Saturday, August 9, 2014

Hiking in the Desert With Flowers

In April 2009, I did a very long hike down almost the entire length of the California Riding and Hiking Trail.  I've actually done the entire trail from north to south.  It's a nice trail with lots of interesting scenery and wildlife.  Here's what I wrote about back then.

In early April, 2009, I took a really long hike on the California Riding and Hiking trail which is located in the western part of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The area that I hiked is in what might be considered the "high desert" at about 3500 to 4000 feet in elevation. But, the trail actually starts in Borrego Valley at Hellhole Canyon and goes up and down in elevation until it reaches the Vallecito Mountain range.

While I was hiking there, I saw a large variety of tiny yellow flowers that I don't know the name of. I have included photos of it attached to this article as well as in my accompanying slideshow "Hiking the California Riding and Hiking Trail" already posted on Associated Content. Parts of the area were covered in yellow, especially at the higher elevations. There were also tiny white, pink, purple and blue flowers, too, but I didn't take pictures of them as they don't look too good when I photograph them.

The area that I chose to hike was hardly used and much of the trail was overgrown with plants and flowers. I regret that I had to step on many of them to make my way down the trail. But, this is a good sign that there was enough moisture this last season to have this many flowers. And, the flowers are very hardy and tough. Nothing much seems to phase them as long as you don't pull them out of the ground. One thing I did notice was that there seemed to hardly be any bees out pollinating them. That could have been due to the cold and windy weather that day.

From talking to people, I've noticed that many people really don't make any effort to see desert flowers. The best way to view them is by getting out of the car and actually hiking. So many of the flowers are extremely small and can't be seen by driving around. Also some flowers only grow in very specific places where the wind and water is just right. A few weeks before, I hiked an area where there were pretty much no flowers visible at all from the main road, but by hiking, one can spot several of many different colors and sizes.

If one can't handle hiking, many desert flowers can be seen near the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor's Center in Borrego Springs. There is a paved sidewalk and a lot of different species of flowers can be seen there during peak flower season. Flower season runs from about late January, peaking about mid-March to mid-April.
Here is the phone number to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park's Wildflower Hotline for updates:

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