Thursday Morning Musings…and Photos

I know, I shared this image of the Stew Wagon yesterday, but it kind of captures how I’m feeling about things, right now. I’m out in the wilderness, with all my stuff, ready for another adventure.

So far, the day has been relaxed for me, here at the mill. There was a dusting of snow, as usual, when I woke up. We’ve received an inch or so more, as we approach nine o’clock. People coming in from lower elevations (read Denver) tell me that the highway is closed at Eisenhower Tunnel. That’s always fun for people driving up.

The Eisenhower/Johnson tunnels cut through the midst of the Rockies, right at the Continental Divide. If you watch closely driving through, you’ll see a marker that indicates exactly where that is. The tunnels were built to make east/west passage easier for motorists. Until their completion in the 1970s, travelers had to take Vail Pass, which is a longer, more complex (curvy), and slower route. At one point, over a thousand people were working on their construction. In all, it took eleven years to complete them both. The 1.7 mile trip will take you about two minutes. If you prefer the scenic route, you can still drive over Vail Pass. It’s a beautiful drive, and you wont be sorry.

Here are a few pics I did in a short snowfall, yesterday.

That’s it for me, today. Enjoy the life you’re living.

Unusual Photography!

These ladies were grazing on a hillside about half a mile away from where I was. The sky was overcast, preparing for the snow that would fall overnight. I’d been shooting along the Blue River, outside Silverthorne, Colorado. Glancing up, I saw these tiny, odd, kind of balloon looking things way up the side of another mountain. Bringing my camera up, I could see that they were the hind ends of these beautiful elk. Without a tripod, I scrambled to find ways to steady myself. I knelt on a boulder (pictured later), and leaned up against various trees, pushed my lens all the way out, and started clicking. Of the twenty or so shots that I took, only a few turned out at all well. To be honest, I’m surprised that I could reach out that far with that little SX40HS. I was also a little disappointed that the bull never showed up. That would have been nice.

This big ol’ toppled pine tree was the first thing that greeted me, as I clambered down the hill. They always fascinate me. I have seen some that continued to grow, sending new branches high into the air, like individual trees.

It must have been Bone Day, because I happened onto several skeletons. Most were small animals. Probably deer. One, though…I have no idea what it was. All I can say is, it was large. That’s a size 9 1/2 shoe.

Here are a few miscellaneous shots, from around the same area.

Finally, here’s a shot of the Stew Wagon through the trees, and a couple of views that are closer to where I sleep. You can see why I’m digging this assignment.

Thanks for following VagabondStew. Enjoy the life you’re living.

Brief Update and Thoughts…

Had a little snow overnight, but nothing to talk about. The wind, though!, rocked the Stew Wagon like a train car, waking me several times through the night. By morning, it had calmed down, and we were left with lovely white trees. There is no small snow mover, so this is what happens, even for an inch or two.

This photo, and a few other recent ones, have been taken with my Droid Turbo 2. I’m learning to use it, and getting better, as mobile photography seems to be carving its way into the mainstream. To shoot, I use an app called Open Camera, and for editing, I use SnapSeed. Both are available in the Play Store.

As I’m shooting, I hear Joel Sartore’s voice telling me to look for, or wait for, The Shot. That’s the one with something extra. For example, this morning I could have simply shown you the snowy trees and mountain across the valley. With that big loader out there, though, it seemed like a much more interesting shot to include it.

As I’m out shooting the landscapes here, I often struggle with that. Henri Cartier-Bresson liked to find a scene, set up his camera, and wait for something to happen. I’m tempted to do that here. There are a couple of places where I see lots of animal tracks, so I know there’s traffic. The Big Unknown is timing. Is there a particular time of day when this traffic is happening? Probably. If I decide to try this tactic, I’ll just have to be patient.

Another hazard is the snow itself. Sometimes, on cant tell how deep it is. Of course, this isnt the Arctic, so I’m not going to fall down some bottomless crevasse. Still, stepping unawares into a six foot drop can be dangerous, too.

Thanks for following VagabondStew. Dont forget to check out the Facebook page at, and follow vagabond.stew on Instagram.

Meanwhile, enjoy the life you’re living.


VagabondStew on Social Media…

In case you’ve been wondering, VagabonsStew does have a presence on both Facebook and LinkedIn, along with Instagram. Here are the links.

Facebook –

LinkedIn –

Instagram – Just search vagabond.stew

That’s all for today. Thanks for checking in. Enjoy the life you’re living.

Snow and Other Things…

It’s snowing again, up here at the mill. Yesterday, I had to use the A/C in the Stew Wagon. Another marvelous thing about where I live.

The framework that you see at the top of this photo, is a portion of a giant conveyor. It moves Molybdenum fifteen miles, from the foot of Jones Pass, through a mountain, and on to this facility, on Grand County Road 3. Built in 2000, it is the largest conveyor of its kind. Here at the mill, the raw ore is refined for use in metallurgy, lubrication, and other applications that I dont even know about.


So, what am I doing boondocking at the top of a mountain pass in a National Forest, and working at a Moly mill? Short answer: Saving up.

There’s some extended travel on my agenda and a monetary stash is always advisable. When someone mentioned that the mill needed a temporary person, and the pay rate, I took advantage. With no overhead – sleeping in the Stew Wagon in the indescribable heart of the Rockies – it was a No-Brainer.

Three weeks in, I’m happy.

Although the weather has kept me from some of the hiking and exploring that I’d planned to do, I’ve still been able to paint and shoot a lot of photos. That’s the immediate payoff. The long-term benefits will include some National Parks, meet-ups with Internet friends, ocean-side drives, and dozens of other things along the way.

Would you believe that only a year ago I was ready to cash it all in and die? If you’re feeling that way, drop me a note on the contact page. Let’s talk about it.


A couple of Fridays ago, I had coffee with a good friend. We’ve been acquainted for a long time, so conversations usually go beyond the usual weather and kids kind of talk. This time, we got to talking about Gratitude, and its importance in our day-to-day experience.

The consistent expression of Gratitude has several effects in the life of the Grateful. It causes us to consciously examine, and take a positive view of our current situation. That helps us to expect positive things in the future, which leads us to attempt things that we might not, if we took a negative approach. In turn, as we accomplish these new things, we become more grateful. In time, the practice of Gratitude simply becomes one of our defining characteristics.

A few years ago, I was coaching a client who had a problem with one of her co-workers. “She’s just so stupid and lazy. I don’t even like being in the same room with her”, she said. I challenged my client to find one reason to compliment this person, every day. In our next session, she said, “I’m glad you had me do that. I wasn’t seeing all of her. You helped me broaden my focus, so I wasn’t only seeing her faults.” It’s the same in most other circumstances. Many times, we need to broaden our focus, to see more than the unpleasant things.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you should be grateful for everything. Some things are inexplicably horrible, and to be grateful for them, at least in that moment, would be inappropriate. Who can be thankful when their child is dying, or they’re watching a house fire destroy everything they have?

What I am saying, is that we should find something to be grateful for in every day, if we can. Even on the day that a child is dying, something positive happened. Although the house burned down, and all was lost, other things were happening, too. Of course, we might not be able to see beyond those terrible things at the time, and that’s alright. There’s nothing wrong with allowing ourselves to completely process those events. We just cant let them become the focus of our lives. As soon as we can, we must begin to see the good.

In his letter to the believers at Philippi, Paul the Apostle said, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” When we do this, our hearts will be encouraged and we can be grateful. Then, peace can come in.

Thanks to you, for reading and sharing. Have a marvelous day, and enjoy the life you’re living.