Sandy Valley Ranch, Nevada
I had the ultimate privilege of flying out to Nevada and photographing two Philly lovers' Las Vegas wedding this past weekend. Vegas was SO awesome-- much more to come on that.
Naturally I turned a trip across country into a vacation, bringing along my husband, Matt. But living in a city and vacationing to a different one, it's sometimes hard to find a reset. We decided to spend 2 of our 5 Nevada days out in the middle of nowhere, on a Ranch in Sandy Valley.
The following photos are by me, a city slickin' photographer, in total awe of desert nature and a style of life I've never experienced before. It was straight up breathtaking ya'll! 🌵
Cruising in a rental down I-15 South toward Sandy Valley, we passed by a larger than life art exhibit in the middle of nowhere called 7 Magic Mountains. It's a temporary exhibition by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone featuring seven, 35ft high dayglow totems comprised of painted, locally-sourced boulders. Pretty random and pretty freakin' magical.
The 55 mile drive was comprised mostly of deserted roads with the occasional gigantic cactus in the forefront of a 360° view of mountains. It was easy to forget they were real and not a painting done by Bob Ross. Matt & I stopped for a selfie, of course.
Sandy Valley Ranch
After we gawked at our trailer for a while, we took a while to explore the ranch and meet all of the animals. Sandy Valley is known for their horsin' around with an array of equestrian events but they are not short on other cuties too! Here are just a few sights and ranch pals we came across.
(The puppy German Shepard in a few shots, Oso, was our sidekick as we wandered.)
AND THENNNN there is Frosty the Cowboy. He works every day on the ranch caring for the horses and giving personalized trail rides. Frosty made us feel welcome right away, allowing us to get up close to the horses and talked to us all about a day in the life of a cowboy. He introduced us to our horses Chex & Luna the night before we got up to ride.
* I only took cell phone pictures on the trail ride for obvious reasons but it was my favorite part of the whole trip! Frosty gave us a quick riding lesson and we went out for 2 hours, galloping our little hearts out all the way to the mountainside and back.
A few odd n' ends on the property!
After the Sun started to set, we hauled along the dirt roads to the only pub in 40 miles called Idle Spurs to shoot some pool and grab a few cold ones. We were welcomed there by the friendly bartender and locals who told us all about the area and what it's like living in the middle of beautiful, middle-of-nowhere, USA.
Now, I've seen stars before but I've never seen the Milky Way quite like this. Trying to capture all those little stars in one short exposure doesn't even do it justice. Along the horizon you can see the glow of Las Vegas from 50 miles away.
(I hope this post urges a real astrophotographer to explore this area so they can take legit night sky photos!)
So there you have it. What happens is Sandy Valley, doesn't stay in Sandy Valley. It's quite the charming experience. If you find yourself in the Las Vegas Area, I HIGHLY recommend renting a car and escaping to this hidden gem nestled on the Nevada/ California border. 🌵