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 for 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.
Revised: October 21, 2023