After a busy first week in Arizona, the second week of my vacation started with a hike up one of Prescott’s most well-known landmarks: Thumb Butte.
Surrounded by a ponderosa pine forest, the 1,985m tall butte (pronounced byoot) can be climbed via Trail 33, although access to the very top is discouraged and even prohibited at certain times of the year; this is in an effort to preserve the habitat of the resident peregrine falcons, whose courtship and breeding season lasts from February to mid-July.
Though slightly disappointed to find out that we weren’t allowed to climb all the way to the top, I managed to walk the steep 1.75 mile loop trail with my mom and aunt, taking regular breaks to rest and take pictures along the way. Some of my favorite shots from that day are of a particularly fearless fence lizard, who sat very still as I loomed over her with my macro lens, snapping photo after photo. That alone made it worth waking up the next morning with sore legs!
It had been a while since I’d photographed the sunset, but we were so busy during my visit that, most of the time, I’d miss the sunset entirely, or find myself somewhere that wasn’t great for taking pictures. One evening, though, I managed to get outside with enough time to take a handful of photos of a vibrant blue and pink sky, just before the sunlight disappeared behind the mountains!
I think once the weather improves here in Illinois, I’m going to try to make a better effort to go out and take pictures of the sunset more often… I missed this more than I thought.
The last adventure of my stay in Arizona was another trip to Granite Dells, this time following a different trail that took us closer to the lakes. This trail involved a lot more climbing and scrambling over rocks, which is, luckily, one of my favorite pastimes! Unfortunately, my mom wasn’t able to hike very far, so it was just me and my dad most of the way. As a photography enthusiast himself, he was very patient when I made regular stops to take pictures. This was lucky since there was so much scenery around us to admire, as the trees were still green and the river still full from the recent rainfall.
Places like this are one of the things I always miss when I leave Arizona. I spent my childhood summers growing up in the southwest with my family, so the rocky landscape has always felt like home to me, even though I’ve never actually lived there. I know not everyone understands the appeal of an environment that can be so harsh and hot, but even setting aside the sentimental value this place holds for me, it can also be incredibly beautiful.
With that said, I really hope that everyone reading this has enjoyed the stories and photos I’ve shared from my vacation! I already have a long list of art projects waiting for me, some of which I’ll be posting about later this week, so keep an eye out for more content coming soon!