Although most of the cacti are still in bud, more and more plants are blooming now, so I thought it would be fun to take a hike "outback", rather than doing our usual Sunday Stronghold hike. The weather is high-overcast, which is great when you walk where there is not a lot of shade.
Some of the blooms are tiny and unobtrusive, others shout it out, like this hedgehog cactus in our yard. But most spectacular are the banana yuccas right now, and there are so many in bloom right now.
We walked the path that we have made ourselves over the years, mostly on horseback, and now being on foot, we were able to move more rocks to smooth the path so we can ask the horses to pick up the speed without having to worry about them twisting an ankle or a knee. Dan, already having been stung once this year when he picked up a rock, was smart enough to see this little scorpion in a moist creek bottom.
One of my objectives was to get a good picture of an ocotillo bloom, as requested by Webb, and although not all the blooms are out, this one is a good representation. I took this on Ocotillo Hill (at least, that's what we call it), where we took a break. I was surprised to see the Indian Paintbrush already blooming too.
On our way back, and within a mile of home, we came upon this Gila monster. This was our first sighting; it made for a special ending to a gorgeous morning in the desert.