One of the to-do things on my list when I retired was to Organize our Photos. Over the years, before digital, our vacation photos ended up in boxes. A few vacations, I did manage to put together a photo-album with a narrative. But there were hundreds of loose pictures including many old family photos, packed into many boxes. Now, as we contemplate another move and an even more downsized space (and no storage like we have now), I really needed to deal with reducing the number of boxes and albums. Digitization was the way to go, and I found a great deal around Christmas time (Legacy Box). This period of self-imposed isolation was a great time to finally tackle the task of sorting it all out.
Going through thousands of pictures was not a fast task. There was the, “Who are these people?” photos. (Toss them out, sorry unrecognizable people.) The, “Do I really need to keep every niece and nephew’s school pictures from every year?” (Nope, and out they went.) And then the, “Why did I even keep this photo?” I’m not a good picture taker. Re-call, this was pre-digital… take pictures, send in the roll of film, see your pictures 2 weeks later, and realize it was out-of-focus or there’s a tree sticking out of someone’s head.
And then there was the even more challenging, “How many pictures of mountains do I keep?”
In the late 90’s and early 00’s, we had a mountain & national park streak going – Mt Rainier, Yellowstone, Tetons, Arches, Canyonlands, Capital Reef, Bryce, Zion, Glacier, Mt Hood, Crater Lake, Acadia, Yosemite … to name a few. I was working on finishing my “visit all 50 states” life goal and national parks were a nice way to do it. In those days, we were both avid day hikers. As long as I had a hot shower, a nice glass of wine, and comfy bed, I could do 10-12 miles up and down mountains for days on end. Yes, they tended to be a very slow 10-12 miles, but that simply allows for lots of time to take pictures!
Going through all the pictures took hours. But it was a lovely walk down memory lane, especially for our long hiking trips. I even pulled out my trip journals, as I relived some of the best moments.
- My favorite hikes list: Arches Devil’s Garden, Zion’s Angel’s Landing, Mt Rainer up to the snowline, Glacier’s Sunrift Gorge Trail through the Siyeh pass, Teton’s Cascade Canyon.
- The best quips we had like stopping at every scenic overlook during our Utah trip (yes, every one) claiming, “It’s the journey, not the destination.” Driving through North Dakota and realizing, “We’re in the middle of nowhere and it’s damn big.” Or that very first moose siting, “Oh my gosh – there’s a moose on the trial right in front of me! Pat, where’s the camera? Pat, where are you?” As hubby later commented, I had dropped him like a hot potato. My take was, “That’s a 2000 lb. animal 10 feet in front of us… I’m outa here.” Hubby was never without a camera again!
Yes, there was some painful moments in those memories – the bee sting that swelled up, the fall on a trial that left my hip deeply bruised, the knee giving out with 3 miles of downhill hiking to still do, the really bad accommodations (what was I thinking booking that!). But the majesty of the vistas, the joy of accomplishing the challenging peaks, and just the fun we had – Oh, that was wonderful. And it leaves me wondering if I could ever do some of that hiking again.
So, there are over 1000 photos being digitized now, everything from old family photos to those more recent, but still pre-digital, trips. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the thumb drive, but at least it will take up a lot less room than the multiple boxes and albums. And I’ve finally checked off a long-term to-do item!
How are you preserving your old photo memories? Still in albums & boxes or have you also digitized? What to-do’s on your retirement list have turned into long-term items?
Photo: Hubby & Me above Crater Lake