When you mix a good amount of rain with lots of sunshine and the right level of humidity, you end up with blankets of colorful wildflowers spread across the Anza Borrego Desert, which sits northeast of the California Historical landmark and mountain town of Julian.
For years I have wanted to see these spring wildflowers but could never interest anyone to see them with me. Until two days ago. I nonchalantly mentioned to Gerry that "the desert flowers are peaking and now is the time to see them." Someone had posted on social media a couple of photos of the wildflowers and I thought, "wow, I have to see them now." I was surprised Gerry was agreeable! He thought maybe we should pack for an overnight stay since we didn't know how long we'd be out in the desert. And he thought maybe we could spend some time in Julian, too. Should we stay the night in Borrego Springs, or perhaps Julian? We really didn't have a plan other than to see the wildflowers. We would just see how the day played out, then decide what to do.
|Photo credit: Don Bartletti|
There were so many options for hiking and flower-gazing. We chose to skip the hikes this time around and opted to explore the wildflowers along Henderson Canyon Road, which is a very long road. My goal was to find the glorious lupines but they were not to be found. It turns out we didn't
drive to the far, far end of the road. Next time I'll find the lupines. They're one of my favorite flowers, as are the sunflowers.
We did find beautiful specimens like the desert lilies the dune sunflowers, and many others including a variety of succulents and cacti.
You will not find all of the structures in one area. These photos are just a few spread along Borrego Springs Road. The remaining structures are spread throughout this desert area. If you plan to visit as many of these structures as you can, after viewing the wildflowers, be prepared with sunscreen, head protection, your most comfortable shoes and lots of water and snacks. Wearing layered clothing is best as the temperatures are extreme. Very hot during the day and very cool in the morning and going into the evening. There's a full moon right now. If you're able to hang around the desert area, you will be treated a special show of moonlight shimmers upon the desert landscape.
The wildflowers are plentiful right now, and so perky and bright. But with so many people descending upon the desert, the smallest flowers are being stepped on unintentionally. Here are some tips to consider before making your trip to the Anza-Borrego State Park:
* Desert annuals show best in mid-March.
* Most visitors approach the state park from the east via Highways S22, S2 or 78. Visitors from San Diego approaching via Highways 79 or 78 have the added pleasure of driving through the mountainous Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. When the highway breaks away from high-country vegetation and you crest over the hill, you are treated to a spectacular view of the great bowl of Anza-Borrego desert.
* If you are allergic to pollen, be sure to take antihistimine. Pollen is everywhere. We came home with yellow pollen all over our shoes.
* Plan your visit for a weekday morning as parking areas on the weekends are full by mid-morning.
* There are lots of restaurants and affordable lodging nearby.
* Bring binoculars for spotting wildlife.
* Call the State Park Wildflower Hotline to get updates on the wildflowers at (760) 767-4684.
* For more information about the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, click here.