There is beauty everywhere it doesn’t have to be foreign or exotic. Many times it’s in your own backyard. And when you do have the means to travel farther from your home I hope that everyone can treat it and respect it like their own backyard.
This Face the Current Travel Feature is published in Issue 24 / July-August 2019 Edition. Order PRINT here, SUBSCRIBE to digital membership for unlimited access, or continue reading this article below.
FtC: What is one region you’ve spent time traveling in that you find unique and breathtaking?
Noah Ragone: The San Juan National Forest in Colorado. The entire drive along highway 550 starting in Durango all the way up to Ouray is nothing short of mind blowing. In the San Juans I had the opportunity to hike to Ice and Island Lake, which is next to nothing in terms of beauty when it comes to alpine lakes. The whole drive is unique to people visiting because of the little towns sandwiched in between the mountains that are different and wholesome in their own way. The fall beauty along that drive when the aspen trees start to change color in the fall is like nothing else, and something that anyone who enjoys the outdoors would love.
FtC: What is your favorite thing about blogging and sharing your travel insights with others?
NR: I like sharing the real side or truth behind travel. Many times on social media, Instagram in particular, you only see an image, but not really what goes on behind it. Some of the more common locations on Instagram that people like sharing photos of are actually illegal, and those are the types of things I like to share with people.
One of the best examples of this is when I climbed Mount Fuji. We got off the mountain and had to pay over $100 US dollars because we didn’t have any Yen to pay a bus driver a couple of bucks to drive us back to the train station and there’s no ATMs around the mountain. So each way it was over 100 dollars to pay a taxi driver because initially we arrived in the middle of the night. In my blog I told people to bring cash to avoid this trouble because it was over $100 dollars to get to the mountain in the middle of the night and over $100 to get down.
FtC: From Tahiti to Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest and beyond, you’ve traveled to some pretty captivating waterfalls and mountain landscapes! Can you share top picks for waterfalls, hikes and mountain landscapes?
NR: I live in Hawaii, and it just comes with living on an island, but the mentality is to always keep secrets secret because the islands and many other places in this world are very special. That being said the island of Kauai is my absolute favorite in terms of raw beauty, jaw dropping scenery, waterfalls, etc. One of my favorite places I’ve ever seen is Havasu Falls on the Havasupai Indian reservation, and another is this random valley on Tahiti right before the summit of Monte Aorai with nearly 20-30 waterfalls pouring into the valley from all sides. The photos I have of it are not anything that does it justice.
I do believe it’s nearly impossible to narrow it down to just a few hikes, waterfalls, or landscapes, but if I had to make a list I would say Havasupai, Kauai, the San Juan National Forest Lakes, and southern Utah. I am absolutely in love with the desert and the wide open clear night skies, and aside from that all of the parks and public lands Utah has to offer makes the hiking out there second to none.
FtC: How do you utilize the create expression of photography to capture and convey travel experiences, stories, and culture?
NR: My go to is winging it. Since I like to travel I usually do all my own research on hikes, but it is not until I’m there that I may or may not find a photo I would like to take. Sometimes I do find it better just to sit and enjoy the sunset or sunrise without even pulling out my camera. If I do plan anything it is usually based around sunset or sunrise, and which way the view faces as to what I think will give the best light for a photo. Beyond that I always say I hike first, and photos come second because it is because of hiking that I now shoot professionally so it is nice to remember where it all started.
As for the first question I always say photos are the best souvenirs. Photography for me is a way to remember experiences and travels. I love it when I can look through old photos and smile because of my time spent there knowing what I was doing at that moment in time. Overall it’s for the memories.
FtC: What are some of the most surreal naturescape scenes you’ve encountered on your travels? Is there any one location you’d say is “a must”?
NR: An absolute must in my mind is Kauai. The landscape, the ridgelines, and overall Hawaii beauty speaks for itself. Although, I really don’t like that answer because I know travel can be expensive and Hawaii is not a cheap place to travel by any means, let alone to an outer island. The best answer I have as a must do is just to be active and outside where ever you are. Instagram has a way of making people jealous of locations that others see and are envious of, but to be completely honest I could make Kansas and Nebraska seem like the next best place to be based on photos I could post. My point is there is beauty everywhere it doesn’t have to be foreign or exotic. Many times it’s in your own backyard. And when you do have the means to travel farther from your home I hope that everyone can treat it and respect it like their own backyard.