After a day of rest we again ventured into Joshua Tree National Park. This time we visited the Cholla Cactus Garden located in the Pinto Basin. The center of the park features a large relatively flat basin surrounded by mountains. Desert bighorn sheep stand sentinel on the peaks, but we failed to see them.
Cholla are one of the most interesting cacti. They form little balls covered with extremely sharp spines that stick to anything and are difficult to remove. The slightest breeze can send these balls skittering off the plant to root and create a new plant. Therefore, just a few cholla in one place can multiply into a garden.
The spines on the ground stuck in the vibram soles of my hiking shoes! If you happen to get stuck do not use your hands to try to remove them! Find a couple of sticks or stones to use to tweeze the spines out or you will find them stuck in your fingers as well.
Cactus wrens nest among the spines without impaling themselves. The dead cholla stalks provide shelter for desert animals.
Next we stopped at a wonderful outcropping of rocks. These granite lumps loom out of the landscape and invite you to walk among them. We explored the shadows and crevices.
It was another great day in this unique national treasure.