Thursday, April 21, 2016

Cobá Mayan Ruins (Mexico) - In Another Minute (312)

The Cobá Mayan ruins are the remains of an ancient Mayan city on the Yucatán Peninsula in Quintana Roo, Mexico.



Cobá Mayan Ruins (Mexico) - In Another Minute (312)

Cobá is located just 27 miles (44 km) north-west of Tulum, which I consider the best vacation place. The city of Cobá was the center of many settlements connected by the Mayan world's largest network of stone causeways, called sacbes or sacbeob. Many of these roads still exist around the ruins. Riding a bike along them is one of the special perks of this site. Another attraction are the stalae, large stone slabs inscribed with drawings and glyphs that tell the stories of the Maya people.

Cobá was first settled between 50 BC and 100 AD - and by around 750 AD reached a population of 50,000. It is assumed that the inhabitants traded with people from as far away as Guatemala and Honduras. There was quite a rivalry between Cobá and the the Mayan city of Chichén Itzá, which today is the more famous tourist attraction on the Yucatán Peninsula.

There are several reasons why visiting the Cobá Mayan ruins is even better than visiting the Chichén Itzá Mayan ruins:
  1. The Cobá Mayan ruins are a lot, a lot, a lot less crowded than Chichén Itzá.
  2. Trees provide much needed shade and wonderful relaxing places to relax and contemplate Maya culture.
  3. You can rent a bike and ride on the ancient Maya roads.
  4. In Cobá, you can actually climb the tallest pyramid of the Yucatán: Nohoch Mul ("Large Hill").
  5. The Cobá Mayan ruins, unlike Chichén Itzá, are not overrun by sales people yelling cheapy cheapy or making jaguar sounds.
Of course, Chichén Itzá features one of the 7 Modern Wonders of the World (the El Castillo pyramid) and has many more impressive buildings.

While I was super excited to climb a pyramid and made an honest attempt, I have to admit that I didn't make it all the way to the top. Scott bravely climbed up the 120 steps all the way to get me shots from the 137-feet high roof of the Nohoch Mul pyramid. Thank you, Scott, you're my hero. By the way, I felt less ashamed when I overheard several burly German men talk about not being able to get up there either due to fear of heights. It is fascinating how we can climb a staircase with a railing without a problem - even without holding on to it, but our instincts of fear kick in when it's an open "staircase" like a pyramid, especially if the steps are broken and crumbly.

The song featured in this video is “Mystic Force” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). It is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License. Thank you, Kevin, for your extensive library of free music!

Nohoch Mul Pyramid
Cobá Mayan Ruins, Yucatán, Mexico

Monday, April 18, 2016

Favorite songs from the 1st 1/4 of 2016 (MusicMonday)

Here are my favorite songs from the 1st quarter of 2016 (January, February, March). As often with the first quarter of the year, some of the songs already came out towards the end of last year. But how could I not include the song "Here" by Alessia Cara? Despite it referring to being at a party, it pinpoints rather well how I feel about living in Fort Collins. ;-)

Cover and song list for the winter 2016 mix, featuring a photo I took in Florence, Colorado


1. Doing It To Death / The Kills
2. Wednesday Night Melody / Bleached  
3. Bad Habits / The Last Shadow Puppets     
4. West Texas / PWR BTTM                
5. Here / Alessia Cara                          
6. Formation / Beyoncé                        
7. Chasing Shadows / Santigold              
8. Borders / M.I.A.                        
9. Keep On Keepin' On / Bleached
10. Cuban Cigars / WALL            
11. Aviation / The Last Shadow Puppets
12. Get Out / Frightened Rabbit                
13. Hightimes / The Big Pink    
14. Take It There / Massive Attack, Tricky & 3D
15. Wide Open [ft. Beck] / The Chemical Brothers
16. How / Daughter                                          
17. Hypnos / Chelsea Wolfe    
 

Watch the videos for the songs on my Pinterest music board.

Listen to all of the songs as a playlist on Spotify.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Photos from the Greyrock Mountain Summit (Colorado)


A few photos from the shoot of the video "Greyrock (Part 2: The Summit) – In A Colorado Minute (Week 311)". For more information and to watch the video please check out the post on the Moving Postcard website.

You can look at even more photos from this shoot in the Greyrock Flickr album.

Yup, that's the trail up to Greyrock Mountain, Colorado

Lower lake with the view towards Fort Collins
Greyrock Mountain, Colorado

Lower Lake
Greyrock Mountain, Colorado

Lower Lake
Greyrock Mountain, Colorado

Insider tip: the trail to the summit is to the left of the trail sign
Greyrock Mountain, Colorado

Whiskey Dog strolls along the mountaintop lake
Greyrock Mountain, Colorado

View from the Greyrock summit down onto the Top Lake
Greyrock Mountain, Colorado

Mountain top plant "life"
Greyrock Mountain, Colorado

Hiking buddies: Lisa and Whiskey Dog
Greyrock Mountain, Colorado

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Greyrock (Part 2: The Summit) - In A Colorado Minute (Week 311)

The Greyrock Mountain summit must be the most rewarding summit in the vicinity of Fort Collins, Colorado. It not only offers views of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains and the big sky above the Great Plains, but also the wonderful treat of two small mountain lakes.


Greyrock (Part 2: The Summit) - In A Colorado Minute (Week 311)

To enjoy the rewards of the 7,600 feet Greyrock summit in the Laramie Mountains range, you have to work for it: a hike covering 2,040 feet of elevation. The Roosevelt National Forest trail starts right off Colorado Highway 14 (aka Poudre Canyon Road). After about 0.75 miles you have to choose between two trails: the mellower Greyrock Meadows Trail (2.6 miles) and the more recommended Greyrock Summit Trail (1.7 miles). I covered that first part of the hike in the video "Greyrock Summit Trail (Part 1) – In A Colorado Minute (Week 272)."

Both trails meet again at the base of the actual and quite grey Greyrock. That's the spot where this video starts. The remaining 3/4 mile is more rocky terrain that may require your hands to help you get up to the summit. It also requires you to keep your eyes open for clues where the actual trail may be, since a lot of it is just rock without any helpful signs of footprints. There is the random trail number marker to give you the confidence you're heading in the right direction. And then you get to see the first lake, surrounded by rocks and shady pine trees inviting you to stay awhile. Take a break and then keep on going...

Once you've passed the first lake, there are a few small signs with stylized hikers but without arrows indicating the correct direction. My new insider information: walk to the left of the signs, and you may just see another sign higher up in the rocks to aim for. Also helpful are the cairns (piles of rocks) that previous hikers have left to indicate the right direction to the very top.

You get to the second small lake, and then if you're ambitious (and come on, you made it this far), you can climb even higher to look down at the lake, the surrounding towns (Laporte, Fort Collins, Bellevue), other hills and Lake Watson and Horsetooth Reservoir. In the other direction you get your classic view of the high snow-covered peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

If you want to do this hike, I recommend getting there early because parking is limited. Bring plenty of food and water. While there is a stream along the trail and then the lakes up top, the water is supposedly not save to drink even for dogs because of the possible presence of Giardia bacteria.

When my friend, artist and yoga instructor Lisa Eaton and I went up there this week, it took us just under 3 hours (with a long lunch break) to get up and about 1 1/2 hours to get back down. Lisa will be leading a yoga retreat up to the summit later this month. Be in touch if you're interested, and I'll connect you.

I highly recommend this hike!

The song in the video is “Folk Bed” by Jason Shaw of Audionautix. He has made this and many great tunes available via a CC BY 3.0 license. Thank you so much, Jason!

Lake and view at the top of Greyrock Mountain summit
Rocky Mountains, Colorado

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Travel more with Moving Postcard!

Let's travel together! Let's talk to each other! Let's inspire one another! Let's share something beautiful!

I love to explore, create, share, and to interact with people. Since May 2010, I have been able to do all that through my weekly 1-minute video series, Moving Postcard.

And I want to keep going… with YOU! But making videos, especially travel videos, costs money, time and energy... So I'm asking you to support my video series on Patreon.com/LuciWest - for as low as $1 a month.




Why now? 

This year, I will shoot the third installment of the documentary "All's Well and Fair" - to build on the versions I shot in 1996 and 2006. This project will consume most of my resources (time, energy, money). The question is: can I continue making these weekly 1-minute videos about places and people? I know I want to - but I need your help. This is not just about acquiring the money to pay for website hosting, equipment, transportation, entry fees, etc... It's also about knowing that you want to keep watching and sharing these experiences with me and others.

Why Patreon? 

Patreon is a brilliant platform that enables you to support creators continuously through a monthly donation. It also gets you more ways of interacting and receiving exclusive content.

Although a one-time donation is great (and I would very much appreciate it), because Moving Postcard is about delivering a new video to you every week, continuous monthly support is more helpful.

Just as important is the way Patreon encourages us to communicate with each other. It's not just about me and what I'm doing, it's also about you being able to express yourself - your opinions, your travels, you creations. But fear not, you don't have to interact.

What do you get if you support me and Moving Postcard on Patreon?

- a new 1-minute video every week
- a chance to share your videos, photos, music and opinions with me and the community
- access to early and exclusive bonus content (more videos, more photos, more insider info)
- access to limited edition physical rewards (e.g., postcards, books)
- collaboration and feedback sessions
- support for me so I can keep creating the free videos
- quality time with me and others through monthly live online hangouts


I believe in trying to "make the world a better place" and I'm aware Moving Postcard isn't a life-saving social project, but it's my little attempt to capture and deliver something beautiful and inspiring to people. I believe a way of fighting the bad in the world is by doing something good. And sometimes a postcard is all it takes to brighten someone's day and inspire them to do something nice.

Please help me keep sending out these video postcards by becoming a "patron of the arts" via Patreon.com/LuciWest

Thank you!
Luci

Moving Postcard Trailer (2016)