I took this picture just seconds before I took my fall on Sunday. Fortunately this cholla is not the cactus that I fell onto. This picture is smaller than lifesized and those spines are vicious! Even the dead and dried plants pose a threat because the whole branch will break off and stick you. It is difficult to remove as the spines all grow in different directions and while pulling one out you will inadvertently push another one in. Not to mention there is no safe spineless place to grasp the cactus for painless removal. Yes, this is experience speaking.
This prickly pear cactus is similar to the one I fell on. The large spines were painful and drew blood, but the hairlike spines that grow at their base were probably the worst. Many broke off just under my skin and are still embedded in my face. My foot improves daily. I have a bruise on my torso from when I fell onto my camera, I laugh every time I see it.
Best of all though, my lense appears to be okay now. I guess it just had a little dust embedded in it, but a good brushing has it focusing now without any problem. So, with my body and my camera all healed, I'm ready to set off again on another adventure... hopefully a painless one this time.