Crested Saguaro Society

Crest Quest Reports


April 15 - 22, 2022 Joshua Tree National Park

Report by Joe Orman

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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):

crestedsaguarosociety.org/mutant/cholla/crest31.php

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:

crestedsaguarosociety.org/mutant/cholla/crest32.php

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