desert flowers

From a 4 wheeling adventure drive down to Anza Borrego State Park in Mid March 2009:

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Apparently they are not allowed to work us more then 14 days in a row, so we were given Sunday off this weekend. My friend Dennis had heard on NPR that the flowers were in bloom down in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park, Southeast of Los Angeles, and just west of the Salton Sea. This is a huge desert park, the largest State Park in California, and goes from mountains to desert basins. Its part of the Sonoran Desert which supposedly has the most biodiversity of any desert in the world.

Anyhow, the warmer temperatures of late, combined with just the right amount of rain have brought out the wildflowers, Spectacle Pods, Brown Eyed Primroses, Verbena, Dune evening primroses, Desert Lilies, Desert dandelions, Desert Sunflowers, and others. Personally I have no idea which is which, but I was happy to go and take some pictures.

This area is also a hotbed for 4 wheel driving in southern cal, and Dennis’ 1970 Chevy truck had not been out doing what it was made to do for some time so we decided to go and check  out some of the mountain trails they have in the park.

Unfortunately, the time changed on Sunday so I was up way earlier then I would have preferred, but nevertheless we were on the road soon after 8:00. We put our faith in the GPS to get us there since niether of us had been before, and it worked perfectly. Soon enough we were at the bottom of Oriflamme Canyon. Driving up to the base of the mountain we found a veritable cactus garden, so we stopped to take some pictures. Further up, before the driving got serious, we found a stream and stopped to check that out as well. Dennis had recently had the gearing redone on the truck so we popped into what we thought was 4-low and started grinding up the mountain. It didn’t seem to be geared low enough so Dennis was worried that they had screwed up the gear ratios, but we eventually figured out that he had shifted into 4-high instread. Once that was fixed we started climbing over the boulders easily. We finally made up to the top of the mountain and came on down the other side where we found some abandoned mines.

Next we decided to visit the parks main visitor center to see where the floers were. It is a beautiful building on a plain near the bas of the mountains and was well worth a visit. We found a map telling us where the flowers were and headed over. The flowers were fairly unimpressive from a distance, but when you got closer you realized just how thickly carpeted the desert floor was with the small blooms. We spent another hour or so looking around and taking pictures until the sun went behind the mountains, and then it as time to head on home.

All on all a wonderful day.

Anyhow, here are the resulting pictures.

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