Wild Flowers in Bloom - Megan's Trip to Anza Borrego
Spring time in Southern California is the most popular time for hikers and campers - the weather is starting to warm up, but the heat of summer has not yet kicked in. Considering we came out of a winter that had record rainfall, everywhere in San Diego is turning bright green. We have been in a severe drought for close to a decade, so in places that were hardest hit by the drought, such as Anza Borrego, the water has had an incredible effect.
For those of you unfamiliar with the flora and fauna of the desert, wild flower seeds can lie dormant for many year, and when rainfall hits, springtime can mean that the flowers come out in full force. The wild flower 'super bloom' made national news about a week or so before our scheduled camping trip, so I knew I was going to be in for an incredible experience. Luckily my aunt thought ahead (as in booked the camp site months before the rain hit, she pays attention to long term weather forecasts) and we were able to camp in the valley. Close to 150,000 visitors came to see the flowers throughout the month of March, so I am thankful for her forethought.
Having lived so close to the desert my whole life, I did not fully appreciate its quiet beauty until I became an avid hiker and camper right after college. This was the first time I have camped in Anza Borrego, a California state park that I highly recommend you go visit between March and April if you want to see wild flowers. Never have I seen the mountains surrounding the desert covered in green and dusted with orange California poppies like this year. Fields of poppies stretched for miles, interspersed with bright green ocotillo with its deep red flowers.
The morning that we went in search of the wild flowers started out with a light breeze; by the end of the morning, the wind turned into gusts up to 40 to 50 miles per hour. The desert can be dangerous not only due to extreme temperatures, but the wind as well can can be dangerous for those unfamiliar with the terrain. Before anyone goes into an unfamiliar area, it is always a good idea to do research on the area and familiarize yourself with sources of water and shade. Hiking in high wind conditions can be dangerous, and the same rule applies.
All in all, this was a great camping experience (minus having to chase my aunt and uncle's tent in a particularly large gust of wind, and a scorpion that almost decided to take a stroll over my foot) and I am so thankful for the time I got to spend with people I care about. The wild flower bloom only lasts for a month or so at most as the temperatures begin to climb. I have a deeper respect for the desert after this trip, and a greater appreciation for the beauty that can thrive in an otherwise harsh environment.