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The First Time I Saw the Desert

I’d never seen the desert before, but I’ve always wanted to.  It seemed like such an intriguing  landscape, so different from the dense green rolling hills I was used to. Where palm trees weren’t a strange sight, and cactuses grew naturally.

One day I discovered some cheap flights to Las Vegas, and suddenly a week long desert adventure was being dreamed up. Five hours to the other side of the country was the longest I had ever spent in a plane. I loved every minute of it; seeing the landscape change before my eyes.

 In the rental car we explored the desert world for the first time. The land was so flat, with no tall trees, you could almost see straight across to the other side of the city.  Mountains stood tall in the distance, surrounding Las Vegas like a wall.

I stared along the palm tree lined streets, having never seen more than a few palm trees before.

I continued to stare out the car window as we passed all the famous casinos.  Strange to see them all in person. Only ever seeing them in movies, it almost felt like they didn’t actually exist.

Nestled around the shiny sparkling casinos, run down motels and other attractions lay as ruins, providing quite a big contrast.

Even the houses matched the desert color theme.

The seven days in the desert were off to a good start.

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Film in the City

A walk through the city on an early spring evening. The days were finally getting longer, the weather was finally getting warmer.

I took my little Argus camera, loaded up with some film and went to explore a newly built walkway, through the once forgotten part of the city.

I’ve watched this area for years from my work building window.  For years all they did was seem to move dirt around.  Then eventually they built a path.  One day new buildings are supposed to cover this big grassy area. I’m still watching from my office window, wondering if the building will ever start.

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A Late Autumn Walk

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These pictures were taken two years ago, but then got buried in my drafts when I had a bad case of writer’s block and no inspiration.

It was around Thanksgiving 2016. My mom was in Europe with her sister. There wasn’t much to do, so we took a walk.

I don’t have any pictures from that Thanksgiving day, but these pictures remind me of it.

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Thanksgiving is always weird. All of my family lives far away and almost we never spend it with them. On this particular Thanksgiving after we got back from my in-laws house, we went to Waffle House with my sister and then played Minecraft.   That was pretty funny.

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Visiting Family in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery

During my trip to Michigan, I wanted to visit the cemeteries of my relatives. Luckily I unknowingly chose a hotel right in between two main cemeteries where my relatives laid. Unlike the the Southfield Cemetery, the Holy Sepulchre Catholic cemetery was massive and easy to get lost in.

It was an icy November day, and we wandered around the vast place, looking for our family members.  My mom was relying on her memories of running around here when she was little. Her grandparents were caretakers of this place!

This unique group of trees caught our eye and we wandered over. It was the right area!

Someone had placed wreaths at the graves, we wondered who that could have been.

My great great grandfather, who came to Detroit from Austria and worked as a grave-digger in this cemetery.

I’ve always liked wandering around in cemeteries.  There’s something really peaceful about them.  It was even more special to visit a cemetery where my family members were buried. Most of them I’d never met, but had heard plenty of stories about. Others I have some vague memories of, so I was glad to get to visit their graves.

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Visiting My Family in Southfield Cemetery

The purpose of the Michigan trip last year was to visit family members. Live and Dead.

My entire family on both sides is from Detroit Michigan. Almost all of them came straight to Detroit when they entered the country, and never left. There are so many of my relatives and ancestors that I never got to meet, so I at least wanted to visit their final resting place. Since I live so far away from my home land, I’ve never really gotten to visit the grave sites of my relatives.

A strange coincidence is that after I chose what hotel to stay in, I realized it was right in between the two main cemeteries which both sides of my family are buried in..  In fact, both cemeteries were in walking distance of the hotel!

The first cemetery we visited was in Southfield.  A very small plot of land with an entrance that you might almost miss. Except for the sign, which among other things mentions a distant cousin of mine who was a test pilot that died in a plane crash over the ocean.

Me and my sisters with our great great great grandparents from England.

I found out I had a great aunt with the same name.  I wonder what she was like.

Halloween has always been a theme on this side of the family. A great grandmother was born on Halloween and that was her middle name. Her daughter, my grandmother got married on Halloween.  And my Dad’s favorite holiday was definitely Halloween.

I’ve always liked exploring cemeteries, but it was definitely special exploring a cemetery that was home to some of my relatives.

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Chloride Ghost Town

In north western Arizona, about an hour and a half outside of Las Vegas, is the little almost forgotten town of Chloride.

Chloride was once a busy mining town with over 5000 residents, but over the years that number steadily declined to around just a few hundred and Chloride was on it’s way to becoming a ghost town. For whatever reason though, this town was never completely abandoned and still has a couple stores, a restaurant and a motel.

It’s a picturesque dusty little town, full of eclectic desert character. We stopped at the general store for some snacks to fuel us on our way to the Grand Canyon.

Chloride was a fun place to stop.  I’d love to spend more time there exploring one day.

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Unexpected Mushrooms

It had been too long since we last took a walk. Wanting something different we decided on a nature trail in a park north of town. It was a park I had spent many unwanted hours at  years ago for home school events I wanted no part of.  I hadn’t returned since.  But I decided I might as well replace my bad, semi repressed memories with some good ones.

Rain had been falling every day for weeks but this was the first day the sun had been out for more then a few hours, but it was still very humid and muggy.  I saw this tree at the beginning of the trail, a sign of the mushroom sightings to come.

Moss was everywhere, covering fallen trees and branches with a fuzzy green coating. And around nearly every turn, a different type of mushroom, some I had never seen before.

Also present, were millions of bugs.  I unfortunately had forgotten to bring bug spray so there were times where we raced down the trail at full speed, trying to outrun clouds of mosquitoes and ominous buzzing sounds.

As we neared the end of the trail, we spotted an incredible sight.

GIANT MUSHROOM.

We almost got caught in the rain after this, but luckily is passed over pretty quickly.

 

This trail was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to go back. And maybe I’ll even remember the bug spray!

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Falls in the Graveyard Fields

I love discovering new places on the blue ridge parkway. Some places are a long and difficult hike to get to, others are just a quick walk down some wooden stairs.
The quick walk down the wooden stairs at Graveyard Fields led to a peaceful rocky stream. I would have liked to stay here and wander around in the shallow water, but as this had been a quick little 24 hour trip to Asheville to see a concert, I hadn’t packed the right clothes for playing in a river!

 

The goal was to hike to the big upper falls of Graveyard Fields, but we got turned around and ended up back in the parking lot!

The story of that adventure is here.