Crested Saguaro Society

Crest Quest Reports

April 15 - 22, 2022 Joshua Tree National Park

Report by Joe Orman


In every walk with nature
one receives far more than he seeks.
                    John Muir

Again, I travel. Again, I walk with nature. Again, I seek.

I began this week-long trip in search of a small top-crested saguaro in far western Arizona that had eluded me on a previous trip. This time I found it, but unfortunately I was too late the crest had broken off:

Photo of crest on the ground:

After camping nearby, I finished the long drive to Southern California's Joshua Tree National Park. Over the next few days, I would stay in two different campgrounds in the park, the first being Black Rock Campground. After setting up my tent, I drove the dirt roads into Covington Flats, an area known having the park's largest Joshua trees:

On a nature trail next to the campground, I made a rare sighting a large desert tortoise:

On the outskirts of the nearby town of Yucca Valley, I found several specimens of crested pencil cholla cactus (Opuntia ramosissima):

Here in the high desert, it was the peak time for cactus flowers. Hedgehog cactus:

On the cross-country hike to the summit of Malpais Hill (seen in the right background of this photo), I passed this imposing balanced rock:

The slopes of the hill had the densest concentration of blooming cactus I'd ever seen. Hedgehog cactus:

... and prickly pear cactus:

After a couple of days I moved my camp to Indian Cove Campground, which would be my base camp for the final four nights of my trip. My days were filled with hiking, a different trail and across the Joshua tree flats and among the boulder formations each day. Along one of the trails near the campground, I found several more specimens of crested pencil cholla:

A couple of other wildlife sightings along the trails. A horned lizard:

... and a chuckwalla lizard:

On my last day in the park, I made the long, remote hike to this well-preserved prospector's cabin which had been built circa 1940 between two large boulders:

Hiking back from the cabin, I was startled when this rattlesnake started rattling only a foot or two off the trail why hadn't I seen it on the hike in?

As always, I turn homeward. As always, I have sought. As always, I have received far more.

Back to Crested Saguaro Society Crest Quest Reports page.

Revised: November 17, 2022