Bumbling Around the Southwest

     Well, I received the scans back from our trip around the Southwest and I think it's safe to say that I won't bother bringing a digital camera with me anymore.  In fact, I'm here in Seattle for Click Away without my digital.  That's right, I went to a photography convention with only a film camera and will have to wait a few weeks to see what I captured in this amazing city.  I seriously love the anticipation though!  Our society is far too centered on immediate gratification, and I love that film forces me to slow down and truly appreciate the moment, and then your patience gets rewarded and you get to relive the memories all over again several days later.  

     That's what I got to do last week when I got back almost 200 images of our most recent vacation, and I fell in love with just about all of them immediately.  For the first time, I felt that I was truly documenting AND enjoying our time together rather than repeatedly taking shots to get just the right angle, just the right light, just the right expression, etc.  This time, I simply saw something that stood out to me, took the shot, and returned to my family.  Yes, sometimes an image was underexposed or blurry, but it was the most present I've been while on vacation with my husband and kids.  It was wonderful.

     We started our journey in San Antonio, and got an amazing free room upgrade from the cheapest basic street-side double, to a RiverWalk front deluxe suite with a private balcony.  SUH-WEEET!  We wandered around for a couple of days exploring the canal, touring the Alamo, and sampling the Tex-Mex.

     From there, we went to this really awesome middle of nowhere Texas town known as Marfa.  We stayed in a totally hippie vintage trailer compound and the girls were so happy, they couldn't stop running in circles.  It was truly a very unique experience and if you ever find yourself lost in West Texas, go to El Cosmico ;-)

     We then made our way to Albuquerque, but obviously had to make a pit stop at the White Sands National Monument!  A lot of these came out underexposed, but you can still make out the faces of joy/terror.

While in Albuquerque, the state fair was in town so we decided to check it out.  We dropped far too much money on wristbands we ended up not even being able to use, but the girls had a blast looking at all the lights, eating hot dogs, and dancing to "Gangnam Style."  Those things were free...

The next morning, we got our own private horseback riding tour through a canyon.  This is the only outfitter I've encountered in the States that allows you to ride tandem with really young children, so I was incredibly thankful for that.  Believe it or not though, my youngest managed to fall asleep and STAY ASLEEP even while the horse was trotting. 

After Albuquerque, we made the magnificent drive up to Ouray, CO, where my husband's aunt and uncle own a house.  The views there are. to. die. for.  I want to move there.  Seriously.  My eldest got to see a deer and a turkey crossing just feet away from her, we went hiking into a canyon with a waterfall, and my husband's family took us on a Jeeping adventure up and over a 15,000+ ft mountain.  I thought we were all going to die on more than one occasion, but I'm sure with time my memories will convolute those moments into a nostalgic tale from their childhood.

Since we were so close to the Four Corners, we decided to go a little out of way and stay in the Mesa Verde National Park lodge.  We even booked a room where we could see all four states from our balcony.  I saw one of the most beautiful sunrises of my life on that balcony...I swear they're more colorful in the desert.  We explored the ruins, ate rattlesnake sausage, and did the obligatory "stand in all four states at once" tourist thing.

We trekked back into New Mexico and ended our trip with a 2 night stay in a very cool teepee.  The girls were just beside themselves to be staying in such a big "tent" and my eldest was quite fascinated by the composting toilet outhouse :-p  Our stay there was perfectly timed with a full moon, yet we could still see the Milky Way with ease.  I just fell in love with Santa Fe...everyone was so friendly, the community was so artistic, and the weather was just beautiful.  I miss it already.

And here are a few more random snaps from all over then I'm done, I promise!

Whew!  Well, there you have it...my longest post to date/possibly ever.  Although we did just book tickets to Costa Rica for the spring, so I'm betting that'll be a long one as well ;-)