Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Desert in Bloom

One Prickly Pear Blossom with friend

When we scheduled our trip to Arches and Canyonlands we were thinking about the temperature and the fact that school was not out. Figured it would be warm enough to camp but not too hot to hike, and the vast majority of people we would encounter on weekdays would be adults.

What we had not considered was wildflowers and cacti. We were absolutely amazed at the variety of plants in bloom around us - or getting read to bloom like the prickly pear cactus. Of the fields and fields of budding Prickly Pear we found only one blossom.

One Prickly Pear Blossom

The Claret Cup Cactus was another matter all together. After we spotted the first flash of vivid dark red we saw them everywhere - even sandwiched between rocks.

Claret Cactus in the crack

Another star was the small barrel cacti with their lavender blooms. They seldom got more than a foot tall and 6" around but they largely grew in a solitary setting where they could make the most of their showy flowers.

So Lilac

The Yuccas were everywhere too and we watched them for days as their purple stalks gradually filled out and the white blossoms began to open.

Pair of Yucca

Up close Yucca blossoms

For more blooms in the desert see the following slide show.

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