Blades and Spines and Both

Back to South Dakota for today's post, where I took a little trek out into the prairie that was 30' (9m) from the RV door -- it would have been closer but they kept it mowed back a bit around the edge of the campground. At first glance, standing here you might say this was "just grasses":


Not a bad description, unless you decide to go for a little barefoot romp through those grasses. In that case, you're in for a surprise.

***


Quick -- what does this photo show?


Sure, grasses. Did you notice the cactus though?

There were a few different species of Opuntia mixed in with the grasses, which is exciting to me as a plant (and cactus) person, but also distressing as somebody who's trying to get low to the ground to photograph plants.

They were sometimes easy to see:


But more often then not you really had to pay attention...


(Two clumps of Opuntia hiding in this image!)

...especially if you decide to have a glass of wine while waiting for the sun to get a bit lower before taking photos.

I have to admit that I stepped on a couple of hidden pads -- but I was wearing proper footwear so no harm done to me. The plants seemed to take this fine too -- tough little guys!


Once I realized that I had to literally watch every step I took it went fine, and I was able to focus on the diversity and beauty around me.

Enjoy!





























And so ended our second day at Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Tomorrow morning we'd be leaving, and although we still have two long days of driving ahead of us, our trip is essentially over.

There was lots more to see in the morning though, as you'll soon find out!

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Gerhard Bock (Bamboo, Succulents and More)  – (October 12, 2013 at 11:15 AM)  

I love how beautiful grasses are when you take the time to really look. Those opuntias must have been a surprise!

scottweberpdx  – (October 12, 2013 at 11:19 AM)  

Beautiful photos...just love them!

Lisa  – (October 13, 2013 at 8:15 AM)  

Close up views are always rewarding! What a world we live in!

Maywyn Studio  – (October 13, 2013 at 9:06 AM)  

Ouch. What a thought cactus tucked away in a meadow. I'd never expect that. Nice photographs.

Alan  – (October 13, 2013 at 8:30 PM)  

I wish I would have taken a survey on how dense the Opuntia patches were. It seems to me that there was one every 10 feet or so, possibly less. Lots of cactus, hidden!

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