I put a lot of energy into my plant hunting/photography trips. I would begin planning months ahead of time, first using paper maps in the early days then later, the internet. Searching for wild plants is not an exact science. About half of the time I failed in finding the herb I wanted to photograph. But when I did finally find the plant and acquired good quality photographs, it made it that much more rewarding! It is difficult to describe, after enduring the challenges mentioned earlier (see the "Watermarking" write-up on the "Photo Gallery" page) how it felt to finally get that photo! More than a few people thought I was crazy lol! I got a lot of ribbing from friends about driving hundreds of miles for just a few photos!
My database today contains over 300,000 photographs. I am still traveling and still photographing wild useful plants but not as much as I used to. My trips peaked in my mid-fifties when I did 29 trips in one year. Now I'm lucky to get in one or two plant hunting trips per year.
I want to thank my loved ones for their help and patience on those many trips. Either I was gone or you were with me sharing the adventure. Your laughter and companionship surrounded by indescribable natural beauty..... words cannot express!
And then there are my students.... what can I say? Over the years there were thousands of you. We had a lot of laughs! Each and every one of you was/is important to me.
If you retain anything from my classes, I hope you retain this: A strong, intimate connection to a diverse and pristine natural world is significant in growing up and living a well-balanced life. This concept is important now and will be even more important in the future.
I have few regrets. I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Maybe I would add a couple more fresh Prickly Pear margaritas!
Wherever you are, you can bet Cattail Bob is somewhere planning his next trip and still searching for that next great photo! CB
Several pages out of my old Arizona trip planning atlas.
Background Photograph by David Mills