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.
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:
Hikes with names:
- Borrego Palm Canyon Trail (Anza Borrego)
- California Riding and Hiking Trail, above Culp Valley (Anza Borrego)
- Hidden Valley Trail (Joshua Tree)