Nature - Kaz Canning
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Cholla Garden

Cholla Garden

This photo is by far my most memorable, but not for any obvious reason. There is a patch of these Cholla Cactus in Joshua Tree National Park, it stretches for hundreds of yards in every direction. For these cacti to spread, they actually drop pieces of themselves on the ground, leaving the entire place littered with small spiky cactus balls. When an animal walks by or steps on one, their sharp points stab into their victims and microscopic barbs make it incredibly difficult to remove them from the body.

Clearly, it was very easy to make this area become a painful experience, so I treaded lightly and stayed a safe distance from any cactus I saw. With the cactus constantly shedding pieces of themselves on the ground, I was constantly stepping on cactus laying on the ground. My calculated steps between the cactus pieces took back seat when I saw a Horned Lizard near a cactus. I chased it around for a few seconds to try to get a closer look at it, and before I knew it, a sharp pain shot up my right leg. Three large pieces of cactus had ebedded themselves on the lower part of my leg, stabbing deep into my Achilles tendon. Because the spikes are all over the cactus, it was impossible to pull them out by hand, so a small stick was used to pry them out one by one. After pulling out over 50 needles from my leg, I was drained but I was able to take this photo only seconds before the sun went down. While I was incredibly amounts of pain while taking this photo, it did make it more memorable for me. And I did catch the lizard, so it was worth it!

Landscapephotographysan diegosan diego photographersan diego artsan diego art photographycalifornia artcalifornia photographykazcanningkaz canningkazcanningchollacholla cactusjoshua treejoshua tree national parksunset