Plants don’t get a lot of respect from most people. Perhaps because they aren’t quite as cute and fuzzy as baby animals.
The jumping cholla cactus, or teddy bear cactus, is one of those exceptions. It’s a plant you desperately want to touch, if it weren’t for those durned thorns. It grows in a huge patch in the middle of Joshua Tree National Park, and we were smart enough to visit.
Surreal is the best word for the cactus patch. The park in and of itself is a bit freaky (in a good way), and then, when you’re surrounded by cacti that look like they could suddenly come to life and start walking and talking, you thank yourself for coming to a national park and getting far away from strip malls, televisions, bars and other humanly diversions. Nothing quite compares.