White Sands, New Mexico

With a few days to ourselves in New Mexico, we took a short road trip to one of the state's most fascinating landscapes - White Sands National Monument.  The majestic white sand dunes are made of a mineral called gypsum and are formed through a crazy geological process that I can't pretend to explain, but I could at least appreciate the aesthetic beauty of it all.  This unique place, with its own unique ecosystem is so large that it can apparently be seen from space.

We took two evenings here and I discovered a love for minimal desert photography.  Both evenings, when the sun began to set, the wind died down and the horizon slowly tinged into subtle pastels as the shadows grew long.  The desert presents a minimalism and requires an appreciation of each element in your path - each plant, each texture, each curve of a dune.  I could have photographed this landscape for several more days if I had the chance and these photos are now among my favorites.

Joshua Tree National Park

On our road trip from Albuquerque, NM to Bakersfield, CA, our last stop along the way was an overnighter at Joshua Tree.  After a long drive through the desert of Arizona, we arrived in the small town and settled into our rooms; we only had a few hours the next day to drive through the park and get a taste of what it had to offer before we had move along to Bakersfield.  Here are a few of the photos from the area, although I hated that we only had time in the park during the daytime with harsh sunlight.

The desert was alluring and I wished to pitch a tent all alone in the park for at least a week to soak up its wisdom, but I put that wish in my back pocket for another time, and took the opportunity for what it was - a taste of the unique landscape with my parents and young son along to enjoy it.

Petrified Forest National Park

In late August, I road tripped across the desert with my parents and 1-year old boy.  Coming off a spiritual high from time in Albuquerque, New Mexico for The Living School through the Center for Action and Contemplation, a road trip quickly reminded me how far I have to travel on my own inner journey.  But that aside, we packed up the rental car and made our way to California for a family wedding.

We had a week open to explore, so we took it slow and enjoyed the incredible geography of the region.  After sitting through incredible spiritual teachings the week before, the geography of the desert was a welcomed landscape.  Each stop, and even the drives in between, provided plenty of opportunities for wonder and amazement. My mind was stretched each day as I stared at marvels beyond my comprehension.

Our first stop was the Petrified Forest National Park, where the Arizona desert is at its most spectacular.  We drove through the park and stood over the painted desert - a wild expanse of color juxtaposed against the endless blue sky - and we touched stones that used to stand as trees in a tropical forest with the dinosaurs roaming among them.  With wonder as a cherished feeling, this is a place that filled me.