It turned out that we had been very fortunate with the weather – yesterday may have been overcast, but today’s rain was heavy, looked to have settled in for the day and was falling as snow at higher altitudes where we had been on Saturday. So today became a driving day, eating miles on main roads and freeways.
By around 2 p.m. we had passed Fresno and were beginning to see Yucca brevifolia, the Joshua Tree and although we knew that we were going to see more and better samples, we needed to stretch our legs and I needed to gently exercise my ceased up back.(S1266). A short walk into the desert did not reveal any more plants of interest.
S1267 was a brief stop due to Cylindropuntia bigelowii appearing on the scene
Our target for the day was to see a plant recommended by Rob Skillin (S1268) of a Sclerocactus polyancistrus that he called ‘Blondie’, but that can be found on the internet under the name of ssp albispinus. The directions took us off the main road onto a dirt track called Motorcross road, so you can imagine the type of surface we were on. We then made another turning on a narrower track of equal motorcross quality – great for bad backs! The GPS told us that we had arrived and disbelieving we looked out of the window and there it was, right along the side of the road. A beautiful plant with massive long silvery spines. We found a spot to tuck the car away off the track and walked (in the rain) up the hillside, finding more plants of different ages, including a young seedling, about 2.5 inch pot size. Cliff also spotted the only Opuntia basilaris of the day, var. treleasei is reported from Kern Co., which is where we were, so that will go onto my metadata as the ID. And there was another Cylindropuntia, but looking half dead, so I can’t be sure what sp. it is.
A great day with a welcome return of cacti in front of the lens!
We made it to Barstow where we found a Motel 6 to launch us to Death Valley / Kingston Peak area.