Vacation photos: Part 1

After weeks of sorting and editing photos, I finally got through all of the pictures I took during my long vacation!

As some of my readers may remember, I ended up being away for longer than planned after my mom and I had car trouble while visiting one of my uncles in California this spring. While this meant that our original plan of driving back to Illinois together had to be cancelled, it did mean that we had more time to spend enjoying the beautiful weather in the mountains with our family!

We happened to be visiting at the perfect time of year; May was a very warm month without being punishingly hot and humid, the nights were cool, and the melting snow had filled every lake to the brim. Quiet creeks had turned into rushing rivers, and both plants and animals were taking advantage of the presence of water and good weather.

For better or for worse, my cell reception was nonexistent for the vast majority of our stay, but I realized I didn’t mind the fact that Facebook often wouldn’t load properly (if at all). Getting to wake up in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by mountains and dense forest as far as the eye could see, was a constant, humbling reminder of the vastness of nature, and I did my best to capture as much of it as I could through the lens of my camera.

With spring settling in and summer just around the corner, there was a lot of interesting wildlife to be found in northern California. I got some excellent shots of a swallowtail butterfly that was resting near the edge of a lake, nearly stepped on a banana slug that was oozing across my path, and stumbled upon a strange flower I’d never seen before. I’m not especially good at identifying plants, but I think that it might be an Allotropa virgata. Also known as “sugarstick” – and, sometimes, as “bloody snow plant” – A. virgata lives in forests in the mountains and starts growing in spring, after the snow begins to melt. Luckily, I happened to find myself at the right time and in the right place to see one and snap a photo!

Though appreciating our natural surroundings was certainly a highlight of the trip, my mom was very keen to use the opportunity to visit one of her sheepdog friends, who lives only a couple of hours from my uncle’s place. There, our youngest border collie, Lily, got her first real training sessions on sheep, and her excitement was so infectious that I couldn’t keep myself from taking some action photos:

Although I know next to nothing about herding, my mom assured me that Lily did very well for her first time in the field as a serious working dog. Her mother, Nell, even got the chance to herd for a little while, too:

Working with sheep was surely the best part of our trip as far as the dogs were concerned, but we saw and did so many fun, exciting things that I couldn’t share it all in just one post… so be sure to check back on my blog later this week to see the photos from part two of the trip, where I’ll be talking about about everything from crystals, to gravestones, to alien bordellos. Stay tuned!

EDIT: You can read part two by clicking here!

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