Will There Be A Super Bloom?

Written by Gary, Photographs by Yafei

Weather-wise it's been a crazy start to 2019 in Southern California - certainly the worst we've seen in eighteen years of living here.  Storm after storm has battered the West Coast, and temperatures have been on the really chilly side!  Thus, we were extremely happy to find that our first teardrop camping trip of the year to Anza Borrego State Park coincided with a couple of beautiful sunny days.

On the way to Anza Borrego State Park, 2019

For those that regularly follow our blog, you know Anza Borrego is one of our favorite winter camping spots.  We make it out at least once a year and have previously stayed at the Borrego Palm Canyon and Tamarisk Grove campgrounds.  This late February adventure found us back at the first of these in Site #88.  Not my choice of sites (we'd booked way too late) but it turned out to be decent enough.

The big question on many people's minds this year given the heavy rains throughout the winter was would there be a super bloom in the desert?  2017 had been a fabulous year for the wildflowers, would we see even more spectacular shows in 2019?  The journey out certainly showed promise.  The hills near Poway, CA were already covered with a blaze of California poppies and the desert was a lush green as we approached Borrego Springs.  

California Poppies on the hills near Poway

There were large patches of snow at Ranchita (4,000ft ASL), remnants of the storm that hit several days before our departure!

I was excited, not only about the prospect of possible flowers, but my first chance to try my new dutch oven.  I'd prepared bread dough before we'd left and after settling in at the site was heating up the coals.  Sadly, cooking attempt number one was a total bust; the bread did not rise and I ended up creating something that resembled more the consistency of a house brick!  Fortunately, try #2 the following evening was a major success; sausage with cabbage, granny-smith apples, mushrooms, and onions, sweetened with a little brown sugar and served with warm tortillas.  Absolutely yummy!

Dutch oven cooking in Anza Borrego State Park

On our first full day exploring the desert we checked out the usual flower spots, and while there were plenty of blooms and the potential for many more, it was just too early. Rangers and locals had mixed opinions as to whether this year was going to be a "Super Bloom" as there may have been too much rain, but everyone agreed the place to go now was SR22.  Thus, we headed to one of our favorite spots off SR22, Fonts Point, which offers a breathtaking overlook of the Borrego Badlands, also known as the Mountains of the Moon.  Xaria, and her cat toy Yuki, was spellbound by the wonderful view.

Mountains of the Moon, the Borrego Badlands, Anza Borrego State Park

The Family with a backdrop of the Borrego Badlands, Anza Borrego State Park

Just beyond the dirt road that leads to Font Point, north of SR22, were the flowers we had come to see.  This was an unusual area to see blooms, and several locals said they had not seen flowers here in over thirty years!  The hills were alive with purple, other colors intermingled with the mass.  If the rest of the desert landscape develops like this in the next couple of weeks surely a super bloom is very possible.

Flowers Blooming in Anza Borrego State Park near SR22

Flowers blooming in Anza Borrego State Park, California

Flowers Blooming in Anza Borrego State Park near SR22

Another wonderful visit to our local desert.

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