Hello and welcome to the Cholla - (pronounced "choya") Garden at Joshua Tree National Park. This location is about 25 miles to the east-southeast of the areas we have previoulsy seen, but we are still inside the boundaries of the National Park which is huge! As you can see, the landscape is quite a bit different here. No huge rocks, to speak of. No large trees and, actually, no Joshua Trees right here. There are some Yucca but not many. When driving down here from the central part of the park, we drop in elevation by about 1,000 feet or more and in the process, we transition to the Colorado Desert. You may recall that I mentioned in an earlier post that Joshua Tree National Park actually rests upon the convergence of 2 deserts: The Colorado Desert, which is below 3,000 feet, and the Mojave Desert which is above 3,000 feet. You can see that broader expanses are more visible here, with mountain ranges in the distance. This may be a view that more of us are accustomed to seeing, but one of my goals in this series has been to display the true diversity that deserts have, I hope I have done that.
Now as for these marvelous plants, this particular variety of Cholla (Opuntia bigelovii)is also known as The "Jumping Cholla"..they get the name because pieces of the cactus break off while the spines hold onto you, as if they had jumped off the plant. Another name for this species is "Teddy-bear cholla," because its spines are so dense, it resembles fur. The stems turn black with age. Be very careful walking around these plants as the broken pieces that fall on the ground can stick to - and through - a soft soled shoe AND as noted above, the pieces can almost literally "jump" off the stems if brushed. All this being said, PLEASE do not let this deter you from visiting this marvelous area, especially at sunrise or sunset when the sun shining through the dense bristles presents a magical glow. This is an evening shot here, but I will post a few more images in the next two days for you to see more of the glow (I hope). And then, sadly, we will be leaving Joshua Tree National Park until the next time.
** Staples Singers - "Respect Yourself"
- " We do not move forward from a middle opinion, which is undemocratic but mediocratic.
We advance from a creative passion "- (Edgar Morin)
- "To photograph is to hold one's breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It's at
that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy."
- Henri Cartier-Bresson.
::Words from Denny:
- My beliefs, and values, have always been strongly tied-to music, especially Jazz, and Blues.
- The following artists and lyrics seem to "sum-up" where my spirit resides:
EARTH WIND AND FIRE;
"HOLD ON TO YOUR SPIRIT,
ALWAYS FEEL YOUR SOUL....
HONOR THE MAGIC IN YOUR HEART"; Earth Wind and Fire