Roadside Dis-tractions

Visit Date: April 10, 2016 - A Rainy day in JTree

The skies were cloudy and rain was falling in some parts of the park, so I wasn't feeling like doing much hiking. I decided to drive from the west entrance to Cottonwood Springs to see what I could find along the way. It was a couple weeks past the peak wildflower bloom, but I thought I might be able to spot some color out in the gloom. And you never know what else you might find just a bit off the road. Here's some photos of what I saw during the day, in no particular order.

The tightrope at Hall of Horrors. 

I think this is a Claret Cup Cactus

A large Cholla. Don't let those bits and pieces on the ground fool you, they are waiting for a chance to grab onto anyone or anything that gets too close.

Most of the Mojave Yucca had already bloomed several weeks earlier, but I found these two willing to pose for a picture.

Sliced bread. This rock wasn't right near the road, but just a short distance away.

This Ocotillo still had a good number of flowers. Sometimes I'll refer to this plant with its botanical name, Fouquieria splendens, when I'm feeling full of beans.

Smoke Trees, in Smoke Tree Wash.

Doesn't this picture make you just want to hike out to those rocks? I did.

The MBC (Mylar Balloon Count) for the day was one.

Sometimes a ten minute walk from the road turns up amazing finds.

Yellow flowers on a Creosote bush.

Desert Mistletoe. This is one of the largest such hemiparasitic plants I've seen in the park. Mistletoe is a leafless plant that attaches itself to a host plant and then takes moisture and minerals from its host to survive.

A Silver Cholla with one bloom open.

Jimson Weed. I usually see these most often along the sides of the highway. They like disturbed ground and I imagine the runoff that occurs along the sides of the road after a rain supply these guys with plenty of water. They have a very pretty flower.

Hairy Sand Verbena. These are tiny flowers that grow pretty close to the ground.

Almost all of the images in this post were taken either right alongside Park Blvd./Pinto Basin Road or within a few minutes walk of the highway. That's why I call them Roadside Dis-tractions. You're driving along and all of a sudden there's this blaze of color, or an amazing rock formation or something totally unexpected that distracts your eyes from the road. If you're driving carefully, you can usually find a safe spot to stop your car, get out, take a picture or explore a little bit. Just make sure you don't wander too far away. Getting lost in the desert is not a good thing.

As it turned out, the gloomy day in JTree wasn't so gloomy afterall. Most of these pictures were taken in the Pinto Basin area, where there seemed to be quite a few different wildflowers still in bloom (at least 22 different just in this post). There's a lot to see and do in the southeastern part of JTree, even on a rainy day.

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