We started with another Pediocactus stop – S2509 – and found P. simpsonii almost immediately. Coryphantha vivipara again tried to confuse us but we’re wise now to checking for the groove along the tubercle – even if this is on enlarged images on the laptop back in the Hotel, my eyes are not up to checking this detail in the field, unless I get down on my knees (on gravely soils) and pull the plants to bits. The Coryphantha tend to be larger and tend to clump more, but of course that does not solve the problem for young plants of Coryphantha compared to mature P. simpsonii. It helps when plants are in flower – a) we have not found any Coryphantha in flower yet and b) Pedio flowers seen to date are quite characteristic with rounded petals. Remnants of one nibbled-at Opuntia was the only other evidence of cacti presence.
From now on, the day was unashamedly tourist as Scenic Byway 12 through the Dixie National Forest first entered Red Rock (S2510 – no cacti) before we took the turning to Bryce Canyon National Park, an absolute ‘must see’. I arranged my images into three stops here (S2511 – Sunrise Point, S2512 – Bryce Point and S2513 – Bryce to Boulder,UT). Although it was a bright sunny day and we were walking around in T-shirts, there was still plenty of snow around. This was particularly welcome at Bryce Point where Angie and I walked 20 minutes down a track below the rim, to be amongst the hoodoos. The 40 minute up-hill walk was HOT and it was good to pick up a handful of snow occasionally to cool down – always aware of the Frank Zappa advice ‘ Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow’! All stops without a cactus in sight – we did look for them!
S2514 was another ‘no cactus’ stop as the road took us through hills covered in aspen – yet another aspect of this amazing scenic area.
Just one cactus stop today – must do better!