One of the coolest features about the world is the way life not only they many and varied ways it develops, but also how it can explode into existence where you would think it simply doesn’t belong.
Take for instance the desert flower, a lovely creation that strains against all logic to exist in the most difficult of circumstances. Diabolical heat, eternally long periods with no nourishment, brittle and porous soil all conspire against one of the most delicate forms of beauty known to the very world that seems to work so hard against the very forces that battle it’s birth.
Did you know that some seeds in the desert can lay dormant for up to 100 years before they sprout? Think about this fact for a moment. Life can lie underneath the surface for a century, just brimming with expectation for the right conditions to materialize in order to spring into action and become a singular and spectacular manifestation of splendor.
Imagine what it feels like to stand in the middle of 1,000,000 examples of this very phenomenon, creation bursting at the seems as far as the eye can see, all happening at the same time in the same place due to conditions not seen in over ten years.
Close your eyes and envision swimming in a sea of floral magnificence amongst very unexpected surroundings. Breath in the faint, yet discernable scent of a gazillion flowers in bloom, feel the gentle cooling breeze on your skin after it has sauntered across vast open spaces, tune your senses into the tranquility of the desert and the stalwart presence of the mountains in the background.
Nature is often spell bounding in her resolute desire to show us all amazing things can happen in the seemingly strangest of places.
The deserts of southern California erupted in color last weekend as a carpet of purple sand verbena, white dune evening primroses, orange poppies and other wildflowers emerged in a super bloom that one park ranger called in the local newspaper “Flower-Geddon!”
The bloom is still going strong in the Borrego Valley and adjacent canyons, located about two hours drive northeast of San Diego. With 92 different plant families, 346 genera and hundreds of flowering species, there is quite the variety of flora to discover!
“This kind of huge bloom happens maybe once a decade,” says Jim Dice, research manager at the Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center who hasn’t seen so spectacular a bloom since 2005.
After years of drought, the record rains of the past few months have set the stage for an incredible wildflower bloom across Southern California. Spring made an exuberant entrance after an unusually wet winter and consistent rainfall through 2016 ended a five-year drought. Much of Southern California teems with flowers, but the 630,000-acre Anza-Borrego State Park stands out for the variety and magnificence on display.
The nearby community of Borrego Springs more than doubled in size as 5,000 people poured into the area on Saturday, an influx that filled motels, prompted the sheriff to close miles of road, and sparked a fistfight over a pork Cubano sandwich due to lack of adequate food preparation by the local establishments.
One would think they would be all Zen-ed out after sitting in a rainbow strewn field of serenity no?
Coyote Canyon is full of color, with expansive fields covered in orange desert sunflowers, dune evening primrose, verbena, California lupines, white desert lilies and other annuals. The “Ocotillo Forest”, south of Tilting T along Borrego Springs Road, has many hundreds of ocotillo just days away from full bloom.
Beavertail cacti, with bright fuchsia colored flowers, are blooming in many locations around the Borrego Valley, along with bright yellow fields of desert dandelions. On the southwest side of the Borrego Valley is a great short hike to Glorieta Canyon, now completely immersed in a bright yellow bloom of Brittlebush.
Every once and awhile something truly unique happens. And if you are lucky, it takes place relatively close to your home. All it takes is a little research and some get off the couch motivation.
Spending a day on a blanket in the middle of the desert ensconced in an ocean of floral exquisiteness while lying on a blanket with a beer in my hand and the love of my life by my side is the best example I can give of the above-mentioned concept delivering splendid results.
The price of admission was free, the day of tranquility was priceless and the feelings we experienced can’t be bought.
In it’s unyielding yearning to bring forth new spectacles life gave my girl and I an afternoon of moments we won’t soon forget. Since beauty, life and sweet smells were in the air, we decided a gesture of love was appropriate to earmark the occasion. Thus our ‘dip and kiss’ pose.
You got to not only go with the flow, but seize the moment?
Like I said, the coolest things can happen in the most surprising places if you go looking, sometimes just two hours from your own home…
For help finding the blooms in southern California during the springtime, check out the park’s wildflower updates page.