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One Month of the Quest in Images

My heart jumped as the turtle obliterated before my eyes. We’d just pulled over the side of the road to try and rescue him, but I saw the car coming at full speed and knew this little guy didn’t stand a chance. For the next ten miles we passed squashed turtle after squashed turtle. They seemed to like the hot but very dangerous pavement, and who wouldn’t after hibernating all winter long? It’s the ongoing friction between our world and theirs, right?

The turtle explosion was only one of many memorable moments on this quest so far. Hard to believe it’s been exactly one month! To celebrate we’ve assembled a collection of photos from the start, showcasing the journey.

We’ve camped every night (except four nights in Nashville), driven about 2,500 miles, visited four parks and created three posters. Currently out & about at Mesa Verde.

Best part so far?

Meeting so many kind, generous folks.

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From our pre-quest trip in southern Ohio, March 2016.
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It’s been challenging to camp without making trash, but we do the best we can with reusable bags, a good cooler and choosing recyclable packaging. We’re doing this to reduce our impact.
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The journey began from Ohio on April 16th.
We spend the first few days in each park just getting to know the place, sketching along the way
We spend the first few days in each park just getting to know the place with writing and sketches.
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Most nights have been chilly so far, but this scene is a rare occurrence. We tend to just go to bed early and have made fire only about six nights.
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Tours are a great way to learn about the parks (and meet other people!) Experiencing Mammoth Cave NP, park 1.
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A little light to the darkness makes a difference at camp.
First official design of our Centennial Poster Series
First official design of our Centennial Poster Series, our project to illustrate one poster per park, capturing stories from these protected places to celebrate our natural heritage.
Andres in Mammoth Cave, while he still had his beard.
Andres above Mammoth Cave, while he still had his beard.
We tend to set up the larger tent for several days, it's nice not to take down and set up every day. At Gulpha Gorge, Hot Springs NP.
We tend to set up the larger tent for several days, it’s nice not to take down and set up every day, and we can even set up a camp table to work here if it rains, as it did at Gulpha Gorge Campground, Hot Springs NP.
No these aren't torture devices, but high class spa treatments at the Hot Springs NP Fordyce Bathhouse Museum.
No these aren’t torture devices, but high class spa treatments at the Hot Springs NP Fordyce Bathhouse Museum.
The poster features handcrafted typography and detailed illustration, designed in Hot Springs National Park.
The posters feature handcrafted typography and detailed illustration, designed together in Hot Springs National Park.
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The U.S. is a visual storyteller’s paradise with its diverse layers. So many towns have old buildings like these, places that seem forgotten but rich with memory. Ola, Arkansas.
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Meals have been simple but delicious thanks to creative spice combinations. Typical oatmeal breakfast cooking here at Lake Thunderbird State Park in Oklahoma, on the way west to Colorado.
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It’s amazing what you can do with lentils and rice, my friends.
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Driving across northern Texas was a whirlwind of endless road, drilling and giant cattle enterprises that made us stare out in silence.
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But we met OJ, a man who grew up on these lands without electricity. “You guys need help?” He asked. “Oh thanks! No, Andres just likes to lay down on roads with his camera, we’re okay.” We asked to take his portrait and got his address so we could send the photos.
Before we leave each park we make sure to get the classic photo along with our stamps.
We made it to Colorado on May 2nd. Gotta take the classic photo in each park.
Great Sand Dunes NP enchanted us with a rough yet magical landscape.
Great Sand Dunes NP enchanted us with a rough yet magical landscape.
And so many deer who weren't shy at all.
And so many deer.
We backpacked into the dunes for the full experience. The stillness is breathtaking.
We backpacked into the dunes for the full experience. The stillness is breathtaking.
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The third official Centennial Poster Series print.
Then we got to Mesa Verde NP, we arrived in sleet and the second night was the coldest camp of all with temps in the 20s. It warmed up though.
Then we arrived to Mesa Verde NP in sleet and the second night was the coldest camp of all with temps in the 20s. It warmed up, as you can see.
We lingered behind the tour group to get a photo of Balcony House cliff dwelling without people.
We lingered behind the tour group to capture a photo of Balcony House cliff dwelling. Happy to be off the ladder to get here.
Using up a collard green for a lentil and rice burrito lunch. See, it is amazing what you can do with rice and lentils, especially left overs. Top it off with avocado and salsa.
You feel tiny in the cliffs.
Being still to capture moments like these.
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You feel tiny in the cliffs. (Petroglyph trail at Mesa Verde).
And sometimes you feel at the top of the world.
Or on top of a canyon (Petroglyph trail at Mesa Verde).
We usually stay out and about all day, often getting back to cook in the dark.
We usually stay out and about all day, often getting back to cook in the dark.
After all, why would you cook during the best time of the day? Sunset along Knife Edge Road trail, Mesa Verde.
After all, why would you cook during the best time of the day? Sunset along Knife Edge Road trail, Mesa Verde.

We hope you’ll sign up to continue following the quest! You’ll get to enjoy extra stories in a letter sent out once per week. You can also check out this story to learn more about the posters.

2 comments

  1. Beautiful photos, I am enjoying reading along with your quest. Just found you yesterday from Art of Nonconformity.

    We just returned from Rocky Mountain National Park and loved every minute of it. Cannot wait to get back to the mountains and other national parks.

    1. Thank you Kevin 🙂 That sounds great, we loved Rocky Mountain NP. Though I must admit my favorite mountainous park so far has been Glacier NP – there’s something truly magical about those valleys, meadows and peaks. Definitely plan your next trip to Glacier!

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