A Springtime Walk in the Desert

California, Spring 025. Tahquitz Canyon Butterfly

 

I've been intrigued by deserts ever since I first visited one as a teenager.  The first impression I remember having is of a lifeless, hostile and barren place.  It's certainly a hostile environment but I couldn't have been more wrong about it being lifeless and barren.  Deserts are teaming with life and have a flora and fauna that's incredibly well adapted to their harsh environment.  Temperature extremes, strong winds and little rainfall all necessitate hardy species.  Examples such as the cactus, with its protective spines and thick skin, are illustrative.

 

I love visiting the desert in the spring almost as much as I hate visiting the desert in the summer.  For those who've lived in the American Southwest the reason for this is evident -- temperatures in the summer are impossibly hot, at times topping 120 F (50 C).  People who live in places like Palm Springs or Phoenix will tell you it's really not so bad because it's a "dry heat"; then again so is the inside of a pizza oven.  

 

But in spring the desert is truly special!  The weather is generally very pleasant in the day, 65-80 F (17-25 C), and you'll be treated to wonderful displays of color.  The small amounts of rain in the winter bring to life plants you didn't even know where there.  The fields of blossoms or individual blooms are beautiful!  Now is a great time to go, but anytime from mid-February to early April will be pretty good for desert wildflower viewing (conditions will vary depending on altitude and how much rain has fallen that year).

 

I've mostly visited the desert around Palm Springs and Tucson so the accompanying photos share with you some of the blooming plants I've seen while visiting there.  A little more info on each photo is available by clicking on the thumbnail photos below.  Sorry, I'm not a botanist and don't know most of these plants by their names, but you don't need to know them to enjoy their beauty.  

California, Spring 2009 209 Joshua Tree National Park

 

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California, Spring 2009 210 Joshua Tree National Park, Arch Rock

 

California, Spring 2009 202 Joshua Tree National Park, Cholla Cactus Gardens

 Saguaro National Park, Arizona

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Picture 182

 

California, Spring 072. Joshua Tree National Park. Hidden Valley

California, Spring 179. Palm Desert, Living Desert Museum.

California, Spring 022. Tahquitz Canyon Wildflowers

 California, Spring 020. Tahquitz Canyon Wildflowers

California, Spring 160. Palm Desert, Living Desert Museum. Hummingbird

California, Spring 171. Palm Desert, Living Desert Museum. Octillo

California, Spring 173. Palm Desert, Living Desert Museum. Octillo

California, Spring 019. Tahquitz Canyon Wildflowers

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Picture 007

 

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Picture 015

 

Joshua Tree National Park. A blanket of wildflowers

Joshua Tree National Park. A blanket of wildflowers

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Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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Great color and variety! Thanks...I'm going to have to get to the desert in spring, sometime. I visited the Sonora desert in December, and recognize some of these from seeing them without their brilliant display (click HERE for that blog) This is certainly a reminder of how little we know a place when we only know it "in season."

 

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

How many times do folks say "Why did you go there ? There's nothing to see !"

That's why I love going the opposite way from the crowd.

Beautiful selection of photo's !

Any little beasties on the loose ?

There were a lot of these little lizards around, GarryRF.  Generally a good sign because if there's rattlesnakes about they hide.

 

Except for birds, everything else was well hidden.

Picture 217

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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