They are called "Teddy Bear Cholla" or"Jumping Cholla" but don't be fooled by their cuddly appearance, they are the reincarnation of the devil himself. Balls of prickles fall off these plants and little the ground in all the places they shouldn't be. If you are unlucky enough (like me) you will accidental get one caught on your boot or pants leg while you are walking and get these little devils embedded in your skin. Yesterday while hiking I had the joy of getting a entire ball stuck in my right thumb. No less than ten needles were embedded in my poor nettled thumb and every time I tried to pull one out another get stuck in. These aren't just straight needles either. The end of the needle is curved slightly so it holds into your skin even better. I had to pull the needles out individually with a pair of pliers. Oh the joy of hiking in the desert. Yesterday we hiked
Up and over this mountain, down the other side and around the mountain. I believe it was about 9 miles of the hardest hiking I have ever done. My legs are so sore that I can barely walk today. From the picture it looks like there is a nice trail all the way, but we were actually hiking where they are planning to build the hiking trail up a mountain. In some spots the gravel was so slippery that we had to grab on to whatever none-prickly bush that was there and pull ourselves up. Every muscle in my body hurt when we finally made it back. I believe it gained over 1200 ft in elevation change. I hope I never have to do that hike again! The worst part is that on Monday I climbed this same mountain in the other direction twice (north-south, today's was west-east). So in the last two days I have climbed this three times. I am tired just thinking about it.