Chasing Cactus Blooms & Safety

Early April is often a good time to find the beautiful cactus blooms in the Joshua Tree National Park in California. For my wife and I, part of the enjoyment is that you can’t just drive along and see the cactus or blooms. You have to get out of the car and exert some effort and in the process you, of course, slow down and study the terrain. Your pace slows down. I can’t say the mind slows down because the unique desert world is highly stimulating. 

Every plant, the spacing of plants, the rock formations, the trees and cactus are highly contrasted to our home turf of the Pacific NW (Western Oregon). Finding the cactus and possibly finding them in bloom is part of the enjoyment. The colors, the varieties, and their locations are so rewarding. In the process, you feel the altitude, the wind, the sun and fresh air. You shake off the Winter doldrums.

Beavertail cactus-rocks-Barker Dam hike-SwittersB

cactu-prickly pear-desert-SwittersB-joshua tree
mound cactus-Mojave-flowers-SwittersB-desert
desert-beavertail cactus-bloom-flower-wildflower-Swittersb
Mojave Mound Cactus-Joshua Tree NP-Barker Dam Trail-SwittersB
It seems obligatory when discussing an outing into the desert to mention water, planning, route selection etc. Like in any outdoor adventure you truly must plan to some degree for safety and what if’s. Cell phone coverage inside the park was very spotty. So, be aware depending upon your age and fitness that you can slip, trip and fall. You can while focused on snapping images place yourself in harm’s way atop a rock, or moving too close to an edge.

What I notice ever more is, dare I say it, one’s age and degree of fitness plays in here. My mind thinks I’m much younger. But, as I move about the terrain I notice the lessened spring in the step…unsteadiness in the hips….misjudging the strength to hop from here to there. So, if you never did embark upon that New Year’s resolution to work out, or you have a physical limitation or two, be careful.

Although a ‘park’ it is the desert and all that entails. Don’t drive down roads or terrain your rental car was not designed to take on (I did this near Salvation Mountain and promptly got momentarily stuck with no one around). If you are doing a drive through the park with a few side hikes and short jaunts into the desert terrain you should be safe planning wise….but still watch your steps and slow down. Definitely have a map or two!

14 Responses to “Chasing Cactus Blooms & Safety”

  1. 1 JD
    April 23, 2015 at 18:24

    The pictures of all the cactus flowers are stunning !!! Don’t see much of that type of plant in PA!


    • April 23, 2015 at 21:22

      Nor Oregon! I guess that’s why my touch of OCD in displaying so many images….just so darn unique. thanks for commenting.


      • 3 JD
        April 24, 2015 at 07:32

        I linked over to your site from Carrie Hilbert. I love how people express their artistic-ness!I wish I had that.


        • April 24, 2015 at 09:10

          Well, you may well find that impulse while visiting others for sure. I visit many different ‘artisitc’ styles and marvel at their imagination, creativity, writing skills, poetic skills, on and on. If you have hobbies, interests, pastimes, obsession…you may have that creative outlet(s). In the meantime, just enjoy others and let them enjoy you. Have a nice weekend.


  2. April 23, 2015 at 08:54

    Every thing you said in this post about age, where you drive, safety, water, etc. is so true. I have spent years with my husband exploring the deserts of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Texas. Through all those adventures we learned what to do and what not to do. Many people do not realize the beauty the desert holds. Nice post and very good photos. I know you are enjoying your trip.


  3. April 22, 2015 at 14:46

    Thank you! I love cactus-incredible plants! Photo from habitat s make me fly )


  4. April 22, 2015 at 09:07

    Sound advice Switters. I once stopped just short of walking off a cliff whilst photographing hang gliders


  5. April 22, 2015 at 08:49

    so beautiful… cactus flowers… Reminded me the film too 🙂 Thank you, love, nia


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