As soon as I fall into my hiking stride, I enter a state of rhythmic and peaceful calm. I am only half aware of the nature that surrounds me, the texture of the trail changing underfoot, and the tempo of my inhalations. All I can sense is tranquility.

Rarely do I think about taking photos while hiking. No photo has ever been able to fully capture the joy I experience in nature. Photographs, however beautiful they might be of the landscape, fail to arouse the overwhelmingly positive sensory assault I have while hiking.

When I look back at photos taken during backcountry trips, my memories of the events are colored. Instead of recalling a variety of feelings and views, sounds and smells, my vibrant memories get intertwined with these static snapshots.

How I manage to backpack with Danny is somewhat of a mystery. His feeling about photography couldn’t be more opposite than mine. He is constantly breaking his stride to take photos, often asking me to stop with him and sometimes even pose. He can spend days organizing and editing photos once we return to civilization. Danny loves the wilderness just as much as I do, but also finds great joy in sharing our adventures with our friends and families.

Fifteen countries and more than a year later, I am grateful that Danny has encouraged me to be more open about photography. We have simply seen too much and experienced too much to store it all away in our fallible human memories. Every day of traveling is different, and the lack of monotony in daily life means we have little downtime to think, process, and store.

The photo collection below is a but a tiny sample of the many small wonders we saw during our nine months backpacking around Latin and South America. I am happy that Danny encouraged me to stop and examine the petite beauty contained on a continent that I might not ever visit again. I even admit, I might have taken one or two of the photos myself.

ARTICLE OUTLINE

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