All too often we go to a place and only see the image from the book, photograph, or what we imagined in our mind. We become content with that image, that composition, and that experience. I’m guilty of seeing a place whether it be a beach, mountain, waterfall, lake, or city from the same perspective as others. I recently embarked on a backpacking trip that illustrated this point very well.
The Lone Eagle Cirque in the Indian Peaks wilderness is an area I wanted to visit for years. There is a striking image of Lone Eagle Peak that always resonated with me and I had to experience it for myself. The iconic image involves catching a reflection in Mirror Lake. I was so focused on that image I hadn’t really thought about exploring anywhere else or capturing new perspectives.
The iconic shot was even more beautiful than I had hoped. I was feeling content after the first sunset of the trip. However, my backpacking partner had better ideas and thought of some other area to explore in the cirque. In the end I was really grateful that he pushed me away from the obvious. The cirque itself was incredibly beautiful throughout and due to be being trail-less; rarely explored. We spent two days looking at new compositions, climbing high into the mountains, and walking along beautiful streams. Neither of us had ever seen images from the places we were exploring, which for those with a little sense of adventure is a really powerful feeling.
Whether it was spending an evening in a basin that sees maybe a couple dozen people a year, climbing hundreds of feet above the camp site on steep and loose terrain in the dark to catch a sunrise, or scrambling hundreds of feet above a lake to see the top of a waterfall those experiences were just as powerful and perhaps even more memorable.
None of those experiences and photographs would have happened if we had just focused on the obvious. Often what is obvious is beautiful and worthy of your attention. However, too often that is our only or primary focus, and we miss out on opportunities and adventures that are just as, if not more, fulfilling and powerful.
Written by a thisworldexists Adventure Ambassador, Eric Schuette.