The Great Sonoran Desert

From the great movie, Lawrence of Arabia:
Jackson Bentley: ‘What attracts you personally to the desert?’
T.E. Lawrence: ‘It’s clean.’

The first stop in this great journey of ours is part of the Great Western US Desert(s), and the very first of these the Anza Borrego State Park just 90 or so miles east of San Diego.

Now, to set the scene….

Imagine, if you will, a 55 million acre convection oven where all the plants are polite enough to have thorns,  snakes & various other hairy insects will happily hide until you’re right next to them, you’re (personally) a source of food for the vast majority of larger animals, and temperatures range from freezing at night to positively boiling during the day. Add-in a few 50mph sand-storms and you’ve just imagined the Great Western desert. It’s raw, it’s bleak, and it’s totally gorgeous. Most people stay away.

My kind of place!

 Our short 2-week stay in this sandy eden has already unraveled a remarkable number of advantages:

  1. Things dry reaaally quickly – should you take a shower in the local facilities, your entire body will be bone-dry by the time you’ve walked back to your vehicle.  Great for washing humans, clothes, kitchenware and dogs.
  2. You get to use your entire wardrobe – like a true fashion show you can start-off by wearing 4-layers of clothing in the pre-dawn light to stripping down to a T-shirt and shorts just a few hours later
  3. Country music – Nuff said. I mean, this stuff is truly classic..
  4. Siesta is a requirement – perfect sense really. You don’t want to be doing anything at mid-day, trust me.
  5. Sandblasting & cooking are free – just leave the required object outside and it will be done in a few hours.

On the other hand, you may need to deal with attacking cacti. In case you think I’m joking the most abundant cactus in the areas is the “jumping cholla” which got it’s name from throwing off little balls of cactus with stiff, penetrating needles. It may well be the only predatory plant in the world. The dog was attacked by one, as was I as I was kneeling down for the perfect shot.

But then…..

Once a year with a little rain and just the right amount of sun, the whole place bursts open in a cacophony of color. It’s flower season in Anza Borrego Desert and plants that have been hiding secrets for a whole year, let them out all at once. Enjoy the pics!

Entrance to Anza Borrego Park
Morning sun creeps across the desert
A gorgeous blue Phacelia
Paul & Polly pose by an ocotillo cactus in fiery bloom
Detail of the tiny Fiddlestick flower
Barrell Cactus
Brittlebush flowers salute the PM sun
View from Yaqui Pass
A buckthorn Cholla ripe with pollen
Low cloud hangs on the valley. That's a jumping Cholla in the foreground.
Polly surveys her domain
Tiny white flowers blanket the floor
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

  1. libertatemamo says

    Running across those hilltop ridges with Polly was one of the true highlights of our time in the desert. Paul

  2. libertatemamo says

    Hey Sam. So far, they are doing just fine. The days we drive off to the next location is a bit stressful for them but they are doing OK with it. Hopefully, it will get better with time. Hope you, Hamish, and the little one are doing well. Nina has a post in mind about the cats in the RV….coming soon…Paul

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