April 1, 2017

The seemingly endless continuity of rain storms splashing down upon an already waterlogged California brought more than just much needed water. With the welcomed return of the famous west coast sunshine bloomed a great wonderful desert of wildflowers. In fact, the news spread far and wide, and even to the front page of the New York Times, and soon enough the crowds swarmed the small desert community and Facebook flooded with even more selfies.

I've long known that the desert would bloom every spring, and yet I had only ever hiked during the winter and much less intelligently during the summer. This year's overly superb abundance of flowers was just the motivation I needed to make a first spring trip.

Once beyond the limits of the greater metropolis, the morning was silent and even darker than the night. Fewer and fewer cars emerged from dusty lanes and frozen fields and soon it was just the fence posts and white street lines to lead the way. Gradated light peered over the mountains and through the fog bringing context to the still surroundings. I remembered the road; there were just a few more turns and curves around rocky bends before the pass would expand into a desert.

For those of you not yet acquainted with Borrego Springs, it is a small quaint community of a bank, hotel, grocery store, a few local businesses, farmland and houses bordered by the much larger Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. With the recent and successful advertising, the town seemed temporarily burgeoned with popup tents of opportunistic sellers. I was excited, and couldn't wait to get outside and start the search for some picturesque landscapes. And somehow, unsurprisingly enough, I hopped out of the car and found myself looking for birds.

Warbling vireos, white-winged doves, white-crowned sparrows, black-throated gray warblers, orange-crowned warblers and so many more birds gathered by the flowering plants and small oases as I attempt to photograph in the absence of my actual photography equipment; at least I can add a few more birds to the list.

More importantly, I saw flowers! Everything seemed to have some sort of flower: the cacti, other cacti, random shrubs and ground cover. Unlike for birds, this ambiguity simply illustrates a current lack of in-depth understanding of the local flora.

And lastly, the landscape as a whole was vivid and lively, with animals and insects actively enjoying the new abundance of food. If you're in the area, I hope you find the opportunity to go hiking and enjoy spring!