Lord Whimsy’s Hidden River Expedition & other 2011 adventures

At year’s end I like to look over my favorite photos from that year: partially to reminisce about all of the wonderful things that have happened, partially to see how my skills are coming along as a photographer, and partially to construct a wall calendar for my Mom (at this point she would murder me if I didn’t provide one each year). I also noticed today that the last video of my pal Lord Whimsy‘s 2011 Hidden River Expedition was posted. I implore you to watch all three short videos, they really explain this amazing undertaking better than I could here:

The Local Frontier: Hidden River Expedition Part 1: Rancocas
The Local Frontier: Hidden River Expedition Part 2: Delaware
The Local Frontier: Hidden River Expedition Part 3: Schulykill

Watching these videos made me feel majorly nostalgic for our own excursions out on on the rivers in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. Once via kayak and once on foot, Allen (aka Lord Whimsy) was kind and patient enough to lead me through the true wilds of this place. Allen volunteers counting the various rare plants that grow in these places that are off-limits to most folks, gets in the icy waters up to his chest while busting up beaver dams, and other feats of nerdly badassery. He can point to most plants that we see and give their Latin names and tell me what they look like in each season. It’s amazing to have such a knowledgeable sherpa in this place that is so magical and remarkably untouched for being so close to a place that’s been urbanized for hundreds of years. Whenever I’m there, I can’t help but think that it must be what America was like when the Europeans first came to settle here. Here are a few of my favorite photos from this year’s excursion.

Here’s one from when we were out on the kayak in 2010:

When Whimsy’s not leading women alone into the swamp, he and his lovely wife are an amazing design team. Also check out his delightful book.

I try to make a point to go out into the woods with Whimsy whenever I come back to Philadelphia, but in the winter that’s not an option. Still I’m excited for our short trip back to Philadelphia next week, it’ll be the first time I’ve been back to Philly in cold weather since I left Los Angeles, and I can already tell the thinness of my blood is going to show itself immediately. I’m glad I’ve got Etan with me this time as there’s a lot of my Philadelphia he’s not seen yet, and a good number of my favorite folks that he’s yet to meet.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what are my favorite photos of 2011 so far, they’re in this set. I suspect there will be more added in extremely eventful last few weeks of the year.


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