Today, I slipped out of the San Miguel Writer’s Conference with Maria Caponi, a multi-talented, adventurous world traveler I met at my writer’s retreat in Tuscany last spring. Maria is attending the conference, too, and we wanted to spend some time together. So we hatched a plan to take for the afternoon off from workshops and networking so we could head up to El Charco del Ingenio, the San Miguel botanical garden, a place I’ve wanted to visit each time I’ve come down here—but I’ve never made it before. Maria and I took a taxi because it was all uphill, wandered the wide paths lined with a wide variety of cacti, in awe of the desert beauty, and then hiked back down to the conference, just in time to change clothes and slip into our seats for the evening keynote address on immersive nonfiction. Here a tour of what we saw today.