Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Desert, Part Deux

Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of the desert as we descended into it. (Truthfully, I'm not sure my little Olympus Stylus 300 could have captured the view and feel.) At times I felt like an eastern pioneer as we drove around corners that revealed the view from the elevated and rocky mountains. This was truly new terrain unlike the lands where I come from. Every vista offered a wider and wider view of the desert floor. Every slow slope presented pretty flowers in bloom. Warming golds sprinkled among greens and browns and slate grey. Spiky branches and lush shrubs showed us the way to the desert where there was more plant diversity waiting to be discovered.

Ocotillo, not yet in bloom. March 2005

We stopped at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park visitor's center to pick up reading material and walk through the garden in the surrounding grounds. It was there that I learned there are fish in the desert. (I must have missed that episode on Wild Kingdom.) Desert pupfish were swimming in a shallow pond in the garden containing brittlebush, cholla cactus, chuparosa, creosote and desert lupine. There were more tadpoles than mature fish but the pond was active and the fish were in clear view.

Succulent. Anza-Borrego Desert S.P. March 2005.

From the visitor's center, we drove to the trail head leading to the desert oasis that has made hiking in the park such a highlight. I couldn't really conceive what this oasis would look like. The only ones I'd ever seen were in a B-movie's dehydration dream sequence. Would I have to hallucinate in order to see this oasis? I'd been drinking water the entire morning and feared I'd fail to see the oasis that I'd heard so much about. Much to my pleasant surprise, no mind altering was required to see this fascinating feature of the desert. After hiking along the trail for about a mile, mile and a half, there it was, tucked away in a tight, craggy valley. The palm grove was an almost-enclosed room. I felt cooler just by looking at it and the dark protective shade the bushy date palms offered from the sun. Walking inside it made me feel like a child who'd discovered a fort. There were large boulders bordering one side and a couple trails leading in and out from other angles. Standing in the canyon-like cave felt 10 degrees cooler on my skin and 30 years younger in my soul.

Desert creek. March 2005.

Date Palm. A-B S.P. March 2005.

Date Palms. A-B S.P. March 2005.

Oasis Room. A-B S.P. March 2005.


Anonymous Dave2 said...

Now see, if it were ME on that ride... all three photos would have had my motorcycle in them!

You show amazing restrain. :-)

March 23, 2005 9:08 PM  
Anonymous Josse said...

Wow I would like to be driving through the desert on a motorbike. Thanks for sharing

March 25, 2005 8:42 PM  
Blogger Sharron said...

Those were great photographs, you're very talented.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, come back anytime!

March 26, 2005 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Sue V. said...

What an awesome picture! I can only imagine how cool it must have been to walk into this little fort.

March 28, 2005 9:56 AM  
Blogger Jaap said...

All the things you saw, as desert lover I am jealous.
I visited deserts in Egypt and Libya, but never in the USA

March 30, 2005 4:12 AM  

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