Would You.. Could You.. Hike A Thousand Miles?

“The Mountains Are Calling
And I must Go.”


Curt Mekemson has just left on a thousand mile chunk of a hike that begins in Ashland Oregon, travels south to Mount Whitney, through Siskiyou, Marble, and Sierra Nevada Mountains.This is quite the hike, through some of the most beautiful places in America. Places most people, Americans too,  never will see. Curt Mekemson is  an excellent nature writer, with an eye for detail and a way with words that could convince anyone to go outside to play, to explore, to see the beauty of it all.

Author of  The Bush Devil Ate Sam,  I first came across a batch of stunning photos,  the Burning Man Collection, and have been enjoying Curt’s  writings, adventures,  and photography since. His insatiable curiosity for exploring the planet is matched by his wife Peggy, who sharing his wanderlust, high spirits and a fine camera eye of her own, …makes their website Wandering Through Time and Place  one of the best and most interesting websites to savor and enjoy.  A fellow WordPress Blogger, Curt has in turn been a real source of inspiration, support, and contributor of smart comments for my own, JoHannaMassey.com for several years now.

When it comes to backpacking, Curt Mekemson speaks with experience on provisioning, food considerations, resupply points,  and permits that all need to be planned out and reviewed when undertaking a big or small adventure.  Whether a novice backpacker, a seasoned explorer, or someone wanting to see/learn of the back country of America in almost real time, here’s your invitation:

I’m inviting everyone to join me, tell all your friends and family, co workers, neighbors, and acquaintances too. This is a real big deal hike and I am thrilled for my friend. Let’s tag along this next three months with  Curt Mekemson’s Hike of One Thousand miles. I just think it would be so cool, if a million people worldwide, but especially the WordPress bloggers followed along with Curt Mekemson’s One Thousand Mile Hike.

No matter how huge our numbers swell to, how gaily and  daily we tramp along with Curt, via WordPress, we will ‘leave no trace’ behind us, the lightness of Curt’s steps one for all and all for one!

All my best to each and everyone of you. See you along the trail!


So Kindly and Charitably

No one else looks out upon the world
so kindly and charitably
as the pedestrian;
no one else gives and takes so much
from the country he passes through.
John Burroughs


“Going on foot” along the much used pedestrian trails of  Boynton Canyon.

In response to WordPress Photo Challenge: Pedestrian

New Oxford American Dictionary- Origin of the word “Pedestrian”- early 18th century: from French pédestre or Latin pedester going on foot,

Two People: The Photographer and the Viewer

“To the complaint,
‘There are no people in these photographs,’
I respond,
There are always two people:
the photographer and the viewer.”
Ansel Adams

Indeed, let me consider us….. in terms of photographer and viewer.  I am present in my photographs. Behind the lens of the camera with a Mind’s Eye that contains everything I have encountered so far.  I choose what to show you, holding  sway over what the narrative is. Does/can objectivity ever rule my choice? Rule the lens?  And you who view my photos, and perhaps share your own with me …well here you are with all your  perceptions experience, knowledge, beliefs, values, and interests. So what do you see?

When I began my website, I began to take photos with much more of an eye for telling a broader story with the photos, aware that the photos on  JoHannaMassey.com would be viewed in the public. I often make links to websites so viewers can go further in knowledge.  As a viewer, I am  just thrilled with the quality of photos I view on your websites. Enjoy so much the opportunity to know globally…. individuals, places, lifestyles, and events, often told through photographs. Has your Lens Eye changed since having a website with photos? Any thoughts you would share on Ansel Adam’s idea of  Two People: The Viewer and the Photographer.

Wishing everyone the best and highest for this brand new gift of a morning.

If you want to see more photos of Amalfi and Pontone you can stroll along with me in Thou Paradise of Exiles: Italy.

In response to Cheri Lucas Rowlands Friday choice this of Landscape at   WordPress Weekly Photo Theme: Landscape. 

Comfortably Numb: The New American Normal?

 I had planned to do a nostalgic gratitude piece today. To WordPress, to everyone who has shown up and supported me in growing my website, and to say how thrilled and grateful I am to have  500+ followers, on this first year anniversary of  JoHannaMassey.com. Cancelling my planned  First Annual Blog Love Fest  with the news that there has been another mass shooting  in the United States. I simply can not do warm and fuzzy today.

According to the New York Times:

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Police officers here spent the night combing the scene of a shooting rampage that left 14 dead and 17 others wounded and scouring the backgrounds of two suspects, a husband and wife who died in a shootout, looking for reasons behind the attack. The suspects,  armed with .223-caliber assault rifles and semiautomatic handguns and wearing masks and body armor — are believed to have opened fire at a social services center here around 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

My nostalgia comes in the form of a re-post from October 5, 2015 following the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon.  Spend some time in your mind and heart with the data I researched out. Data that represents the murders  of our daughters, sons, mothers, neighbors, fathers, brothers, co workers, and friends. Of people who, like yesterday, were  attending their office Christmas Party yesterday at a facility that serves those with disabilities.
Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone at home?
Comfortably Numb- Pink Floyd
The daily reality of living or visiting in the United States is that whether going to the market, church, school mall, the movies, a coffee shop, or just walking down the street, there is a risk of being shot.


It gives me no solace  to know that the President of the United States and I share a sense of ‘frustration” over  the gun violence in the United States. It is awful to hear the  adjectives “normal” and “routine.”  being used to describe the deaths and injuries  by guns in America.  The citizens of the United States are  referred to as “Numb” when it comes to being the collateral damage in the politics and profits of our weapons industry. The most recent mass school shooting at  Umpqua Community College, in Oregon  resulted in nine more individuals murdered and at least nine more injured by the gun fire.

I believed  following the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown murders, where  a classroom of six and seven year old children ( and the staff trying to protect them,) were shot America had reached a  tipping point.  That the United States citizens would rally for change to the way we buy and sell guns.  This would be  the United States of America’s  watershed moment. I was so wrong.

There have been 142 School shootings since the Sandy Hook School murders.

Spend some time with your heart and mind with these numbers:

As of August 26, 2015 the United States  averages more than one mass shooting per day. A ‘mass shooting’ defined as a shooting with four or more victims. That is 238 days with 247 mass shootings. The number has increased to 294 since August.

15—The number of times during his presidency that Obama has made a statement about a mass shooting.

294 – The number of mass shootings (defined as when four or more people were injured or killed by a gun) in 2015.

45—The number of school shootings that have taken place in 2015.

142 – The number of school shootings since the 2012 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

9,957—The number of people who have been killed by gun violence this year.

20,269 – The number of people who have been injured by a firearm this year.

153,144—The number of people who were killed by homicide in which firearms were used between 2001 and 2013 (the last year that such data was available).

7—The number of children and teens who die every day, on average, from gun violence (Five are murdered and two kill themselves).

20– The number of times higher the homicide rate by guns is for Americans, compared to those who live in other developed countries.

President Obama tells us,  “There is a gun for roughly every man, woman, and child in America.” That is Three hundred and Twenty One Million, Eight Hundred Ninety One Thousand, Eight Hundred , Fifty Nine (321,891,859.)  guns.

Folded into  President Obama’s frustration, is the solution:


This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America.  We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.  When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we work to make mines safer.  When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes, we make communities safer.  When roads are unsafe, we fix them to reduce auto fatalities.  We have seatbelt laws because we know it saves lives.  So the notion that gun violence is somehow different, that our freedom and our Constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon, when there are law-abiding gun owners all across the country who could hunt and protect their families and do everything they do under such regulations doesn’t make sense.

So, tonight, as those of us who are lucky enough to hug our kids a little closer are thinking about the families who aren’t so fortunate, I’d ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws, and to save lives, and to let young people grow up.  And that will require a change of politics on this issue.  And it will require that the American people, individually, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican or an independent, when you decide to vote for somebody, are making a determination as to whether this cause of continuing death for innocent people should be a relevant factor in your decision.  If you think this is a problem, then you should expect your elected officials to reflect your views.

The daily reality of living or visiting in the United States is that whether going to the market, church, school mall,the moviesa coffee shop, or just walking down the street, there is a risk of being shot. For yourself, your children, your parents, your neighbors, friends and coworkers; everyone is at risk at anytime.  Just how long are we willing to stay ‘Comfortably Numb?

Update: December 6, 2015: Read an excellent piece today in the New York Times by Ross Douthat.   Here is the link. Liberalism’s Gun Problem Russ