From a distance, the thick cactus needles shimmer in the light giving a halo effect and the illusion of softness. I’ve seen children go up and want to pet them, and even adults are tempted to check out the softness of the needles. I guess this why they are named “Teddybear Cholla”.
The appearance is deceptive. Rumor has it, and our experience confirms it, that these cacti send off their offspring (a small arm of the cactus) to attach to the unsuspecting passerby. They are known to literally jump off the mother cactus and hang on tight by embedding dozens of hooked needles into a person’s flesh, shoe, or camera bag. Nicknamed the “Jumping Cholla” by us locales, it is the most dangerous and most feared cactus in the desert.
We’ve had our share of encounters with these terrorizing cacti on local hikes and photos shoots. So why would we drive 400 miles to visit a most dangerous place – a whole garden of these cacti?
That is the million dollar question.
Remember, it’s all about the light and a little spice of danger.
Chollas are like the rose of the desert for me. Beautiful in the right light, but just plain deadly when you do not pay attention. I wear boots all day during the week and refuse to wear boots on the weekend. Went for a little shoot near Borrego Springs and my right foot, clad in only a running shoe, grazed the base and it was 45 minutes with a Leatherman Tool taking out the spikes and a miserable ride back to San Diego with my gas pedal foot aching in pain.
I am delighted to ” travel with you”. It is wonderful to follow your trips; to read your trip write-ups; and of course, to look at your fabulous photographs. For me, it is like I am right there with both of you.
Thanks for taking me along on your journeys! Kindly, Jane
It’s so good to hear from you. We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and keep us company 😉