• Claret Cup cactus flower

    "Silently a flower blooms, in silence it falls away. Yet here now, at this moment, at this place, the world of the flower, the whole of the world is blooming." - Zenkei Shibayam

  • Lupines and Poppies in Cottonwood Wash

    "When bright flowers bloom, parchment crumbles, my words fade, the pen has dropped ..." -  Morpheus

  • Mojave Yucca silhouette at sunrise

    "There is a desert I long to be walking.  A wide emptiness, peace beyond any understanding of it." - Rumi

  • Desert Five Spot in Death Valley National Park

    "Who would have thought it possible that a tiny little flower could preoccupy a person so completely that there simply wasn't room for any other thought."  -  Sophie Scholl

  • Hairy Desert Sunflower in southern Death Valley

    "From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity." - Edvard Munch

  • Fremont Phacelia in Pioneertown, CA

    "To create a little flower is the labor of ages." -  William Blake

  • Desert Mariposa Lily in Joshua Tree National Park

    "There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anaïs Nin  

  • Desert Sand Verbena in the morning rain

    "Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed."  - Walt Whitman

  • Brittlebush on Mission Creek road

    "None can have a healthy love for flowers unless he loves the wild ones."  -  Forbes Watson

     

  • Desert Lily in Anza Borrego Desert State Park

    "Lone and erect, beneath light's primal flood, A lily!  and pure as any one of you." -  Mallarmé

  • Delicate Sandblossoms at Red Rock Canyon State Park, CA

    "In the hope of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet."  -  Albert Schweitzer 

  • Poppies and Smoke Trees in the Sonoran desert

    "For myself I hold no preferences among flowers, so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous." - Edward Abbey

  • Desert Star in the eastern Mojave

    "Are not flowers the stars of the earth, and are not our stars the flowers of the heavens?" - A.J. Balfour

Desert News & Features

Desert Wildflower Report-3-15-2017, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Hairy Desert Sunflower explosion in Anza Borrego
Hairy Desert Sunflowers covering the landscape along Henderson Canyon Rd
Dune Primrose in Borrego Springs

The bloom in Anza Borrego was one I could not miss. National news reports were spreading far a wide about the spectacle, and it lived up to the hype. It was wall-to-wall blooms along Henderson Canyon Rd! Most obvious was the Hairy Desert Sunflower but Dune Primrose and Desert Sand Verbena made a good showing as well. This area was at peak bloom as I had never seen it before. A few caterpillars made an appearance and it won't be long before they have chomped many of these plants. We visited nearby Rockhouse Canyon Rd.

Desert Wildflower Report-3-15-2017, Cactus City

Beavertail cactus and Parish's Poppy near Cactus City
Parish's Poppy and Ocotillo near Interstate 10 east of Indio
Rock Hibiscus with bee east of Indio

The dirt road along the Colorado River Aqueduct near Cactus City was a new area for me, and I figured out quickly why it was called Cactus City. It is densely populated with Beavertail Cactus Teddy Bear Cholla and California Barrels in very rough deposits of talus. The Beavertail were all in bloom, bright pink splotches of color everywhere. Most of the hillside was covered with Parish's Poppy, lending a yellow swath of color as a backdrop for the pink. Rock Hibiscus was sprawling among the large rocks along with Rock Daisy. Rush Milkweed also grew along the road.

Wildflower Travelogue

Southward We Go

Mojave Trails National Monument encompasses 1.6 million acres of land in the Mojave Desert. There are countless dirt roads running through it that I had not explored, and the one leading to our campsite on the north side of the Sheephole Mountains was one of them. The vegetation was typical Creosote Bush scrub, lovely in their relative uniformity and providing a swath of olive green across the landscape. A dirt road ran off to the north in a completely straight line, perhaps 20 miles or more.

View of Mojave Trails National Monument
Desert Lavender in bloom
Ammunition shells left in the desert after target practice
Spanish Needle in Sheephole Valley Wilderness

Matter Out of Place

Morning at the edge of Highway 127 couldn't come quickly enough for me. My eyes flew open at first light and I got myself outside to get a daylight view of the flowers. The previous evening's LED flashlight revealed the species but none of the delicacy of colors or textures. I scouted around while the Catman continued to rest. We were parked at the Dumont Dunes OHV area as it was easier than venturing down Harry Wade Rd. in the dark.

Tamarisk trees at Salt Creek near Death Valley
Salt Creek Area of Critical Environmental Concern
Pencil Cholla near Kelso Dunes
Granite Mountains with beautiful vegetation

Escape from Snow to Sand

Monday, February 21st was a crazy weather day in northern California. We traveled to Lake Tahoe for a night of fun on the 20th to a mix of rain and snow. By the morning of the 21st, there was six inches of snow on the ground and it was still falling. There were avalanche warnings in the area nearby and we wanted out. The climb over Brockway Summit was somewhat treacherous.

Major snowstorm at Lake Tahoe
Walker Lake, NV
Main street, Tonopah, NV
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