Thursday, September 27, 2007

Big Bend National Park

I love this photo because of the gorgeous cat eyes on this mountain lion. This is at the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Kendalia, which we stopped at on the way back from Big Bend but I'm putting the cougar photos first because that's what my article that brought me to Big Bend (and WRR) is about. The cat is in a very large enclosure not a cage but she was sitting near the edge of it, observing.

Two mountain lions. The enclosures have several cats in together and we got to hear them interacting which was very cool. They mew and scratch and interact. It's really pretty cool. In the wild they are solitary but in captivity they behave very differently.
This was a shot when we first arrived at Big Bend, in the morning's golden hour. Sotol growing and glowing in the golden morning light.

I love this photo. This was actually on the hike down from Emory Peak, which we did on our second day in Big Bend.

A mountain lion track on the trail. We saw several on the way back down. We took one trail up and another down the mountain. We also saw scat on the trail but I'll spare you the (dis)pleasure of a photo of mountain lion poo.

I love this photo also - it was a huge lightning and rainstorm off in the distance.
This is a macro shot of the rock at the trail at Ernst Tinaja.
A shot of cactus and the rock hills at Burro Mesa trail, which we did on the last day.
The top of the mountain! The view from Emory Peak, the tallest peak in the Chisos Mountains. You had to scramble a bit to get up top and you can see the antenna to the left so we had cell phone coverage - woohoo! Just kidding... ;) Though I must admit, I did check my email on my blackberry up there. Is that sad or what?
Tomorrow I'm flying to the ASJA East Meets West Conference at UC Berkeley so that should be cool and I'll get to see my friend Zofi and my niece Kira! And meet up with a couple writer friends. Should be loads of fun, as always!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Media coverage

The local newspaper did a front page article on me last Wednesday! Check it out, Adventurous Atascocita woman explores the world through writing and travel . It starts: Wendee Holtcamp is a freelance writer, photographer and self-proclaimed bohemian, but around Atascocita she is referred to as "the female Indiana Jones." The paper used the photo of me hanging upside down from a vine in the Peruvian Amazon but it's not online.

Also the Houston Chronicle Living Green blog interviewed me about my "30 Days of Consumer Celibacy" article I wrote for OnEarth magazine about The Compact. It appears on the Aug 31, 2007 entry.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Artist's Way

I'm reading the Julia Cameron book The Artist's Way right now and have a group of women friends reading it at the same time and we're sharing our reactions and thoughts as we go through it. One requirement of the book is writing "morning pages" in a journal every morning and I created this collage on a standard kids' essay book. I knew I'd go through a lot of these journals since we have to write 2-3 pages every morning for 12 weeks which we've expanded to 24 weeks due to busy schedules. I like my collage because it has everything I love and that inspires me. It has a rainbow which represents hope, it has a butterfly which represents metamorphosis, it has a camera lens for photography, mountains for strength and beauty, a bird for freedom, a yoga pose for peacefulness, a hiker with arms raised - which I just love and find inspiring. And the stars and moon which represent humility to me. How can one gaze on all the zillions of stars and not be humbled by our small place on this planet? And yet we still have a responsibility to care for our Planet Earth. The flowers represent spring, the eternal spring which always comes... and joy. I thought about putting a cross but I didn't find a photo that spoke to me with one, and to me my Christian faith runs through and in everything else. It's not one extra piece of the pie - it IS the pie that includes all of these other things. The money word, well that is where I struggle. I don't love money, but want to be financially independent enough to truly be able to contribute significant and substantial amounts to the world, and to rise out of the whole middle class struggle.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

mountain lions

What beautiful animals. I love this photo! I just returned from my first trip to Big Bend National Park in search of mountain lions. A friend and I explored several shorter trails in the park , and on the day-long 12-mile hike up to Emory Peak, (or technically on the way down) we saw mountain lion tracks and scat but no lions. Big Bend did not disappoint! It's a gorgeous area. Yesterday, on the way home to Houston, we visited Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation in Kendalia, Texas which had several captive mountain lions that were recovered from the pet trade. They are awesome. WRR has many animals they take care of, most received from the (often illegal) pet trade and usually people who got them as babies, but then could not take care of them as adults. Many had been maltreated. Now they have ample room to roam. When we visited, several of them came right up to the fence. I also was just in awe of the one African lion they had. Wow. What a beauty. I'll put the rest of the photos online soon but I'm headed out again tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Eco-mochilas and so much to do!

The article that just came out in OnEarth, How to Save a Monkey, talks about a two decade project to help save endangered cottontop tamarins in Colombia, Proyecto Titi, spearheaded by Anne Savage. The latest aspect of the multidimensional conservation project is an innovative idea - to make eco-mochilas (see picture) from plastic bags that litter the forest. They're beautiful aren't they? The famliies collect the plastic bag trash, clean them, and cut them into strips which they then crochet using traditional crochet needles and techniques. They make purses and beach bags and some other stuff. It's been so successful that they've started a thing called Turtles, Tamarins and Trash where they're expanding it to other countries. In Colombia, it has increased the standard of living (via income) for some women and families by many-fold, and they got to teach women who flew in from Costa Rica and another country that I can't recall. The article didn't have a photo of the eco-mochilas so I wanted to include this.

When I was in high school, I remember I would call certain friends who would be so busy that they would not call me back. I never got this. They were real friends I'd hang out with during school, eat lunch with etc. But I thought, how could anyone be so busy that they don't have time to make a phone call? I was not involved in sports, or music, or any extracurricular activity at all. So needless to say - before the internet - I was bored and wanted to talk to friends. Bored? I can't even remember how it feels! But now as a mom, a single mom with so many activities and appointments and things to do... I absolutely completely understand now how a person can be so busy that you can go through an entire day from morning until you plop down in bed without a single good time to call someone. I tend to make my personal phone calls when I'm out and about, but sometimes even then it's like when you're in the car you just need to zone out because when you're home you're working working working, or you're making dinner or cleaning up or talking with the kids. Whew. It's a busy but full and wonderful life!

I am headed to Big Bend National Park on Friday for an article I'm writing. I've never been there but hear so many good things about it. Then later in the week I'm going river raffting for the first time ever, with my daughter and her school class! That will be in Guadalupe River State Park. Woohoo!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

How to Save a Monkey

My latest article is just out in OnEarth magazine! How to Save a Monkey: In the tropical forests of Colombia, a new breed of "conservation entrepreneurs" are using education and economics to protect an endangered primate. OnEarth Magazine. Fall 2007.

Check out the fun self-portrait of Elissa and I in Pioneer Square, Portland. Elissa lived next door to me in 7th grade (in Beaverton, OR)! We've kept in touch since. She owns Sweet Pea Nursery in Bozeman, MT and is a pilot! I've blogged about this before but in high school - after my junior year - Elissa and I, wild childs that we were, sort of lived "on the streets" down there for about a week. We ate at the homeless children's shelter, slept on park benches at the river's edge and in abandoned houses with some true street kids. It just shows how far I've come!

A self-portrait of me and my cousin!