Friday, January 6, 2017

El Paso: Goat Heads!


Goat heads, Concordia Cemetery, El Paso, Texas. October 2016.

October 2016


I first learned about the botanical scourge known as goat heads when I lived in Alamogordo back in 2012/2013.  Some lurid descriptions:

Like this one

You've dealt with prickers before. You've dealt with burrs before. You've never dealt with anything like goatheads before. These things are vicious. They go through heavy duty tires with kevlar tube liners like they aren't even there. And you simply cannot avoid them. They're everywhere, and they're attracted to shoes, bicycle tires, and exposed flesh as though magnetized!

Or this one: "... the most evil plant that has ever existed ... "

Or this one: "...They seem like a few stray, ground-hugging weeds overgrowing the middle of the trail. Nothing to worry about you think! You've jumped stumps higher than your helmet. You've descended rock-strewn cliffs that would scare a mountain goat. You are not afraid of mere weeds! You will be."

I never actually met a goat head while I lived in New Mexico, but the descriptions of these tiny dried plantoids were scary, indeed.


Goat heads, Concordia Cemetery, El Paso, Texas. October 2016.


I never actually met a goat head until ..... I visited El Paso's Concordia Cemetery for the Dia de los Muertos festival.


My first introduction was a piercing little stab in the bottom of my foot. Pointy grain of sand got into my shoe? Noooo. When I removed my shoe, shook it out, and put it back on my foot, the little stab returned. Took the shoe off, turned it over to look at the sole, and there they were.

Goat heads, Concordia Cemetery, El Paso, Texas. October 2016.


Goat heads, Concordia Cemetery, El Paso, Texas. October 2016.


Goat heads, Concordia Cemetery, El Paso, Texas. October 2016.


Miraculously, only one tiny spear had worked its way through my sole, but all its friends were just waiting their turn to weasel in for a kill.

Goat heads, Concordia Cemetery, El Paso, Texas. October 2016.

Utterly fascinating, in a macabre sort of way.


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