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The words I try to live by. Read more thoughts and ideas related to photography, camping and nature conservation. You can also find occasional news and art show schedules.

Happy New Year to you all. This, of course, is a great time to look back and recap what the past 365 days have been. To pick out the best and positive influences to bring into the new year. To weed out the bad and get rid of the clutter. I am thankful to have friends and family in my life that support what I love to do. This past year has been amazing, filled with lots of adventures, stories, coffee and laughter. And I have been reminded recently that laughter and a sense of humor are key. So is good coffee! Here's to an unforgettably amazing 2015! Filled with more adventures, laughter, love, and of course, great coffee!

"Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you're living?" –Bob Marley

This year especially, Yes I am. I ended an amazing adventure-filled year with two back to back trips. The first, back to awesome Utah, but an area where I have yet to explore. In search of a specific spot that I've dreamed of seeing with my own eyes. Little did I know how tough of a trek it would be. Just hiking to it would be hard enough, but to backpack with camp gear made it brutal. But we made it. With many hurdles that we overcame, we made it. The view was gorgeous. Mesmerizing. But as unbelievable as the view was, I wouldn't do it again. 60 miles of off-road driving. 10 miles of hiking up and down ravines with no trail to follow. The water you carry is the only water you have. Plus, the angry windstorm that spent hours in the night trying to blow us and our tent off the 200 ft. cliff into the darkness below. But we got some shots and many stories to make it all worth it.

The second trip, to Sedona, happened hours after I got back from Utah. I was just there in August, but this time during the winter, hopefully with snow. Well, there wasn't any snow, until our third day that is. Last day of the year, we woke up to snow showers and it snowed non-stop for the entire day. Great for a winter wonderland among the red rock. But bad for visibility with complete whiteout conditions. Luckily, we make the last stop at Bell Rock on our way home and the sun shines through as I walk up the trail. It was meant to be.

The Mesquite sand dunes are the third sand dunes that I have visited and by far the easiest to get to. I highly doubt anyone who visits Death Valley will not stop by these dunes which are right off the main highway. They're so easily accessible that the dunes are littered with footprints. From the sidelines, you'll find yourself thinking that the dunes are "smaller" than you expected. But that thought quickly dissolves after climbing a couple of mounds. The lines, patterns and shadows are an impressive sight, especially in the morning light. If you find a steep and high enough peak, try kicking some sand down the side. This causes a small avalanche and gives off a unique sound. Pretty interesting. Even in November, temps here were in the low 80s during the day. But once the sun sets behind the mountains, it gets chilly, really quick into the 30-40s. Death Valley isn't my favorite NP to visit, but its diverse landscapes are interesting enough to keep me occupied for a few days.

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