The afternoon that we arrived at Joshua Tree National Park, we drove in at the south entrance through the Pinto Basin between the Hexie (south) and Pinto (north) Mountains, nearly 20 miles to our campsite. There in the Pinto Basin, the Cholla Cactus Garden resides.

The cholla cactus (also known as the “jumping cholla”) is a segmented, branching cactus with thousands of spines in a beautiful silvery-yellow hue. Their unique beauty pops out with backlighting of the afternoon sun. Well, as every rose has its thorns, every cholla has its barbs.

Warning signs mark the entrance to the quarter-mile path letting visitors know that they do not want to bump into these prickly beasts. The spines are covered with microscopic barbs which make removal from shoes, clothes and skin especially difficult. Pliers are often necessary. It was a trick to keep Trey safe along the rather narrow path. William however got to experience the sting after one spine became embedded in his finger.

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