Adventure

From The Manual Travel: Aspen Autumn’s Golden Leaves and Good Food

The leaves across the country are starting to change. Two weeks ago, we managed to get high up into the Colorado mountains where the Aspens were beginning to turn to gold. There are also some great spots to grab a beer and a bite to eat afterwards!

Check out this piece for themanual.com to find out where best to see one of nature’s greatest displays! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Star Gazing in Black Mesa State Park and Preserve: Oklahoma’s Darkest Skies

Sometimes the best way to wrap your brain around how vast the universe is, is to go someplace where there is little else. Here is my write up about stargazing at Black Mesa State Park for 405 Magazine. 

Three Days with the Kuna Yala in Panama’s San Blas Islands

Children of Playon Chico, Ukupseni

Three Kuna women waited for the plane in the rudimentary airport as I arrived to Playon Chico, a small indigenous village in Panama’s San Blas Islands. Each woman was dressed traditionally with a gold ring through their septum and dawning a bright red headscarf, colorful blouse and an explosion of colorful beads on their wrists and legs. The tallest of the three came half way to my torso and they spoke in hushed tones using Kuna and not the Spanish I’d grown used to in my 16 day stay in Central America. Several crabs scurried between their feet and a pair of white ibis flew lazily overhead. A man with a machete walked down the runway towards the three walled airport as children chased a soccer ball in the opposite direction. It was a different world that the frenetic Panama City from whence I’d come.

Local Guna woman in traditional clothing

I pulled out my phone to check in with my wife, but had no reception. The three women boarded the plane which took off over from the mainland over their tiny island connected to the airport by a footbridge. I patted my back pocket realizing quickly that my passport was still on the plane which seconds later, disappeared over the Caribbean Sea. “My passport is on that plane,” I said to Domi, a Kuna gentleman who was there to take me to Yandup Island, a local ecolodge, went minutes away by boat and run entirely by Kuna. I’d hoped to go to Yandup to relax, a goal which was thwarted by my own carelessness.

San Blas Islands

“Come to my village,” said Domi, in broken English. “I help you…”

Three days later, after an incredible trip and thanks to Domi, I got my passport back. Here are some of the beautiful people and incredible places I got to see along the way.  Hope you enjoy!

Wild Icons OK: Conservation Stories Rhinos

I got to produce a series of ten mini documentaries highlighting endangered species and conservation efforts in Oklahoma and worldwide at the Oklahoma City Zoo for OETA, our local PBS affiliate.  It was an incredible learning experience getting to interview the talented and passionate individuals who have dedicated their lives to conservation and these beautiful animals. Beyond grateful to have been a part of it. They will air on several PBS affiliates across several states through October alongside the documentary RARE which tells the story of famed National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore and his effort to photograph every species of animal in captivity to raise awareness. Here is the first one.

RARE: a look at endangered wildlife at the Oklahoma City Zoo

For years, I felt like I had my foot in two boats. On one hand, I’d find myself in Los Angeles working on incredible television shows with great writers where I made lifelong friends. When I was blessed with the opportunity to start travel writing, even though I had no experience doing that type of work, it was an opportunity that I had to explore.

For years, I’d find myself working on a television show on the CBS lot, heading to the airport on a Thursday night, catching a red eye to another country, spending a weekend in a jungle only to take a cab from the airport back to CBS on Monday morning. It was an exhausting but profound experience for me… I thought to myself, eventually these two worlds MUST collide and finally in the last month, I’ve got a taste of what it might be like if they did.

I’ve been hired by OETA, the local PBS affiliate to produce and direct a series of mini-documentaries to be aired in conjunction with a larger documentary on famed  National Geographicwildlife photographer Joel Sartore. Sartore has made it his life’s work to photography every wildlife species living in captivity. He is absolutely brilliant and his passion for wildlife is infectious and inspiring.

My mini documentaries highlight different endangered species, the zoo staff that love them and conservation partners for the Oklahoma City Zoo. I’ve met some of the most passionate, dedicated people imaginable through this process and gotten to spend time with, photograph, video and engage with some of the most tremendous endangered species on the planet. It has been a true joy. These photos are from my experience at thus far on the project. Hope you enjoy them. It has been an experience I’ll always treasure.

Cam the tiger

 

Elephant and new mother.

 

Toba, a fifty year old Orangutan at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

 

A grizzly keeping cool on a summer day.

 

This plough share tortoise was seized in Hong Kong before it was put onto the black market. There are less than 200 in the world.

 

I got to feed this beautiful giraffe by hand.

 

American Flamingos

 

Indian Rhino enjoying a lettuce lunch

 

Silverback gorilla