcome my age. Wisdom is elusive to some of us.

For Photography Tour  = http://www.theholepicturesafaris.com

Buy a print  = http://www.daryl-hunter.com/gallery-list

16 thoughts on “Age and pursuit?

  1. Cindy Pyburn says:

    Love it when you take us on your adventures. Beautiful images.

  2. Felix Arroyo says:

    Excellent read Daryl, I am 61 years young and I do agree with you that its our body that gets old but our spirit don’t want to quit. Something like Peter Pan. Every time I feel that I have accomplished everything I wanted in life, out of the mist appears a new mountain, big and beautiful and there I go huffing and puffing to conquer it. Winston Churchill once said ” Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about” and for me that’s to travel, to travel far. Stray away Daryl.

    • Felix, you own the biggest case of wanderlust I’ve ever seen. Our bucket list will always get longer, it will never get shorter 🙂 Thanks for reading. We must meet up in April and go somewhere !

  3. Liz says:

    So fun to read while also enjoying your amazing photography!!

  4. Daryle says:

    I love this, Daryl.We are looking forward to adding more memories with you in Germany.
    Daryle

    • Yes we will Daryle, I also am looking forward to showing you, Saba and Nancy around where I have been and anxious to see the places you and Nancy requested that we add on. Glad you enjoyed my article 🙂

  5. Larry Norton says:

    Daryl, I think l resemble some of those remarks but none of mine are quite so colorful. Thanks for the story. Tell Jim I said hi. Love the photography. Take care. Larry

  6. Carol Bittner says:

    Lovely photos
    Loved your humor
    Age 71
    Some days I feel 35
    That is when I get reminderd that was long ago and far away.
    Keep up the Wonderful photos and humor.

  7. DeLynn Corica says:

    Really love reading about all the adventures you, and Jim find yourself in! Your photos are always amazing and uplifting! Jane and I arrive in Jackson Hole today 9/13-21

  8. Walt Akin says:

    Daryl, love the story I got some good lol about being old but you got a long ways to go. I love picture where do you find all these places?

    • Oh Walt, I’m feeling a bit older than I am because of some chronic heath issues but that is ok, life is good. My photography after long last is starting to take me far and wide, not making much money it is paying for some plane tickets and for gasoline to Canada. Where I live is also a treasure trove of beautiful places, that is why I chose to live here in 1987. Thanks for reading and commenting Walt, good to hear from you brother 🙂

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