DC MD NJ NY Wedding Photographer & Destination Wedding Photographer – Chris Baltazar » Baltazar Photography is a nationally recognized wedding photography studio located in Washington DC Metro area providing coverage in DC, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, New York and travel destinations such as the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii and the Philippines.


Mao and I did some mental spring cleaning by spending time in Arizona and California several weeks ago. The desert was in bloom when we visited. Who would’ve thought there would be flowers in the desert and so much life in the desert. When you see desert scenes on TV, it just looks so inhospitable, yet, it amazed me how full of life it has.

We spent a couple of days in the Sedona and Flagstaff areas in Arizona. It was the perfect time to visit with the weather averaging 70′s during the day and 40/50′s at night. There was still a bit of snow on the ground in Flagstaff at 7,000ft elevation. Again, who would’ve thought to associate snow and Arizona. Not me!

We hiked several trails in Sedona, voted the most beautiful place in America. I asked the lady at the Visitor’s Center which trail is the most scenic to hike and she laughed and said “they all are”. Sure enough, after picking a trail, everywhere we turned had a breathtaking view of the red rocks.

We ended our hikes with some local brew from the Beaver Street Brewery in Flagstaff.

Here are more photos of downtown Flagstaff.

So after our Sedona and Flagstaff experience, we spent some time in Scottsdale. We stayed at the Hotel Valley Ho for several days. I highly recommend Valley Ho for its decor, ambiance and food. You can read my review here.

While Mao was in a meeting, I hiked the McDowell Sonoran Preserve which was suppose to be beautiful this time of the year (late March). And it sure didn’t disappoint. I was glad I was able to take a break from work and get out of the hotel for a couple of hours. This place is amazing! The trails were busy from the morning hikers, mostly returning back to the parking lot. But after a half hour or so into the trail, i saw less people.

I veered off trail onto a dry riverbed to take a photo. I took several shots and started walking back to the trail. Five steps later, I surprisingly felt this stinging pain on my right calf. When I looked down, I had a cactus stuck on my leg. My first reaction was to take a picture. Then I attempted to detach it from my leg butA� I forgot to pack my multi-tool. So I grabbed my key card and car keys to remove it and it wasn’t going anywhere. It was attached or velcro’d to my leg pretty well. A family was passing by the trail and saw my situation and offered to help and provided me with a comb and a multi-tool. Eventually, the mother told me she was a doctor and offered to remove the cactus off my leg. She was able to pry off one painful needle at a time. Another family gave me some iodine to prevent infection.

Ok, the moral of the story is bring your first aid kit and multi-tool with you when you set off for a hike. I thanked both families for helping and got back on the trail for another hour or so. I later learned that it was a Cholla cactus also known as a jumping cactus. I was just glad it wasn’t a rattle snake.

Ten minutes before I got back to the trailhead, I saw this rattle snake crossing the trail 10ft away. I’ll make another post on Joshua Tree National Park.



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