A crazy, poor plan started with one good idea: we always wanted to see a desert in bloom and nearby Anza-Borrego Desert State Park was famous for wildflowers blooming as if a colorful carpet was laid over the desert. Our one simple good idea spun out of control. We planned to drive down from Palm Springs (88 miles) for a guided wildflower hike starting at 9am, followed by a quick hike up to the Palm Canyon oasis, and still have time to drive down to Salton Sea for late afternoon of bird watching.
The plan sounded good, but, if you’ve visited Anza-Borrego, you’ll know that once we entered the park, we didn’t want to leave.
We could see patches of rosy-colored sand verbena, but what else was there? Karin, the volunteer park guide, showed us a number of blooming flowers in a very small area. All were small plants with equally small flowers and leaves as befitting plants that get little water.
Many of the shrubs and trees around the visitor center bloomed so we made a quick stop for a few photos.
By the time we started up the Borrego Palm Canyon trail, we realized that we’d have to walk quickly if we wanted to still get to the Salton Sea for bird watching. Also, what about stopping along the entry road to take some photos of the mountains and desert washes that we’d rushed by in the morning? We wanted time for that, too.
There would be no hurrying this hike. We slowed our pace way down. Photographs were taken and birds observed. With our binoculars we saw three desert bighorn sheep scrambling in the rocks almost at the top of the mountain.
We think we have a lot more to see and explore at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and we plan to go back another time for a longer visit. When we do, we’ll add on a day to watch birds at Salton Sea.