In February I also had the opportunity for a quick visit to my mom’s hometown area. She grew up there, and moved back out there a few years ago. I’d been there a few times for funerals, but never on happier touristy occasions. My mom was feeling pretty down, and missing the gorgeous green that is Virginia, so I resolved to find the beauty in the desert mountains.
The moment I stepped off the plane she took me to South mountain, which is actually where my parents had their first date. I was very sleepy after the time difference, but it was a great idea to hit the ground running.
We spent a day trip going to the Grand Canyon, which was easily one of the highlights of my trip.
On the way there, I made my mom and Aunt pull over to get pictures of snow covered mountains at the higher elevation. I also marveled over the different trees.
This time I got to take my own camera! It would have been best to have a wide angel lens, but I made good use of my kit lens and my larger zoom lens. One of my friends who absolutely hates the outdoors raved about how gorgeous this giant hole in the ground was. I full agree, I was just sad that my camera couldn’t take it all in. I just tried to capture what I could.
One of my favorite moments was deciding to be brave and sit on top of this posing rock in one of the viewing areas. I’m a horribly clutzy person, but I braved it to sit down. Then, I decided to try and stand up, and seeing how wobbly I was, the other people waiting in line decided to cheer me on. I wasn’t sure whether to be proud or embarrassed!
The neatest moment was a squirrel that became very interested in my aunt as she was unwrapping a cereal bar. He was so cute to get fun pictures with the gorgeous back drop behind him!
Another opportunity for beauty was going to the Botanical Garden. It was pricey not as much was in bloom, but it was a great way to see the variety of cacti. The garden was also hosting neat glass sculptures.
It was fun to photograph the fruit and flowers of the cacti, realizing how much the animal world relies on them. We even were lucky enough to see a chipmunk steal a piece of fruit and then run off and hide below some prickly vines to eat it. Patience and my zoom lens came in handy for this fun shot!
Another thing that I wanted to see was birds using the giant cacti for homes. It was easy to see the holes in the damaged cacti. Then, I got lucky and found a small black bird peeking out.
I love the green lusciousness that is Virginia, but the desert definitely has its own beauty in its survival.