((Character Reference: http://samkaat.deviantart.com/art/ro...vent-187363293 ))
From over the crest of a small hill came trundling a being too clumsy (for its size) to be an animal. She wore a pale blue Northface jacket, baggy blue jeans, and a heavy pack. Her hiking boots crunched inexpertly over the ground, not intending to disturb, yet doing so anyway. She was small and thin, with hair that was both muted and violently shocking: the color of an orange autumn leaf, too long off the tree. It was almost the shade of dark sherbet, and pulled back into a thin ponytail of no extraordinary length. Her skin was rosey from exercise and cold, and dusted with freckles. Breath puffed from prominent lips in the chill morning air.
She stopped at an area for no obvious reason, shedding her pack and crouching to the ground. Her hands, clad in fingerless gloves, tugged aside zippers to retreive a camera from her pack. It was black and silver, analog and yet digital. The revered Leica camera. It cost a fortune, and it was the only valuable posession the girl owned. She had hitchiked and backpacked to the park, and never used either means of travel to get out of it again. She had been there a month so far, battling cold and staying in the geothermal basin, and finding what she could to eat, from her little handbook of plants of the area. She had lost a lot of weight, and only managed to survive thanks to the handouts of other campers, be their gifts merited through friendship, or merely left behind in trashcans or campsites.
Jo avoided others when she could. She was here to document nature, and was always irritated to have to be distracted by her need for food. It felt artificial, not to be able to 'live off the land' alone. Yet she wouldn't hunt, even if she could have, and not much was growing currently. Normally, Jo loved people. She was outgoing and people tended to like her, thanks to her friendly nature and harmless looks. In fact, this whole trip seemed to her friends and family to be out-of-character. Jo finished highschool, scorned her scholarship, saved enough money for hiking gear, and then took off. Everyone tried to talk her out of her adventure, but none could avail upon her made-up mind. Peacefully and without argument, she had stayed her course. On her way out here, she had called her mother from payphones a couple of times, but they had not heard from her now for a month and a week. Jo was not worried, as she knew that her family was fine, but they were all quite worried about her back home, as they did not know that she was. In fact, they were sure that she wasn't.
After adjusting the settings on her camera, enjoying the soft clicking noise of the wheel, and feeling the cold soaking into the knees of her pants, she set her camera on the ground, and lay down next to it. Her cheek was on the freezing grass, and her lips parted to breath in and out steadily. An eye the color of an olive leaf slid behind the viewfinder. From the other side, this iris was magnified, showing the marbled murky verdant color, flecked with brown and golden. Hazel, that noncomittal color that currently decided to feign green. It examined through the tiny window a world not unlike its own. A single, large maple-leaf lay upon the grass. It was brown and dead, yet gilded by frost. Every vein was an arching spire, a diamond-encrusted, vaulted cathedral ceiling for invisible fairy sprites, yet it was not unlike the other lifeless leaves her feet had already decimated to find this one.
Delicate fingers reached to adjust the focus rings on the lens, and it was like magic when the leaf jumped into clarity. A half a centimeter the other way, and it shifted out again, and a centimeter past it, and the grass behind the leaf sharpened, looking like an approaching army of marching soldiers. Another soft touch, and it was where she wanted it. The inside of the leaf was vividly, stunningly clear, and it ringed out into blurriness, until it filled almost the whole frame, topped by a fringe of blurry green and jumbled snatches of other leaves as a background. "Ansel Adams," she thought to herself. "Another Ansel Adams in the making," her teacher had said of her, and it had stuck with her.
She didn't know why she cared. If she wanted fame, she should have gone to Brooks Institute of Photography, where she had been accepted. She should have sought backers and publicity for this trip. Yet after high school, she couldn't bear more years of school, and politics, and more people deciding for her what was important, and refusing to let her be herself. Jo did not fully understand the source of her own feelings, but she simply knew that the vehemence with which she wanted to go on this trip would not vaporize with logic or time.