Saguaro National Forest

Saguaro National Forest

Take a deep breath.

Close your eyes, and just be in the moment.

Open your eyes and find something unexpected.

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In the year and a half that I have been living in Arizona, I am falling more and more in love with the sheer beauty that this state has to offer. When my sister flew in to town for an interview down in Tucson, I jumped at the chance to get another look at what Arizona has to offer. We opted to drive through the Western side of the Saguaro National Forest on our back up to Phoenix, a mini road trip if you will. I knew that there would be acres upon acres of the famous saguaro cactus, so I grabbed my camera before we headed south.

To be quite honest, I was blown away at what we found when we came around the south side of the road. I have seen the cactus a few times driving around Phoenix, but to be able to see an expansive landscape with mountains, a big open blue sky, and endless amounts of giant cactus, I was at a loss of words. My sister and I pulled off the two lane road that snakes through the park and stood there together in silence, taking it all in. We share a love of the beauty of this world; to experience such harsh, rugged beauty with someone who appreciates that feeling as much I do makes me very grateful.

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Traditionally in my mind, forests evoke images of lush, thick pine trees towering above you, with birds chirping and the wind blowing through the tops of the trees. This time was different. To see the cacti going on and on, juxtaposed against the bright blue sky changed what ‘forest’ means to me. This country truly is great, and I hope future generations can appreciate how special, delicate, and diverse each state is.

As a California girl, I spent my life thinking of Arizona as some hot, desolate desert with nothing to offer. I admit that way of thinking was rather small minded. I am finding that you have to be able to find the beauty of everything around you, as well as find something to be grateful for everyday. This day, seeing the desert made me feel as though I was seeing Yosemite for the first time, or Sedona with the bright red rocks. To see miles of cactus thriving in the desert brought me joy, and I look forward to visiting it again.

I hope you all can experience how awe inspiring the desert can be. Take a moment to just look at what is in front of you, I am taking everyday as an exercise to explore and learn not only about the land around me, but about myself and my reactions to every day experiences. I cannot wait to explore more of the Southwest, and to take the people who I care about the most with me on my adventures.

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