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My first trip to Cactus Country was in 1997, with my two sons, then 14 and 17 years of age. It had been a difficult time for all of us as my wife and I were working our way through a difficult divorce.

I remember gazing through the shop window in Tombstone, AZ at a pair of ‘cowboy boots’ that clearly cost too much to be considered a sensible purchase, considering how often you could wear such master pieces of boot making in the UK. There have been more situations where difficult to cost-justify memorabilia from cactus country were very tempting but the urge to purchase was controlled. Some two and a half weeks ago I spotted a pair of gorgeous python skin boots in a shop window near our hotel in Ensenada. In the hope that they would not fit, I tried them on. Perfect fit! I convinced myself that it would be stupid to make such a purchase at the start of the holiday but that if they were still available on the way back, I might be tempted.

If things had worked out different in Catavina we would have spent tonight in San Quintin and would have driven straight past Ensenada and those boots.

But faith conspired; Catavina had been full when we passed and so we found ourselves back in Hotel Cortez in Ensenada tonight. After down loading our pictures for the day – a cactus stop early on along the track to San Pedro de Martir (S3438) with many Baja endemic cacti – previously visited in 2008 as S0936 and a non cactus stop to wind down at La Bufadora – I suggested that I might take a stroll into town to see if those boots were still there. Damn, they were! Could I try on the other boot? After all, both right and left foot needed to fit, although it was hard to think of the right occasion to wear such fancy foot wear. ELK 2016? May be. Angie agreed that they were beautiful. Jonathan commented that the toes curled up. They are meant to, was my excuse.

And so I my display cabinet for Cactus Trip souvenirs and memorabilia needs to be rearranged to make space for a pair of size 11 python skinned cowboy boots when I get home. I would not be at all surprised if they should find themselves in images for my forthcoming UK ‘What I Saw Last Winter’ presentations.

I finished our last night in Mexico with another rib-eye steak and another goldfish bowl size glass of margarita to celebrate the end of the Mexican phase of this wonderful trip.

Stories are beginning to filter through from main land Mexico where our amigos from previous cactus trips have embarked on their latest adventures. Thanks to Alain and Ian for their updates and to John, John and Cliff for no doubt taking images that will want me come back to Mexico sometime soon. Hope that Finn can catch up with you after flight delays from Denmark.

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