...and so it continues

Ask me anything   please join me on my continuing journey. share your thoughts. share your pics. share your soul.


    Best seat in the house. Above Lake Cecret at 10,110 feet. Spectacular views. Total solitude. Perfect.

    — 1 year ago
    2013-0921 Back on the Trail - michael takano →

    Finally got back on the trails today!

    Its been a couple of weeks. Did an easy 6 miles. Mild ascents. Nothing too strenuous. Yea right. Was pretty tired when I made it back.

    There was a steep scramble at the end of the hike. Tried. Failed. Legs were too tired to compensate for the wet and slippery rocks. Next time for sure!

    It was really nice to get back outside. Temps in the high 80s. Lots of sun. Breezy. Perfect weather for a hike. I am going to miss these days in another month.

    Totally out of condition. Feet tired and sore. Heavy breathing at 8,000 feet. Amazing how quickly my body gives back any conditioning in just a couple of weeks.

    Just absolutely love being outside and moving. 

    (other pics)

    — 1 year ago

    Yaaaaaay, made it up to Lake Blanche today. I was determined to eat my banana by the lake!

    — 1 year ago

    The most comfortable furniture at 5,968 feet!

    — 1 year ago
    4th of July in Salt Lake City (do the mouse thing to see more) →

    Spent July 4th, 2013 in Salt Lake City. Was lucky enough to be staying on the 12th floor of the Little America Hotel with south-facing view of the Salt Lake valley. More specifically, with a view of the local ballpark that was host to a pretty nice show. [Thank you Blake for setting me up].

    Being from NYC, I didn’t quite know what to expect. When you grow up watching what could arguably one of the grandest 4th of July spectacles, it sets the bar pretty high.

    While not quite up to the Macy’s fireworks extravaganza, it was a pretty good show. Now, the thing about Utah is that firework, for the most part, are LEGAL. I cannot recall a day in NYC when this was true. We were always lucky enough as kids that some of the older guys knew where to get this stuff.

    As we got older, we always knew who to go to in the neighborhood. These guys had some Chinatown connection and would always get the wickedest (read: most dangerous) stuff.

    Scanning the valley, there had to be at least 20 displays going on at the same time.  The closest was at the ballpark at is where all of my pictures are from.

    I set up my tripod (I really need to learn how to use this contraption properly). Mounted my camera. And now what?

    Flash? Long exposure? Aperture wide open? WTF? I don’t know anything about shooting in the dark. Let alone, trying to capture really, really bright explosions that I had no idea when they would actually, you know, explode.

    3 second exposures? 4 second exposures? 5 second exposures? Absolutely no clue. So did the next best thing and used them all. 

    Another thing to put on my long and growing list of things to learn.

    All I can say is thankfully, there is post-processing tools like Lightroom that allows some recovery from extremely bad camera settings. RAW. RAW. RAW. My saving grace to capturing moments in time.

    Took pretty big liberties with editing these. Some came out ok. Most hit the trash can. One day, I will forget about this particular 4th of July and will look back and fondly recall that I really knew absolutely nothing about what I was doing.



    — 1 year ago
    #saltlakecity  #4th of july  #fireworks 
    Hidden Falls Little Cottonwood, UT (click on me for more pics) →

    This is a hidden gem that is literally 150 feet from the trailhead. At the end of a hot sweaty hike, finding this cool, shaded, waterfall was amazing. I wish that the pools were deeper…I would he jumped in for sure.

    — 1 year ago
    #hiddenfalls  #littlecottonwood  #utah  #hikingaround 
    Window seat at Lake Solitude.

    Window seat at Lake Solitude.

    — 1 year ago
    Just by chance, I looked out of my hotel window and caught this amazing rainbow. Rainbows don’t usually get me excited but there was something about this one that felt different to me.

    Just by chance, I looked out of my hotel window and caught this amazing rainbow. Rainbows don’t usually get me excited but there was something about this one that felt different to me.

    — 1 year ago
    Bridal Veil Falls and Timpanogos Caves


    I chanced on the spectacular Falls while visiting Timpanogos Caves. This was one of those serendipitous discoveries that you just feel so lucky to have encountered.

    Truth be told, I totally screwed up and kept driving until I crossed the entire pass and did the male thing and kept driving. SO happy that I did. I did not go down into canyon but am determined to do so and clamber up the mountain and touch these falls.

    There are more snaps of my adventure. This collection encompasses the Bridal Veil Falls, Alpine Pass and my journey up and down hike to experience the Timpanogos Caves. WARNING: there are many snaps! I think I stopped like every 17 feet in breathless wonder. Check it out here.

    I continue to be awed by the splendor and majesty of the beauty of Utah. 

    Literally less than an hour drive from downtown SLC, this monument was beckoning. I did not really have any hope to score a ticket into the caves, I was determined to take the hike up the mountain and get my Passport book stamped.

    Changed into my hiking boots…yes I do have hiking boots. Slathered on SPF 800 cream onto my very exposed head (note to self: buy one of those cool ranger-style hats.)

    Made sure that my snacks and water were actually IN my pack.

    After a brief safety introduction from the nice Park Ranger (this is a way cool job), off I went. This trail is paved so it was pretty easy. 1,000 vertical feet over 1.5 miles. There were some fairly steep parts but by and large, I felt really good going up.

    I am really liking this hiking thing. Who knew? Being from NYC, it never really entered my consciousness. 

    I could not get over how absolutely majestic and beautiful the mountains are. Again, being from NYC, who knew? Looking at the mountains, you could almost feel their power and how much effort it took to create them. The valley floor where they originate is totally flat. Nature is so cool. 

    I met a group of people on the trail and struck up a conversation. I guess they liked me. They asked if I would be interested in purchasing there extra ticket. WOULD I? Gave them $20 for a $7 ticket. Sweet deal to me. Good deal for them. Win win. 

    Caves at 7,000 feet above sea level. Crazy. My brain keeps thinking of caves being at sea level for some reason. Again NYC…

    So the caves are dark, wet and so stunningly beautiful. Seeing the actual fault lines in the mountains is mind boggling. Being inches away from the stalactites and stalagmites that have been around for eons is doubly mind boggling. The  sense of time within these caves is massive.

    There are 3 main caves within this system. Walking through them was like walking through a history of the Earth’s evolution. It is truly remarkable how these caves were formed and how they are alive and change every day. 

    I cannot say enough about my experience hiking up the mountain and experiencing this cave system. It was a wonderful introduction to our national park system. I wish that I had embarked on this trek much earlier in my life. I now feel that I need to rush and witness them all in my remaining days.

    Again, I blame it on being born and raised in NYC. Who knew there was this amazing world outside of the city?

    Hope you enjoy these snaps as much as I enjoyed experiencing them.




    Other snaps can be experienced here.

    — 1 year ago
    Chincoteague & Assateague Island

    (the rest are here)

    A bunch of us were down on the island for a wedding. I love destination weddings. Sort of like a mini-vacation + fun event. What’s there not to like, right?

    OK, so these are from last September. I’m a little behind in editing and posting. Trying to catch up.  

    The September weather was really perfect (I think). The summer heat had abated a little. The breeze was quite welcome. Didn’t try the water.

    We did get to see some of the famous wild horses. We were on our way off of Assateague Island when Christine caught sight of them. They were very, very far off in the distance. The only zoom lens that I had was a 105. Needed like an 800!

    A fun weekend!

    (the rest are here)




    (the rest are here)

    — 1 year ago

    (more snaps can be found here)

    Spent a couple of hours at the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City. COming from NYC where everything is oversize, this zoo was the perfect size for an afternoon.

    Got to see all of the animals. Didn’t need an entire afternoon. Forgot to get my ice cream though. Bummer. 

    In addition to the animals that were alive and breathing, there were these awesome Lego animals. It is mind boggling how people can use these little plastic blocks to create things that actually look like they should look. You know what I mean? 

    My Lego building days amounted to square houses, walls, cabins…definitely not a polar bear or a dragon or a knight in shining armor.

    Anyhow, the zoo was fun and bittersweet as all zoos are. Caged animals seem so sad. Cages. Fences. Boredom.  

    (more snaps can be found here)

    — 1 year ago

    (more snaps here)

    Just another awesome day in the foothills surrounding Salt Lake City. Red Butte, a foothill is deceptively steep as you make your way higher. I have lived at sea level for my entire life. Being 6,000 feet above sea level is simply mind boggling…and I love it.

    I don’t really know what the hell I am doing. It’s just walking, right? Not so much. Rocks, loose soil, tiny trails, oh my…

    I found a trail today that was simply awesome. Switchbacks. Climbs. All good. Until the trail started narrowing and getting a little steep. All I kept thinking about was me being by myself and meeting ANIMALS!!!

    Turned my ass right around and went back down the trail. Found another trail that took me up the foothill.

    The trail was literally 18 inches wide. AWESOME!

    Look to the left. Ravine. Met a couple along the way. They both just rambled up the trail like it was a walk in the park. Shit. I can do this. I followed them up at a much slower pace. Maybe speed is the key. 

    Got to the point where the hike gets interesting. Looked at the setting sun and thought that I definitely do not want to be hiking back down in the dark. Rationalizing? Maybe. 

    As I was working my way back down, I totally committed myself to crest the ridge and get a look at the other side. HELL YEAH!!!

    Cannot wait to get back up there tomorrow.

    (more snaps here)

    — 1 year ago
    Spending time with friends is pretty damn cool…

    So a little late in the posting…

    Brought back great memories of a recent trip to our capital. Had a weekend of awesome friends, drunken nights, stroll through some history, laughs, joys and all-around good time.

    Friends are a special part of life. The ones that I have in my life make me feel good. I am very fortunate and grateful to be able to share their lives.

    This is an actual part of the Berlin Wall on display at the Newseum Gallery in Washington DC. Got to spend a few hours with awesome friends there traveling through history. 

    Ann & Shanel getting their gangster on at the Newseum Gallery. Yet another fascinating period in the history of the US.

    A collage of a seminal morning in the history of the US. The 9-11 memorium at the Newseum was really a nice tribute.

    — 1 year ago
    Winter Wonderland

    Winter in Salt Lake City was pretty cool. The super bright sunshine, blue skies, puffy clouds, white snow presented a fun environment to capture snaps. 

    Having the Mormon temple as part of the foil made it especially cool. The temple is such a majestic structure. 

    I hope you enjoy these memories.

    (full exposure here)

    (full exposure here)

    — 1 year ago
    National Train Day at Union Station in Ogden, UT

    Did not know that May 11th was National Train Day. Coincidentally, I decided to make a midday trip up to Ogden, Utah and “discovered” the celebration of the day at Union Station.

    Also unbeknownst to me was the historical significance of Union Station. This station was the junction between the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads.

    Seeing the many old trains and experiencing the history of them was pretty awesome. The railroad played such a huge importance in the cross-country commerce of the US.

    I love train travel. There is something nostalgic and romantic about experiencing one’s surroundings when traveling via train. I look forward to traveling to some of the national parks by train much like people did in our not-to-distant past.

    I hope you enjoy these snaps. I certainly had a great time taking them.

    (some other snaps)

    (some other snaps)

    — 1 year ago