The Great Schuette Adventure

photo credit: Colorado Ski Country USA

Crested Butte, Colorado. The best place to ski during the winters and get bitten by ants in the summer.

The duration of my vacation was about two weeks and it started with driving to TacoTime. The closest TacoTime was at a Vegas truck stop, the food made my stomach hurt. After eating the deep fried burritos, we started driving to St. George, Utah.

The view was spectacular and the climate was hot, like once I stepped outside the car I felt as though I was going to die from heatstroke. My sister and I swam in the pool, she tried to drown me. The next day we went on a hike on the outskirts of Zion National Park. The hike was called Spring Creek and it was in a slot, the different colors of the rocks were breathtaking.

After the long hike we explored St. George. We went to a couple of thrift shops, we did not find anything cool enough to buy, and visited Brigham Young’s winter home. We learned all about the Mormon church and were even approached to join, but we didn’t convert.

The next day we went on a small walk to Dixie rock and drove up Kolob Canyon. We made a couple of pit stops because pictures or it didn’t happen. Eventually we made it to our one mile hike to a lookout spot. While walking back to the car we heard a rattle, we almost got attacked by a rattlesnake.

After a couple of hours, more like nine hours, and a McDonald’s pitstop we made it to Grand Junction, Colorado. I tried Dairy Queen the first time, not worth the hype. We finally made it to Gunnison.

Our trip consisted of hiking, hiking, and more hiking. We hiked down the entirety of Crested Butte Mountain during a lightning and thunderstorm. The weather was bipolar, either too hot or too rainy and stormy. I toured my first college, Western Colorado University. The campus was gorgeous and the school had lots to offer, but Gunnison is the most boring town in existence.

My mom, sister, and I all went rafting. Every time we are in Colorado during the summer we go rafting, and get the craziest photos. Our family met us in Colorado and we went to an insanely late dinner, our reservation was at 9 O’clock pm. We went to a place called Slogars, they specialize in fried chicken.

Overall the trip to Colorado was amazing, but it was time to head back home. We drove to Bryce Canyon, Utah. It was two Best Westerns and that was basically the town. The food was not good, like LAUSD’s cafeteria food was more edible. In the morning we went to hike the Peekaboo Loop trail. It turns out that since there were mudslides before the trail was closed we illegally hiked a trail.

My mom found a nice restaurant in the town over, and the food was actually edible. We ordered pork chops, burrata, bread (OMG the bread was to die for), crab mac and cheese, french onion soup and a carrot salad. We could not leave without getting dessert, so we got three different options: chocolate bourbon mousse, cheesecake, and a rhubarb crumble.

The next day it was time for us to head home, we drove and drove and drove until we home. The trip was amazing but being home and sleeping in my own bed was exhilarating.

capstone pt. 12

That all changed when she brought me to the ocean

In those rich minutes the light was warm gold,

viscous, she let it in

floating in the sodium and the waves.

Rocking back and forth

I fought the ocean,

that colossal blue,

as it pulled the warmth from my heavy limbs,

Suspended four inches from the plexiglass surface,

blowing fat bubbles that distorted your reflection.

Time changed that though,

and warm gold became cool to the touch

sad skin

No matter how warm

Rubs against mine

Like pruned fingers

on paper

One month in Africa

In October I will be going on a one-two month-long safari in the Masai Mara, Kenya. I have visited Africa several times now for my photography expedition, but they usually only lasted between 1-2 weeks. Now I am ready for something bigger. I am incredibly excited, but part of me is also very nervous. One month of getting up at 4.30 am every morning, being on safari for about 11-12 hours a day can be very tiring and intimidating. But it is what I love, and I am more than excited about this adventure. Every day being out with these amazing animals, taking pictures, and sharing them with the world, what an absolute dream!

I have met so many amazing people through my photography: guides, other photographers, and even scientists. We all have the same passion; protecting these beautiful animals and sharing their beauty with the world to conserve them for many more generations to see.

I believe animals can teach us so much and they can help people. For me, I am just happy when I am among wildlife, all my stress is gone and I just feel relaxed. Doing my photography has helped me a lot through hard times, and it never fails to make me happy. Getting feedback from people who admire your work is so motivating and it makes you proud to have come where you are now.

picture by author

Ode to Trees

Watching the world as time flies

From beginning to end

Standing strong in tough times

From cold winters to hot summers

Watching us grow old. 

Swaying in the wind

Providing cover in the rain

And shade in the sun

Providing a place to rest

A place to ease the pain

We don’t appreciate it

How lucky we are

They gave life to us all

The sweetness we cut down with greed

One by one they fall

As will we

Image From Arbor Day Blog

capstone pt.7

This trip turned all that thought inward at times

It forced me to really think about what i was feeling,

and to sit inside my heart

so that my hard wired head could stop

and i became content to be in my own space

content to sit within myself as I moved. 

content to just watch as the world changed around me

merely maneuvering my truck from idea to idea

it forced me to process things by writing them

but it also gave me the space to think things through in conversations on the phone

but that depended entirely on cell service 

the oaks

wrinkles

white walls

metallic beige

flying roaring

cutting

white walls

warm animals 

in half motion

motioning

in motion

you latch on to these moments, these images, as they race in your head, as they take tight turns, as a force like gravity pulls and pulls you away. you find yourself empty save the quiet conversations and the warm silence. the moments that make you you. but how ‘bout I move them? 

how ‘bout i reorganize the pantry

pull the back towards the front

pour it all out

how ‘bout when you feel those candlewarm memories

in your stainless vaccum

you feel them.

you feel the road, the car

the pull

you feel the moment, the memory

fading

into the fog

Pushing through

About a year and a half ago I got a brand new mountain bike. I was like a little kid, getting all excited to ride around with it. The town my school is in is like a mountain bike paradise. There are many amazing trails for every level of skill. I started with some easy trails and each week I would go a little harder and harder. I could feel my muscles and stamina building up more and more. When the pandemic started, I was out on my bike every single day. It was my way of getting my energy out. I just hated sitting at my computer all day doing school work and I needed some way to release my built-up stress. Mountain-biking really helped me with that, and I had a blast every time I was on the trail.

During summer I left my bike in America while I went back to Germany. I came back to the U.S end of January and hadn’t biked at all since I left the U.S. I got my bike but being at boarding school made it hard for me to go biking. in mid-April, our outdoor-ed teacher announced several new overnight camping trips that were going out throughout April and May, one of those being a mountain bike trip. I was excited but on the other hand hesitant. I wasn’t on this list yet but I was able to sign up for it. I was hesitant because I was just so out of shape and hadn’t been biking in almost a whole year. I decided not to sign up because my anxiety just took a hold of me. I was really sad and still contemplating if I should just go. The day before the trip the outdoor-ed teacher came up to me and asked if I wanted to join on the trip as I had my bike in my room.

I decided to just get over my fear and said yes. I was nervous that I would be the one slowing them down the whole time and that I would always be the last. The next day we left campus and made our way to the campground. It was absolutely beautiful. In the afternoon we took our bikes and biked down to a waterhole. It was all downhill and it was absolutely amazing, I felt happy and just free. We swam for a while, ate dinner, and then it was time to return to the campground. I had biked that exact trail before and knew that the way back was an absolute pain because it was all uphill. There was one van driving back to the campground, but three of us had to bike back. I decided I would just push through it and bike the way back. 

The last time I had biked that road up I had to stop about 6 times to take a break because I was so exhausted. We started biking up the road and I felt good. We kept going and going uphill and I was very surprised that I wasn’t exhausted at all. I just kept pushing and pushing and then we made it to the top and I had a wave of happiness come over me. I was so happy because I improved so much from the last time I biked up that hill. It was an awesome trip and I am excited to keep mountain biking.

picture by author

Ending a chapter

Five more weeks. Only five more weeks and one of the biggest chapters of my life will come to an end. I came to America 3 years ago, planning on only staying for half a year. And now here I am, three years later. These have been the best three years of my life. I will miss this place more than I can explain. All the memories and people. It is hard leaving it behind. But I know that I will always be connected to this place and to the people. I know I will return, and I have made friendships for life here. 

Even though I am very sad to leave, I am also excited to see what the future will hold. I have so many plans and trips coming up that I can hardly wait for. I am taking a gap year in which I will be in a different country every month doing my wildlife photography. I am going on a 1-month backpacking trip in Montana and I have so many more plans, and then college. I couldn’t be happier with my college decision. I will be attending Montana State University. The location is absolutely beautiful, they have amazing programs, and their outdoor program is everything I was looking for in a college. The Yellowstone ecosystem is just 30 minutes away from campus and there are awesome ski resorts nearby.

I am incredibly sad to leave Highschool but I will never forget the people and memories I have made here. Thank you for the best three years of my life.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montana_State_University

capstone pt. 14

______

Then on friday

as the sun set I tore down highway 1

past cambria

by hearst castle

frantically searching for a place to get in the water

and even as the sun dipped under the saddles I sped through

I could feel I could find it

and I did

I changed quickly and jogged past multiple signs which thoughtfully informed that this area was the elephant seal’s area not the humans area, I wasn’t wearing my glasses and it was not very bright so I only saw them as I was leaving 

but I saw surfers in the water and the break looked nice enough so I ran through the grass towards the beach 100 yards off

where the grass stopped the seals started

some small but others enormous

big black bodies

pink mouths

and the screaming

but nothing could pierce the orange and purple sky 

I darted through a maze of them

(entirely honestly I don’t know where the courage to do this came from)

but

I sprinted the last 20 feet to the water, threw my board down and paddled hard past the break to arrive at the silent surfers

I was a mess of limbs and heavy breathing but their boards just made small sounds when they breached the swaying surface and i settled into the salt and the sea

it was a pitchy little close out but occasionally the ocean would toss in this fast pulling right that could pick you up at the rocky point and deposit you on the other side of the cove in just seconds, forcing you to take a deep breath while you paddle back past the seals and the sand

I told this guy that I had been looking to get in the water before sunset and I thanked him for sharing his spot with me

“I’ve come here every day for a couple weeks hoping this spot would be breaking”

“oh yeah?” I said, moving closer by kicking underneath my board

“It opens up only a couple times a year, it needs just the right swell direction, if the waves are too big it washes out, and if it’s too small it doesn’t break, oh and the wind blows it out almost every day on top of that.”

A wave came and he tore off down the line

I watched the sun set from the water 

splashed the cold water on my face.

And When i got back to the car I wrote

I wrote for him,

To her.

To her we are all just bodies

Blubbery and black

She pulls and pulls

The heat from our soles

But occasionally she opens up

And gives back

as he got in his truck I ripped out the page in my journal and handed it to him

Passing By

As i  have finally arrived

What a beautiful place

Full of people like me

They took a different road

But now we are all here

As one, two walk pass

Free

Going where they please

With such ease

What a wonderful world.

The lights gleam

Everyone is on their own path

Tonight is a soulful night

Now is my time

To look back on the past

i enjoyed the journey

The bluejay has been away

And now is my time

To finally fly

Image Credit: Me

Who I am

Do you know this feeling, when your heart drops and it feels like someone just dug a knife through it. That feeling that shivers down your spine and makes the hair on your arms crawl up. You’re pumped with adrenaline. Your heart is beating out your chest. And then, just silence. You don’t know what you feel anymore, it’s too much. Tears start rolling down your face. Your breath gets faster and faster.

Thinking about it, emotions are a fascinating and scary thing. One moment they make you feel like you are on top of the world, the next they crush you down to the floor. But I am not saying that that’s a bad thing. They help us learn, they help us communicate with other people without using words. People can connect, solely through their emotions. It helps us understand each other more. 

For the longest time, I tried to suppress my emotions. I feel weak showing my flaws and I don’t want people to see me cry. It is still something I am struggling with to this day. But I have found ways to deal with it by myself. Running, singing, playing tennis, are all things that help me burn off stress. But camping is probably the thing that has helped me most throughout my life. 

When I am outside camping with friends, I just forget all my worries for a while. Everything is ok and I just feel free and relaxed. Its like I’m in a completely different state of mind, like bad things can’t even get close to me. And at night when I look up at the stars, I just feel thankful for the life I have. How lucky I am to have such great friends and memories of traveling around the planet. How supportive my family is, and how excited I am for my future. 

Feelings are a important part of who we are as a person. They define us. And we shouldn’t be ashamed of them. even though I still struggle, I know there are people out there who care for me and who support me in anything I do. 

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32469035646.html