@adam.parkison adam parkison

Mountains, deserts, jungles • freelance photographer and magazine writer • daddy-o Colorado • 🏔

@adam.parkison photos and videos

11 hours ago

Happy birthday to my first. I can’t believe I’m old enough to have a 5 year old kid when half the time I feel like a kid myself! • • • #childrenofthemountains #wildchild #wherethewildthingsare #optoutside #colorado #hiking #livebravely #neverstopexploring

1 weeks ago

(Happy 8 year anniversary to a life in the Wild West. No regrets ).... “It’s May 2012, you’ve just gotten back from a difficult year in Africa. It was a mess.... A massacre near the safari camp- friends put in an African prison for blackmail- confusion... After you get back home, you spend a couple weeks partying hard with friends in KC trying to forget. After some uncharacteristic mistakes, a fistfight outside of a bar (which you won 😉 ) and multiple debilitating anxiety attacks, you finally decide to pack up your entire life’s belongings in your blue Subaru Outback- which isn’t much. You don’t tell your friends your plan, but you meet them in Lawerence for a Mewithoutyou concert one last time. When it’s over, you start driving West in darkness, and don’t stop until you reach Montana. The next day, driving over Lolo pass on the winding highway 12 , you spill out onto the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River, and see the Selway Bitterroots lit up by the afternoon sun just as Arcade Fire’s “Sprawl 2” comes on the radio. It almost brings you to tears. You spend a week backpacking alone in the Bitterroots, recovering mentally and physically. On the way back toward Kansas, you stop by Bozeman, Montana, and in a moment of inspiration, decide to stay there- you have nothing to lose now. You sit in a coffee shop enrolling in college classes at MSU, and then rent a storage unit in town to drop your stuff until you can find a more permanent place. You’re nervous because you don’t know a single soul for a thousand miles; but you won’t be going back to your hometown bar trap; it’s time to carve a new path. You spend the first night of more than a month living out of your car nestled against the Bridger mountain range. You don’t know it yet, but this is going to be the start to some of the most exciting memories of your life” 😎• • • #livebravely #neverstopexploring #keepitpublic #mentalhealthawarenessmonth #backpacking #hiking #goatworthy #trailchat #wild #greatnorthcollective #findyourwhy

3 weeks ago

“A way of life that keeps saying, ‘Around the next corner, above the next step,’ works against the natural order of things and makes it so difficult to be happy and good that only a few get to where they would naturally have been in the first place-happy and good- and the rest give up and fall by the side of the road, cursing the world, which is not to blame but which is there to help show the way.” ~ Benjamin Hoff: The Tao of Pooh • • : don’t put off happiness while waiting for something. Find happiness in your current situation. • • #childrenofthemountains #bornwildproject #mountaingirls #carbondaleco #beautifulcolorado #wherethewildthingsare #keepitpublic #nikonusa #livebravely #neverstopexploring

4 weeks ago

Throwback Thursday- to simpler times when I only had one thing to worry about (not getting shot ). I don’t know what’s funnier, the fact that I had the nerve to ask him if I could play with his treasured kalashnikov, or the fact that he actually let me

last month

“And what is Art whereto we press Through paint and prose and rhyme- When Nature in her nakedness Defeats us every time?” -Kipling #happyearthday • • • Stolen from an older post from one of my favorite Kipling poems. This was back in 2014, 7 days into my two weeks alone in the Arctic Alaska. Notice all the mosquito speks against the skyline. They were absolutely maddening... hard to believe that entire landscape is covered in ice and snow almost 10 months out of the year. • • • • • #nikon #nikonusa #backpacking #hiking #alaska #landofthemidnightsun #landscapephotography #naturephotography #neverstopexploring #keepitpublic #livebravely #goatworthy #trailchat #greatnorthcollective #arcticnationalwildliferefuge

last month

In an attempt to delay the frightening speed in which my kids are growing, I started a habit 5 years ago when my first daughter was born of writing notes to them in these little journals, describing current life and the phases of their growth. For now, it’s to help me remember these moments. But someday, it will be for them. I hope their memories of this period are of childish joy and happiness and not the stress I often feel. I think I do a good job of hiding it; All the play dough, Legos, and paint messes around the house reassure me this is so. • • • • #gratitude #bornwildproject #childrenofthemountains #wherethewildthingsare #wildchild #neverstopexploring

Mar 2020

Still one of my favorite unplanned photographs of a Fulani child and her wild tilapia, somewhere in the eastern Central African Republic... • Here’s another cheesy #gratitude post....• • • Even as little as a few weeks ago, it was tempting to indulge in certain “why me?” thought patterns: I’ve always found contentment with my work- but being in construction for 6 years (since I left Africa ) knowing I have so many other creative outlets sometimes made it hard to keep the eye on the prize. There have been times the efforts didn’t seem to yield tangible results: spending all day away from family, to pay bills that immediately absorbed my income, while having barely any time to sit back and breath; a seemingly abstract correlation between hard efforts and perceived benefits. • • This week has been a reality check. • • • Every day, people from different counties under mandatory quarantine have come to our job seeking work- some asking for anything, even trash duty. I go in every day expecting my job to be shut down at any moment, like so many of my friends and family (for two weeks? A month? It’s scary to even think about ). Every day that I work a full 8.5 hours feels like a gift; the efforts suddenly seem more tangible; A place to put my things and sleep, a place for my kids to live, food in our fridge, etc. • • • I sometimes get so caught up.... I forget to reflect on the lessons of the past (mostly my brief experiences as a helpless civilian witness to a civil war ) - These lessons teach me what REAL problems can look like- and they don’t look like this current situation, no matter how bad it seems. I’ve had friends living with much worse. I’ve seen people lose everything (and the only way to truly lose “everything” , by the way, is to lose your life ). Until we’re in the ground, we haven’t lost everything. The world needed to hit a reset button. That reset can be good or bad, depending on what we take from it. I’m stressed out about a lot of things right now, but the rational side reminds me that despairing is only wasting valuable energy. • • • • #covid_19 #livebravely #travelphotography #worldtravel #travel #2020

Mar 2020

“Men come and go, cities rise and fall, whole civilizations appear and disappear-the earth remains, slightly modified. The earth remains, and the heartbreaking beauty where there are no hearts to break....I sometimes choose to think, no doubt perversely, that man is a dream, thought an illusion, and only rock is real. Rock and sun.” ― Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire . . . . Good day in the desert before the inevitable lockdown. Blue skies and shorts weather. Super wide angle lenses are key for desert photography. . . . . #desertsolitaire #edabbey #neverstopexploring #keepitpublic #optoutside #goatworthy #livebravely #hiking #trailrunning #nikonusa #ancient #colorado #exploretocreate #instagood10k

Mar 2020

2012: 8 solid days alone in the Selway Bitterroot wilderness, Idaho... 2013: 5 days alone in Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness, Montana.... 2014: 12 days alone above the arctic circle, Alaska..... 2016: 9 solid days alone in Absaroka Beartooth wilderness, Montana (close encounter with momma grizzly bear and her two cubs ).... 2017: 5 days alone Beartooth range, Montana... and uncountable 3-4 day solo trips. Not trying to brag or anything, but i think I might have a PhD in social distancing... .we got this👊 someday they’ll teach our grandkids about the pandemic of 2020 in schools. What a time to be alive!. . . .pic: 2013 . #neverstopexploring #wherethewildthingsare #optoutside #quarantine #covid_19 #livebravely #goatworthy #trailchat #bpmag #trailrunner #fueledbynature #hiking #camping #backpacking

Mar 2020

Earlier this last summer we went on a long weekend camping trip. One day, we found a dozen snakes on the road and stopped to help them along (wandering garter snakes and bull snakes ). As you can see in the videos, Myla isn’t bothered by snakes in the least. . . . . #snakes #wildlife #camping #colorado #neverstopexploring #livebravely #wherethewildthingsare #optoutside #hiking #herpetology #roadtrip #childrenofthemountains #bornwildproject

Mar 2020

Lion tracks in the Ngoy River bed. • • • 19 year old baby. I had been in the bush for almost a month but hadn’t seen the Chinko River yet. One day I was sent with a group of locals to open the roads around Chinko, the famed river. My vocabulary in Sango was limited to about 10 words, but I still spent months at a time with them. The safari roads were overgrown after the rainy season, and we kept hitting rocks or going off the path. Our car got stuck for the zillionth time, so we decided to stop and have lunch. The guys wandered away and I was left alone. It’s odd, I remember all these details: I was feeling euphoric, to really be in Africa- it was still a dream come true, despite the horrid swarms of tsetse flies, mopsni flies, and angry bees. I lay down in the long grass and popped my headphones in. I started playing Regina Spektor - (I literally remember that ). Eventually I dozed off. • • • A few minutes later I opened my eyes. I thought I could hear something. I pulled my ear buds out, and suddenly heard the biggest fucking roar a short distance away; the kind of roaring that can only come from the chest of an African lion- the kind you feel in your own chest. I was so scared I jumped on the top of the truck. A few minutes later Gambou came running back to the truck, followed by a few others. He looked up at me grinning as I sheepishly climbed down but never said anything.• • • • #africa #safari #neverstopexploring #goatworthy #livebravely #optoutside #wherethewildthingsare #wildlife #nikon

Mar 2020

Happy #internationalwomensday to the baddest bumble-bees I know. These girls have spent more time hiking, backpacking, and sleeping under the stars than most adults have in the US, guaranteed. . . . . . . #bornwildproject #childrenofthemountains #neverstopexploring #livebravely #goatworthy #keepitpublic #fueledbynature #colorado #desertsolitaire #hiking #backpacking #nature #wherethewildthingsare #nikonusa #carbondalecolorado #carbondale

Mar 2020

Happy #worldwildlifeday from a central African Guereza Colobus monkey. These guys lived in a troop above our main camp and greeted us every single day. Ill never forget hearing a leopard kill one in the trees outside my hut one night. The monkeys were shrieking and the leopard was grunting, and then everything went quiet as the leopard devoured its prey a short distance away... crunching of bone and meat (probably the female leopard we occasionally saw sneaking around ). . . . . . . . #nikonwildlife #nikonusa #livebravely #optoutside #goatworthy #neverstopexploring #africa #wildlife #safari #wildlifephotography #monkey #wherethewildthingsare

Feb 2020

This man was the ultimate explorer and hopeless romantic• In one of the stranger tales from the annals of African exploration, in 1898 Ewart Scott Grogan set off to become the first man to cross the entire continent of Africa from south to north. His purpose? To impress the love of his life and her aristocratic father. (they just don’t make lovers like they used to )• • Besides disease, wild animals, and the sheer hardships of traveling that distance... Grogan also had to survive the violent native tribes inhabiting the interior. His complete blind optimism and naivety (and vulnerability ) is credited with saving him; it seemed the natives gave him a pass for these reasons, when his contemporaries were hacked to pieces on similar expeditions.• • • Today I picked up a used book from the library for $1 that chronicles a modern journalists adventure retracing Grogan’s steps. I’m looking forward to reading it... • • • Grogan’s story reminds me of another favorite books of mine: The Lost World by Sir Conan Doyle. In it, the protagonist’s would-be lover, Gladys tells him he needs to go on a dangerous adventure to prove his love. “Someday, perhaps, when you have won your place in the world, we shall talk it over again,” she tells him, ........ before he nearly dies by dinosaurs and cannibal humanoid apes in a lost world deep in the jungles of South America. of course, this love story is fictional, but it seems to have a more realistic ending than Grogan’s: when Edward Malone is on his dangerous adventure.... Gladys leaves him for a complete ponce 😂 • • • #neverstopexploring #livebravely #hopelessromantic #moderndayexplorer #adventure #explore #hiking #africa #bookstagram #bookclub #goatworthy #trailchat

Feb 2020

I was a guide only to pay my way. That was the boring stuff. The real adventures were what I did in my free time- in between safaris- when I’d pick a couple of my African friends and we’d load our backpacks full of food and gear and take off in some unexplored area, marching for days, sleeping under the stars, hunting and fishing for small meals, foraging for wild yams and other plants on our way....I was blessed to find a kindred spirit in Erik, who gave me the freedom to do this on his time. I sometimes cant believe he let a dumbass kid from Kansas stomp around the dangerous bush like that, haha. . . .Its been a bit of a winter slump. Its been a lot of time alone. Ive been busy with classes and havent gone outside much to take more photos to share. Ive exhausted all my African photos already. And in general, instagram hasnt felt the same as it was when I began using it to market my media. . . For the last 6 years, my life has been painfully slow. I havent always been graceful with domestic life. Still, I also knew not to rush the time with my young children, because I knew it would be gone in a flash; I havent been too eager for them to grow. I was given an easy out from my ex-wife a year and a half-ago when we divorced: a free ride back to working in AFrica (in part to justify the questionable things that were effecting her conscience at the time ). I’d be lying if I said I wasnt a little tempted to take it. But in the end, I could never leave my children for that long at that age. They needed me. . . . Now, after being patient for so long, my oldest child will be going to school this coming fall, and I feel an inevitable changing in the life-season yet again- probably the most drastic in 6 years. Im just going to leave it at that. . . . #neverstopexploring #wherethewildthingsare #africa #trailchat #hiking #safari #wildlife #wilderness #explore #livebravely #nikonusa #goatworthy

Jan 2020

Its been awhile since I made an elephant post. And I just crushed my first school assignments this week after a multi-year absence from college.• October 26th, 2011, the day before my 23rd birthday, I went to the Dzanga-Ndoki park headquarters in Bayanga to see if someone could guide me to the gorillas. “I’m sorry, we don’t have guides available today,” the man said in English. I was about to leave disappointed when he continued. “It sounds like you speak Sango quite well. There’s some pygmies hanging out in town, I’m sure you can negotiate a reasonable price for them to take you on a walk in the forest.” • Yesssss please. We saw a lot that day. The highlight was coming across this young cow with a bull on the small salt kick in this forest clearing. I watched as the wind shifted and she smelled us. Using her trunk, she aimed it in our direction and walked towards us. I was so focused on getting a photo, fixed in in the viewfinder, I didn’t notice the pygmies had retreated into the forest. I turned around and found them snickering and beckoning me with their hands to retreat. • “Of all African animals, the elephant is the most difficult for man to live with, yet its passing - if this must come - seems the most tragic of all. I can watch elephants (and elephants alone ) for hours at a time, for sooner or later the elephant will do something very strange such as mow grass with its toenails or draw the tusks from the rotted carcass of another elephant and carry them off into the bush. There is mystery behind that masked gray visage, and ancient life force, delicate and mighty, awesome and enchanted, commanding the silence ordinarily reserved for mountain peaks, great fires, and the sea.” - Peter Matthiessen, The Tree Where Man was Born• • • • #wildlifephotography #wildlife #africa #elephant #hiking #neverstopexploring #livebravely #goatworthy #nikonusa #safari #wherethewildthingsare #explore #expeditionunknown

Jan 2020

My dad took this photo of me in June 2013, on mile 81 of my first 100-mile ultramarathon (my first “race” at any distance ). It was only a couple months after I quit smoking, and after making it through a difficult winter. I had spent an exhausting day and night running and mulling over the demons in my life. I remember coming into the aid station and seeing my dad and feeling the ground drop and the sky open and ... getting hit with a horrible anxiety attack that made me hyperventilate and feel like I was having a heart attack. My pops talked me through it for a few minutes while this picture was taken. I got up and started moving again and I heard my dad crying as he saw me go. He later told me that he wanted to tell me to quit because he hated seeing me suffer, but that he also didn’t want to take the struggle of finishing away from me. (I had blisters on every single toe ). • • • Good intentioned therapists try and offer advice for people with mood disorders and/or severe depression. But the thing these people often fail to tell you, is that “Victory” in a time of depression doesn’t take shape in the form of a magical solution- like the weight is lifted or an exit appears; victory might simply mean you successfully steered your mind from self-destructive thoughts that would have made the depression worse. And then, you wait it out until tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day... • • • I loath all the fake, insincere “self love” “motivational” content clogging social media, and I always fear coming off that way when I say something personal. So it’s with reluctance that I share this admission with strangers..... but I guess what’s the point if you can’t spread the love? The truth is there are a lot of days in my calendar that Im burdened by internal conflicts, and sometimes simply being alive feels like a greater accomplishment than any 100-mile ultramarathon I’ve ran. • • • #trailrunning #livebravely #neverstopexploring #timetofly #mountains #trails #ultrarunning #humpday

Jan 2020

That time @buriedxalive had the best water of his life 😂 not long after this photo was taken we continued on toward the top of the glacier. He dropped down out of view while I was messing with my camera. Little did I know he had literally walked across the glacier itself , hopping over fracture lines and eventually leaning over a horrifying blue pit where water drained straight into the mountain and disappeared (probably to China ). In other words, where a person probably shouldn’t go without crampons and ice axe. I was so pissed I couldn’t even take a picture fearing I was going to see him disappear in a crevasse. Under my breath was a steady stream of “you sonofabitch, you sonofabitch” until he eventually climbed back up to me 😂 #brothers • • • • #alaska #folkgreen #greatnorthcollective #neverstopexploring #goatworthy #livebravely #keepitpublic #landofthemidnightsun #hiking

Jan 2020

Part 2 from yesterdays post, of my quick 23 mile overnight trip in the Wrangell St. Elias National Preserve. I was in the Northern limit of the preserve, where you could actually backpack across the tundra with ease (relatively 😂 ) , as opposed to down south where its famous technical peaks and glaciers are found. My tripod and 10x42 Swarovski setup is about the only thing contradicting my ultralight backpacking setup, but for a quick trip it was worth it: its like having an HD tv with nature documentaries. There were literally hundreds of Dall sheep. Plenty of grizzly and wolf tracks in the river bottoms, as well as moose. No fresh caribou sign., but they obviously migrate there early in the year from all the sheds i found.... . . . . #wrangellstelias #alaska #landofthemidnightsun #folkgreen #greatnorthcollective #neverstopexploring #goatworthy #livebravely #backcountry #backpacking #hiking #wildlife #cottoncarrier #nikonusa #fastpacking #keepitpublic

Jan 2020

Some photos I haven’t shared from my quick 23 mile backpacking trip in the #wrangellsteliasnationalpark in Alaska this last summer. Some Dall sheep, caribou shed, and other scenes. The days are short right now and on top of having really bad cabin fever I’m obsessively planning next years trip to Alaska. The wanderlust is painful sometimes. . . . . #hiking #fastpacking #backpacking #trailchat #alaska #wildlife #backcountry #keepitpublic #goatworthy #livebravely #neverstopexploring #wherethewildthingsare #greatnorthcollective #folkgreen #landofthemidnightsun

Dec 2019

Happy Holidaze. . . . Tried getting a decent one with all of us but the munchkins wouldn’t sit still. Having fun shooting with the new 50mm f1.8. Goodnight. . . . #greatnorthcollective #christmas #nikonusa #wherethewildthingsare #enchantedchristmas