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.

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.

Sedona, Arizona

Continuing on our road trip across the Southwest, we went about an hour out of our way so that we could witness the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona.  We're glad we did.  Although it was only a drive through the town with a quick stop to grab breakfast with a view, it was worth the detour to see this magnificent landscape.  Dad even started researching retirement homes in Sedona.  Maybe it's just the natural beauty or maybe it's the claimed "energy vortex," but there certainly is something alluring about this place.

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.