desert

#ForestFriday - Big Bend Edition

When I think of Big Bend National Park, I think of the Chisos Mountains and the forest that covers them. Piñon Pine, also known as Mexican Pine, cover the hills and were a highlight for me on a recent trip. Enjoy a few photos of that glorious tree within the landscape that is Big Bend National Park.

#WayBackWednesday - Bryce Canyon

Visiting Bryce Canyon during the summer was a dream come true. I didn’t have a lot of time, but I did get to go and I got to spend the weekend with my BFF. We drove into Bryce Canyon and went directly to Rainbow Point at the end of the scenic drive. We did a little hike around there and hopped back in and stopped at every scenic turnout back to the entrance. We ended the quick day trip at Sunset Point before leaving the park. The day was a whirlwind, as we drove from Salt Lake City that morning. I had only been to Bryce Canyon in the winter, so seeing it thawed and glowing of pink and orange was something special. Enjoy these photos - I hope they transport you to Utah and you find some inspiration for your next trip!

Click here to learn about the people who lived on the lands known as Bryce Canyon National Park before any white settlers even found it… Always remember to respect the land and the history associated with the land. If you visit Bryce Canyon, remember to leave no trace. Click here for more info on how to visit a place and leave no trace.

#WayBackWednesday - Big Bend

I've been thinking of Big Bend often and I can't wait to schedule a trip back out there.  The park entrance is about 7.5 hours from my house, with another hour or so of driving within the park to get to the Chisos Basin Campground.  Big Bend is HUGE and it can easily take all day to drive through if you're stopping for little hikes and viewpoints - as we did.  I'd really enjoy going back to spend time exploring one area or backpacking a specific trail. Being honest with myself, I'll go back in any way I can and with anyone willing to enjoy the experience.  Here are some photos from a trip in January of 2014 with my other half and one of our best friends. 

Classic entrance sign photo

A view while driving down into Big Bend

Morning views from the campsite in Chisos Basin Campground

More driving views

Rio Grande!

Sotol Vista Overlook views

Santa Elena Canyon views

Santa Elena Canyon Trail friendship selfie. <3

#WayBackWednesday - Something I made up to talk about the Desert

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.