A flash of red caught my eye and I asked Mike to pull over (I seemed to be yelling at him to stop all weekend. Thanks, Mike). There was a clump of claret cup cactus in bloom along a bend in the road. I think it was a little early for cactus blooms, but was glad to have the opportunity to see my favorite cactus flowers. One look at the shape and color of the blossoms makes it clear why these plants are named after a glass of wine.

A lot of people see the desert as barren and consider cactus proof of that. I believe that there’s not much more beautiful than a cactus blossom and always get a thrill when I see some. The desert isn’t barren. Edward Abbey pointed out an important fact. Like all land on the planet, the desert produces at its full capacity. It might be that the capacity is diminished or that the plants have had to adapt to extremes in temperature and dryness, but the desert still produces and produces beauty.

Here’s the claret cup (click for full size and proper color):

 

Claret Cup Cactus

Claret Cup Cactus

 

And here’s a little pine tree doing its best to succeed in a challenging place. Trees in the desert really struggle to survive and the junipers and pines that grow in this region really work hard to be there. I like that in a tree.

 

Lone Pine, Capitol Reef NP

Lone Pine, Capitol Reef NP

 

More to follow,

Bob