May 11, 2006

Today is a memorable day in Staddon family history. On May 11, two years ago, we were on a a family vacation (all 10 of us packed into our trusty 12 passenger van) to the Southwestern US. Today we drove from Ajo, AZ, down to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (right on the border of Mexico), and then up to Phoenix, where we spent the night at the home of some friends, the Kelley family. Below are a few of the “second best” pictures (ones we never ended up using for anything) that I pulled out of our archives.

It is impossible to capture the brilliance of a sunrise with a cameraWhen I consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers...

Before leaving Ajo, I was able to get up early enough to see and shoot the sunrise. They are absolutely brilliant in the southwest! Jonathan was there too and we think he made the only sighting of a coati on the trip.

Typical southern Arizona back-countryA snap-shot from the road side.

As we traveled south, the landscape looked more and more desolate as the sun rose higher in the sky . However, as seen above, the desert has a unique beauty to it, if you just get the right perspective.

Enterence to Organ Pipe Cactus National MonumentOne of those plants I forget the name of :)An auto tour through the park

I had a ton of fun taking pictures at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. However, I guess for some of us it was more miserable than memorable. A few of us were feeling pretty sick and the heat of the Arizona sun didn’t help any.

Saguaro cactus just beginning to bloomDriving through the cactus "forest"They say this is a prominate wash; sometimes water rushes through here

We were the only people at the park. It was very desolate. But this is one of few places in the US you can find many rare plants and animals.

A creative way to create shadeCloseup of a saguaro bloom

One thing I remember about this day was everyone’s flexibility. We had many things planned to do at the park but for lack of time we had to cut a lot of things out. As everyone yielded their expectations, we were able to have fun in what God did allow us to do.

Playing in the backyardThe culmination of our night hike

At the Kelley’s we had a tremendous time of fellowship (even though most of our family had never met them before.) They were very hospitable to host our whole family and they even took us for a hike up the mountain to see the city of Phoenix at night.


  1. Michael May 12, 2008 at 10:31 am #

    That was definitely a very memorable day! It is so fun to think about what I was doing a year ago today. I happened to be flipping through the field guide not too long ago and discovered that based on Jonathan’s description of what he saw, it was probably a ringtail instead of a coati – I think ringtails get bigger than I had originally thought and if it had been a coati Jonathan would probably not have noticed such distinct rings on the tail. Anyway thanks for the post and thanks again to the Kelly family for not just making it possible but making it special and fun and memorable!

  2. Daniel May 12, 2008 at 1:44 pm #

    Wow, do I remember Organ Pipe! I must say I was a bit surprised by the extreme heat and barrenness of it all – but it definitely made for a memorable southwest stop. It’s hard to believe it has already been two years since that splendid family vacation!

  3. Donald May 18, 2008 at 12:24 am #

    Brilliant photography James. I am so grateful that you at least tried to capture that sunrise with your camera. It was definitely enough to evoke an accurate recollection of that day.
    It’s amazing how small the van looks next to that cactus. And as far as the rare plant species, yes, I think you’re right: chances are they’ll remain undisturbed for a long time ;).
    By the way (if I remember correctly), today (the 18th) is the day we reached St. Louis and saw the Arch and the museum there. It is hard to believe it was two years ago! Last week and this week here have been tremendous travel weeks in Taiwan. Yesterday at this time we had just finished lunch at a restaurant within sight of the lighthouse at the southern tip of the island.
    It’s interesting how the Lord brings cycles in life and I’m glad for the chance we took to take that Southwest trip when we did. The Lord continue to bring opportunities “by the way” as you follow Him, James.
    “. . . The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord” (Psalm 33:5)

  4. James May 18, 2008 at 7:27 pm #

    I don’t know if I can remember ever doing anything quite as fun as traveling as a family through the Southwest. And Donald, I looked it up and found that the 18th was the day we arrived in St. Louis but didn’t actually visit the arch until the next day, the 19th. That was so memorable too.

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