The desert is usually subtle. Many shades of brown often characterize the plants and animals that live there. Blending in is necessary for survival and adaptations for preserving water often mean staying small and skinny to prevent evaporation. But when there is abundant rain in the winter, the desert can be a bit showy. Super Bloom 2019 is underway!
We planned a desert hike for today, knowing that hiking would give us glimpses of the blooming desert while taking us away from more of the bloom tourists. We got up and left the house early…appreciating the beauty of the sunrise as we drove toward the east.
One of the perks of living in San Diego is that you can get to the ocean, mountains, and deserts in about two hours or less (if traffic cooperates). We arrived in Borrego Springs before 8am and easily found parking near the Hellhole Canyon trailhead.
Many of the flowers were still asleep, tightly closed against the cool of the night. As we walked, the desert slowly woke, stretching and unfolding in the gentle light of morning. Starting early meant having the desert mostly to ourselves, allowing the desert soundscape to fill our ears. The caw of a bird called my attention to the hillside where I spotted a mama big horned sheep and her baby. We watched and listened as they click clacked their way down the hillside. I definitely envy their surefootedness! A buzzing nearby had me turn my head where I spotted a beautiful tiny hummingbird sitting in a leafless tree. Painted lady butterflies played tag as they flitted from flower to flower to flower to flower. The trickle of water tinkled in the distance, growing to a burbling stream as we got closer to the oasis framed in native fan palms. The outcome of abundant winter rain was in full view as we finally got to the maidenhead falls where water poured from over our heads into the running streams below.
The desert is carpeted in wildflowers right now. Yellows and whites stand near purples and pinks. Splashes of red and brilliant white blossoms punctuate the view. Ocotillos are just started to bloom, along with the barrel cactus. The prickly pears will be ready in a couple of week, judging from the emerging buds.
The super bloom is just beginning and there is nothing like seeing the desert in its full color glory! As the temperatures gently rise, the blossoms will continue to emerge. If it doesn’t get too hot, the bloom may last through mid-April! Today’s hike was perfect: a just-right physical challenge as we gradually climbed, scrambling up rocks as we approached the falls, like the sheep we saw earlier. The weather was sunny, with coolish temperatures in the 60’s, and everywhere we looked, it was simply gorgeous! It was a perfect Saturday adventure.