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.

Small sites in New Mexico

We recently returned to Uganda after about 6 weeks in the states, jumping all over America once again for all kinds of different purposes.  Between this and that, we had a few spare days and we took them for ourselves, for a real family vacation.  We tend to travel a lot, but it is hardly ever just to get away or site-see, so these few days offered us that opportunity.

We drove from Albuquerque, New Mexico to White Sands National Monument, but stopped in the quirky little town of Truth or Consequences for a couple of nights.  There wasn't anything particularly striking in the area beyond the natural hot springs, and that was just fine with us because we mostly just wanted to relax and be together.  We did drive through a wildlife refuge on the way there and stop by a petroglyph site on the return trip, both semi-interesting stops to break up the trip.  Besides our couple of days at White Sands, which I'll feature soon, it was all quite uneventful.  And sometimes uneventful is just what you need.

Grand Canyon

Continuing on our roadtrip across Southwest America, we stopped in Flagstaff, AZ for a few nights and explored the surrounding area.  The most obvious attraction to visit was the Grand Canyon - one of the world's most awe-inspiring natural sights.  Although we only dedicated one day to this Wonder of the World, it would be time well-spent to return and explore it at leisure.

Words cannot do the Grand Canyon justice, nor can my photos, but I do hope they can nudge you to plan a trip for yourself, stand at the rim of magnitude, and allow yourself to be filled with awe.

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.