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ZION NATIONAL PARK UTAH This image was made during the fall of 2015 in SW Utah. It was one of three parks that we visited on this tri...

Monday, June 13, 2011

SPRING BLOOMER, Cactus, West Slope Colorado

You don't have to go very far in this part of the country to find a prickly pear cactus, and because the wind was still blowing hard along the western slope, I decided to give myself an assignment which I used to give to students back east.

We have about two and a half acres which overlook the town of Montrose and the San Juans in the background, and most all of that land is arid desert. My self-imposed assignment this morning was to step out back and return with a presentable image of a flower. Actually, I did a little better than that, and I ended up with a nice clump with several flowers. I could have gone in much tighter, but the reds were so brilliant today that I elected to feature several in one frame along with the leaves and stickers.

You must watch your step up here along the bluff because if you don't have on a tough pair of hiking boots, you might end up with more than one thorn through the bottom of your boot. And many of the plants up here have thorns like fish hooks and the barbs do not come out easily. The pesky tumble weed is one of the worst, because it has small stickers all over it, and they thrive on this hill. They might have great visual appeal when viewed in western movies, but in reality, they are nasty plants that can get into everything.

I was driving back from New Mexico one windy day and just south of Denver on busy I-25, I spotted a large tumble weed heading across the desert toward me, and I was in heavy traffic and unable to slow down. I figured I would just run over the darn thing if it had me in it's sights, and that would be the end of the matter. Nope, that thing was every bit of three feet in diameter and it hit the front of my truck and was instantly dragged under the vehicle. I dragged it all the way through Denver and well on the way north toward Fort Collins before I found a good rest stop to pull off and pull the remains of it out. I could hear it dragging all the way up the Interstate. No damage to the truck, but it might have pulled something apart under a small car. They are a lot tougher than most people might think.

To view a larger image, left click on the above.

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