The Sahara | Morocco

I spend a lot of time in the desert. It is a special place for me. Perhaps because it is so opposite from my everyday life of living in a city, driving around congested streets, rushing around here and there. But when I am in the desert, I am filled with such peace. The vastness demands presence. Your senses come alive as all your worries melt away. At times the only thing I can hear is my own breathe mingling with the wind, my thoughts becoming clear and light. Everything slows down in the most beautiful way.

And then there are the dunes. I was so excited for this part of our Moroccan adventure, never having experienced anything as large as the Sahara. You can’t ignore the energy emitted from these beautiful shifting mountains. Always moving, always changing… and never with the same particles of sand.

We rode camelback through the dunes, watching the evening sun warm the sand into deep red tones. Once again, silence, except for the camel’s large hooves prodding softly along. We passed Berber camps, set up in the middle of nowhere. Their houses were made of scrap wood, covered with blankets and carpets, some surrounded by carpet walls for protection from the wind. Nearby, their herds of goats were eating the patches of grasses, growing in the most unlikely places. Our Berber camp was not unlike the others, except ours had queen size beds and running water (so yes, maybe it was quite different!). That night by candlelight, we ate one of the best meals of the trip, a Moroccan salad and a meat tajine. The most spectacular of all though, was the sky. So littered with stars it took your breathe away. Mesmerized, we lay and watched the luminous sky until the day finally overwhelmed us and we crawled into bed. We awoke before light, climbing a nearby dune to watch the morning light flood across the dunes, warming the vast Sahara. Yes, the desert is a very special place.

As much as I love the desert, the ocean, my true love, is calling...

Location: The Sahara, Merzouga, Morocco

Accomodation: Yasmina Hotel (would highly recommend)

the sahara blog.jpg

a dead sea and a dry lake bed

Here are some images from the latest excursion to the desert. Destination: the Salton Sea. Once a bustling recreational area in the 20's, it now exists mainly as an avian sanctuary, housing over 400 species of birds. The salinity is too high for most fish species, and many of the beaches are littered with literally millions of fish bones. Not so pretty.

Second stop: El Mirage. A popular dry lake bed for shooting editorials and music videos. We just happened to stumble upon a magnificent sunset. There is such a vastness in these areas... you can't help but feel the expansion inside you as well.


Desert Blooms

The Okanagan Valley is considered Canada's only true desert. Sun-drenched vineyards and orchards nestle in the valley surrounding the lakes. The ideal location for golfing, water skiing and wine tasting all in one day. But for me, it's more than that. Because I grew up in this climate, it makes me feel like home. A deep breathe takes me back to hot summer days by the river, the water down to a slow flow, but still holding its emerald green. It might be the smell of the sagebrush, now brown and dry. Or the sap seeping from the willlows. It might be the hot sun heating the tar on the roads. It might be the sweetness escaping the peaches and cherries, now ripe and full. Or maybe its the crickets in the late summer evening, the rocking of a swing on a front porch. It might be the breeze, still hot with the desert air, blowing the white cotton from the poplars, dancing them down the quiet roads. Perhaps it's the smell of freshly mown grass, or the waft of a bbq from down the alley. Whatever it may be, I feel a pang of homesickness and in that breathe, remember a million moments spent in the desert heat throughout my childhood.

Here are a few desert blooms from last week's venture. Lavender... my favorite.

Baja Bliss

Recently, it was our annual Baja pilgrimage. Just as everyone is going back to school, packing away the summer clothes, and getting back into the work groove after summer vacations, we are packing our surfboard bags and loading up on sunscreen for a family adventure.
I feel so blessed just to be able to take the time off, that we ALL are able to take the time off, and go hang out in the waves together. The best part is that they are not only my family, they are my best friends and some of the coolest people I know. What a lucky girl I am.
Back to the pilgrimage. This involves a really long drive, about 36 hours in fact. The destination is some property that my brothers bought a while back, property in the middle of the desert, property with world class waves out front. It’s an extreme environment. Extreme in its climate, in its plant life, in its inhabitants. Rattle snakes, scorpions, tarantulas, black widows, coyotes, badgers and more that I probably don’t even know about! However, watching a huge orange ball rise out of the ocean every morning, seeing the hundreds of pelicans and gulls fly their daily migration, and surfing alongside dolphins and sea turtles in crystal turquoise waters helps to overshadow the run-ins with the more disturbing creatures.
In saying that, after 2 1⁄2 weeks of desert life, I was ready for a hot shower and pedicure. I must be getting soft in my old age! Thank you guys, for such a special time. I treasure it.