I can remember when I first visited the desert; the year was 2007 and the locations varied through Western Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas via a road trip with friends. I grew up with hardwood forests featuring scattered evergreens, rolling hills, and the Great Lakes. My adventures prior to college consisted of trips within Michigan or Canada, staying close to the Great Lakes landscape. When I visited the Mountains of Colorado and then the Western Slope, I was stunned. Driving further south, I felt as though I was on another planet taking it all in, mile after mile trying to process this landscape. I wasn't really fascinated with the desert after that trip, but I was introduced. Years following, I visited more desert landscapes - Death Valley, Southern Utah, parts of Arizona, and New Mexico. With each visit, the desert landscape was burned into my brain and quickly became something I couldn't stop thinking about.
Favorite Desert Things:
- After the rain, when the ground is dark and plants are vivid shades of green
- The plant life - from the resiliency to the variety (the ecology of a desert is fascinating)
- Landscape - red/brown hills, snow capped mountains, fields of sand...it all looks good to me
- When there's the bluest of blue skies with white puffy clouds above a desert landscape
- The variation in weather/climates per the elevation and location
One of my favorite memories, though we didn't see much, was when my buddy and I drove from Houston to Tuscon just to see Saguaro National Park. This trip captured the spirit of our past college road trips while incorporating my love for the desert. I saw those giant, noble Saguaros, and I'll never forget them. I saw the other wildlife too, and the experience as a whole sparked my fascination in desert ecology. After the Tuscon trip, I was fully hooked and I needed to go back. In 2013 I visited New Mexico and Arizona, in 2014 it was back to Utah, and 2015 took me back to Arizona. It's been a while since I enjoyed the desert landscape, and I'm ready to go back.