O Desert! My Desert! (Anza Borrego & Joshua Tree)

The California desert is one of my favorite places in the world. It is an exquisite, stark, minutely-lush, harsh landscape, and I feel instantly at peace when I am there.

A week and a half ago, I was wistfully thinking: ah, it’s the very end of wildflower season now in the desert, and I haven’t been back there in years… and, after a bit of logistical back-and-forth, Ali and I decided that—why not?—we could gallop down there for a few days. And, three days later, with a car full of food and books, we headed to the desert.

We spent two days in Anza Borrego Desert State Park, then meandered up to Joshua Tree National Park and spent a day there too.

In Anza Borrego, we did two fine hikes: a beautiful (albeit hot) canyon walk to one of the park’s finest palm oases, and a fascinating hike through a higher-elevation transitional zone (half-desert, half-chaparral) where there were still wildflowers in abundance. In Joshua Tree, we walked through a conifer-lined rocky canyon where cattle rustlers used to hide their illicit cow-loot. In both areas, we explored: scaling rocks, admiring spiky cacti and ocotillo, spotting tiny isolated wildflowers, and basking in the heat. It was all wonderful.


I missed you so much, desert. Here are my photos:

(Click here to view the photo album directly.)


Hikes with names:

  • Borrego Palm Canyon Trail (Anza Borrego)
  • California Riding and Hiking Trail, above Culp Valley (Anza Borrego)
  • Hidden Valley Trail (Joshua Tree)


One thought on “O Desert! My Desert! (Anza Borrego & Joshua Tree)

  1. O’, I am so envious that you got to go there. The last few weeks I’ve been daydreaming of making my own escape down there, but I didn’t get it together. So glad it was a successful, albeit brief, visit.

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