Colorado Pines

colorado lake and pines in Rocky Mountain National Park

Colorado Pines

About this time last summer, I made my very first trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, in Colorado.  It will, most certainly, not be my last.  At every turn, there is a scene like the one in this image.  The deep colors of the water below, offset by the bright whites in the clouds above and the never ending shades of green in between are calming not only to my eye, but also to my soul.  I have always found the Rocky Mountains to be majestic, and this trip certainly reinforced my love for all things Rocky.

Desert Moonrise

moonrise in the desert

Desert Moonrise

This gorgeous scene was one we came upon while exploring beautiful Arches National Park a few years ago.  The colors of the desert are so rich and rewarding at certain times of the day.  I love the reds and oranges in the rocks in this shot, and the rising moon just made it a “must shoot” situation.  I am so grateful to have traveled to so many stunning places across the beautiful United States.

The Painted Desert

Painted Desert in Arizona

The Painted Desert

A visit to The Painted Desert, in Arizona, this summer, treated us to the strange and beautiful colors of the hot, dry sand.  The various layers of color in the canvas here reveal millions of years of work by Mother Nature.  It’s an interesting, albeit desolate, place to visit.  We happened to travel through in the heat of the day – not the best time for making nice photographs.  This park is another one of those places that changes dramatically depending on the time of day and conditions.  An unexpected highlight for us was meeting a young woman who was working in the park.  She was kind and knowledgeable, and gave us some personal insight into this fascinating desert.  I’m so grateful that there are people like her (and her husband) who find it important to love and share our nation’s natural treasures.

Southwest Sunflower

sunflower against bright blue desert sky

Southwest Sunflower

This sunflower, one of several in the area, towered over my head as it stretched toward the bright blue early morning sky in Bluff, Utah.  It seems amazing to me that these can grow this tall and strong out of nothing but sand and red dirt.  It was a welcome relief to the eye from the dusty reds and browns of the surrounding scenery.

Sunflower

fall sunflower against a cloudy sky

Sunflower

The more I come across this image in my photo library of a sunflower set against a fall sky, the more I like it.  The strength of sunflowers always amazes me.  Its huge, dense head is actually a mass of thousands of flowers, and can weigh several pounds.  At its center, the flower petals are actually in a very complex spiral pattern.  In addition to its beauty, the sunflower’s determination to withstand the conditions of its environment and reach the sky is inspiring.

Field of Gold

yellow flowers in field in vermont

Field of Gold

This beautiful field of yellow drew my attention for days before the clouds were finally just right for a nice shot.  We were in and near Stowe, VT in the summer of 2010, and enjoyed the peace and tranquility that only Vermont can offer.  This photo represents that for me.  Hope I’ll get to revisit with a nice wide angle lens someday!  :)

Skyward

evening sky over west texas

Skyward

Today we are headed to the great state of Texas to spend our daughter’s 26th birthday with her and her husband.  We will be flying this time, and in honor of our trip, I thought I’d post this picture of a beautiful big Texas sized sunset sky.  Although I adore the gorgeous trees and hills of Virginia, I do love to see an endless sunset over the flat plains of Texas every now and then.  It’s food for the spirit…

McAfee Knob

Virginia's McAfee Knob on the Appalachian Tral

McAfee Knob

One of my favorite hikes in Virginia, the trek to McAfee Knob, is a gorgeous stretch of the Appalachian trail, crowned by an amazing overhang of cliffs, offering a 270 degree view of the valleys below and the ridges beyond.  Over 4.4 miles, you gain 1,740 feet in elevation as you make your way to the knob, which is named after James McAfee, a Scots-Irish immigrant who settled on several hundred acres in the valley below around 1748. The reward is not easily put into words.  McAfee Knob, for good reason, one of the most photographed places on the Appalachian Trail.  The inspirational views and gratification of accomplishment bring a sense of peace and awe as you take in this stunning creation.

“Doubly happy, however, is the man to whom lofty mountain tops are within reach.”
– John Muir

Whisper

new green spring growth against a blue sky

Whisper

Today’s post is dedicated to an amazing spirit, and my sister’s dear friend, Karen O’Briant.  Two days ago, after an all too short life on this earth, Karen overcame her long battle with cancer as she entered into the mystery and wonder of the resurrection.  Karen affected everyone who knew her by her faith, her strength, and her joy, and I found this quote fitting in remembrance of her.

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go.  Some people move our souls to dance.  They awaken us to a new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom.  Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon.  They stay in our lives for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same!”