Sand, Snow And Solitude: Traversing The Arizona Trail

by Karen Berger

“Thorns claw at my sun-burned skin, and no matter how hard I bash my way through the shrubs, rubbery branches spring back and grab my arms and legs. An astonishing variety of barbs, briars, and brambles latch on and cling to my clothes with a tenacity you wouldn’t expect of a plant. I’ve learned to recognize manzanita (red bark, springy branches, no thorns) and scrub oak (the leaves are sharp and pointy and hurt).
I’m not much of a botanist, but I’ve developing my own system of nomenclature for the rest: Very prickly plant. Painfully prickly plant. Blood-thirsty prickly plant.

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