Nate Minor

New beginnings

NBM_0268The night sky looking south at Buffalo Peaks Wilderness Area north of Buena Vista, Colorado.

You can’t really tell from this photograph, but those rolling hills are mountains. Taking this photo at night, about an hour and a half into the Rocky Mountains and away from my new home in Denver, and it felt like any other night I’ve laid in the duff and pine needles to take a long-exposure picture. I’ve done that at least a million times in the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota.

The pines smelled sweet and the late-summer night air was chilly up in the mountains — no surprise there. But my bones were a little more tired than usual after just a eight-mile hike in — probably because of the 1,500-foot climb the photo doesn’t show. And finding water was a little trickier too. Who knew people camped away from lakes?

What I’m trying say, I guess, is that the whole experience was just different enough from what I’m used to that I had to think more consciously about my surroundings.

And so the rest of life is. One of these days I’ll remember to swipe my metro pass every time I get on the train, or remember that little quirk with the new CMS, or hit record before I start the interview. On the other hand, new tests are the most rewarding. Ever filed a web story and radio spots in 30 minutes? Neither had I, until recently.

I’m sure in a few months I’ll be a lot more comfortable with those things. But there’s always something new to learn. Challenges, and the sweet mountain air, keep life fresh.

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Map: Twin Cities life expectancies

Making this map turned out to be fun — at least after I had pulled much of my hair out dealing with KML issues. It’s published now (with context!) over at MPRNews.org.

Short version: The darker the area, the shorter the life expectancy. The lighter, the longer.

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Photos: Budapest, Vienna’s big cousin down the Danube

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