Thursday, July 29, 2010

Suburban Off-Road

While exploring the other day around Lake Amistad, looking for the "perfect" swimming spot, we drove past a gorgeous piece of land. Well, truly, it looked just like mile after mile of other land we had already passed but for some reason we stopped here.

Just look at that sky!

After x amount of time, I was able to draw my attention down from the clouds to the ground cover all around me.

Looking down is a good thing while walking around in the desert. There are a LOT of things to poke, pinch, sting, or bite you around here.

The prickly pear cactus are in fruit. The reddish purple fruits are called "tuna" and are edible, as are the thick green pads called nopales. The pads are a vegetable with an asparagus/green bean flavor (so I hear), and are covered with one inch long spikes of torture.

The tuna do not have the long spikes but are covered with little circles of hair-like protrusions called glochids. They don't look very intimidating, but just be warned; the glochids have barbed ends and will stick in your skin like nobodies business. Good luck getting them out. I've had one stuck on one of my toes for a week now.

Also in this beautiful area were patches of these brilliant wild lantana. At least they look like lantana to me. The butterflies sure seem to like them, whatever they are.

Again, please look down when you're walking around the desert. And do wear sneakers instead of flip flops or sandals. And pants instead of shorts.

Wait, who is that woman? I haven't seen her before!?

Oh, yeah. That's me!!! (I don't get much in-front-of-the-camera time. I don't mind. But if you see a strange too blond woman in any photo it may just be me!)

As you can see, I was the only one wearing sneakers. None of us were wearing pants, and poor Phoebe was poking around the desert in her Pull-ups!

To say the least we had not anticipated our impromptu nature hike or else we would have dressed more appropriately.I really hope that's a bone from a deers leg Paige is holding.

We live dangerously, no?

I'll leave you with this photo. Maybe it's not much, but I love this shot. The purple prickly pear fruit, the silver/green leaves of the sage, the purple flowers of the sage, and the pop of yellow on the teeny tiny wildflowers in the corner. This photo is a great example of the hidden beauty and color of the desert.

Compare this last photo with the first. See how you can't see much color when looking way out in the distance in the desert? But look down and you find color after color after amazing color.

Welcome to my desert!