Now that 2012 is underway, it’s time to take a look back at a few favorite photos from 2011. The highlights of my year included two trips with my husband, one to the Southwestern US and one to Puerto Rico. Both were new experiences for us, and both left us wanting more. My favorite photos from the Southwest are by far those from Antelope Canyon. While not the most serene to actually visit thanks to the many tourists and photographers, the photos from that visit amaze me every time I look at them. The expanse of the Grand Canyon was breathtaking, and I was really surprised by all of the trees and the surrounding forest. I’d always imagined the surrounding area to be desolate.
While the Grand Canyon was on my bucket list, I must say that I fell in love with Bryce Canyon. The intense colors of the hoodoos against the blue sky was simply beautiful, but the most memorable was the quiet serenity of our day there. We’ll be back for sure with much more time to explore. On a completely different note, Puerto Rico was a fantastic getaway, and surprisingly easy to get to. The ability to be in 2500 feet of crystal clear water in only a 20-minute boat ride was amazing! My favorite spots were the rain forest at El Yunque and streets of Old San Juan with the beautiful architecture and brilliant colors.
As usual, it was hard to narrow my favorite photos down to only ten this year. There isn’t really any rhyme or reason for why these photos are my favorites, but there is something about each one that I love. Enjoy the photos and have a wonderful 2012!
Just north of San Francisco is the Muir Woods National Monument in Marin County, CA. One of the remaining old growth forests on the planet, the forest is full of centuries old Coastal Redwoods that tower hundreds of feet above. One of the beautiful features of the Muir Woods is the Redwood Creek that meanders through the heart of the forest. Redwood Creek runs off of Mount Tamalpais through Muir Woods and out to the Pacific Ocean at Muir Beach. The creek is home to some of the last native California Coho and Steelhead Salmon in the area. They return each winter from the Pacific Ocean to spawn after the first heavy rain of the season.
These majestic Coastal Redwoods were photographed in the in the Muir Woods National Monument in Marin County, California. Just north of San Francisco in Mill Valley, Muir Woods celebrated 100 years as a national monument in 2008. As the only old-growth redwood forest in the San Francisco Bay area, Muir Woods is actually one of few left on the planet. Once found throughout the northern hemisphere, Coastal Redwoods are now only only found in a narrow 500 mile coastal strip from southern Oregon to northern California. Coastal Redwoods are the tallest of all living things on earth with the tallest tree at Muir Woods measured at 258 feet tall. The average age of the Coastal Redwoods at Muir Woods is between 600 and 800 years old, and the oldest is estimated at 1200 years old. As old as this sounds, these incredible tress can live up to 2200 years old.