Desert vegetation is amazing. Since inhabiting this foreign land, I have found myself mystified and intrigued by the various cacti and shrubberies here. There is something powerful and enigmatic about these sticky, sharp, sometimes poisonous plants that lurk, oh about every 2 feet along the trail. Since riding out in the land of cactus plenty, I have been re-visiting the mantra "look where you want to go!" This doesn't mean stare at the beautiful prickly pear looming to your right, or ogle over the saguaro while you're trying to steer around it. I've decided to dedicate this post to the most alluring and painful of the daily cacti, Cholla. My hope is that by focusing my literary and videographic energy on it, I can prevent my fascination from luring me off the trail and into one of these beastly beauties.
Today nine of us trouped through the desert on a mission to complete the ride formerly known as "Baby Jesus," which occurred last Sunday. It ended up being a right when it should have been a left, 6.5 hours in the saddle, and over 2 miles of babyhead-litter-on-cracked-out-dirt-road that involved myself and 4 dudes. Today, however, I had the pleasure of riding with another female, Ms. Beth, who enjoyed the day on her Scott Spark, and posed with me to get a nice shot atop one of the "little hills."
Beth was visiting from Phoenix with her father and every time we stopped she was giggling and laughing at the fun of the trail. Super. Her father trooped it up too, pulling this one inch cactus needle out of his knee toward the end of the ride. Yes, out of his knee. Ouch.
Another surprise on the trail today: snow on the cholla. Wait a minute, didn't I leave the freezing cold to come here and enjoy the warmth, sun, heat,...... Eh em, desert?? OK, ok, drama. Even with the snow, it was still hot enough to ride in short sleeves and get sunburned, so no real complaints.
Enjoy. Hopefully these vids depict some of the sticky, intriguing qualities of this desert shrub. I have a good cholla shot that looks great adjusted to sepia....I'll put it up as a header the way Billy has on his blog as soon as I get around to asking him how.