Ocotillo flowers Joshua Tree

Ocotillo in Bloom

They look like a cactus, but aren’t. When we were here in June (the height of summer), they looked like little more than dry, thorny whips standing on end in the hot desert landscape. This time, because of the rain, they had come to life, with new green leaves and big clusters of bright red,

Joshua Tree

Greetings from the Mojave Desert!

Last June, Davin and I drove 1000 miles through the Sonoran and Mojave deserts. One of the highlights of that trip was a few days in the Joshua Tree area. We found ourselves captivated by the otherworldly landscape and vowed that one day we would go back in the winter or springtime and spend more

Pink Peppercorns

Foraging for Pink Peppercorns

A few years back, we spent a week at Rancho la Puerta, a spa in Tecate, Mexico, an hour or so south-east of San Diego, California. I had a great time exploring the landscape of the coastal Baja California desert chaparral and the many fascinating cultivated and wild plants that thrive there. I didn’t do

Apricot Mallow

Apricot Mallow: Tiny and Tough as Nails

I saw a lot of amazing plants on the desert trip, some with fascinating stories and critical ethnobotanic ties to the region. Yet, with so many to choose from and so many photographs far better than these, even I find it a little bit odd that I chose to begin with one so tiny and

cholla garden Joshua Tree National Park

Teddy Bear Cholla in Joshua Tree Park

We are still on our desert road trip. Yesterday we drove through Joshua Tree National Park, down a road that took us through a box canyon with some crazy terrain, and then down along the east coast of the Salton Sea. I was surprised to see a lot of agriculture out there in the middle

agave queen victoria

Dispatches from Two Deserts

We arrived in Phoenix, Arizona on the hottest day of the year. We got a car at the airport and hightailed it to the Desert Botanical Garden where a day that started out unbearably hot got worse. And worse. Few people were in the garden that day, except us, the crazy Canadians.

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Leaving California with an Aching in My Heart

The trip to Rancho la Puerta begins and ends at the San Diego airport. This was my first time to Southern California, and since it turned out to be cheaper (due to the New Year travel rush) to stay a few days in San Diego than fly home straight away, we took advantage to enjoy

Photo by Gayla Trail: All Rights Reserved

Stitched Panoramas: San Diego, California

Torrey Pines State Reserve (Beach) I am writing this from a rocking chair in the San Diego airport, where I am winding down from just over a day in the city. We rented a car here in San Diego, a transportation method I would have preferred not to have made, as we are new drivers