Excitement was building as Stéphane and I rolled through the mountains of southern California in the hot sun. And it was HOT! We stopped for a beer and baked goods in Julian, where the air was crisp and cold, and then descended into the Anza Borrego desert – where it was, of course, hotter. And much, much busier.
You see, we happened to be lucky enough to have our trip timed with a once-in-a-decade “super bloom” where the deserts of California erupt with color from the flowers that are waiting for such intense rain. Spring 2019 was the year! The roads were jam-packed getting into Borrego Springs (as well as everywhere else in the area). But we were in the epicenter! Lucky, yes, but it did make for some difficulties like finding a place to stay and eat. Oh well!
The main activity for us was to explore the palm oases and canyons of Anza Borrego State Park. We hiked into two canyons while we were there: Borrego canyon and then Hellhole Palms canyon. Both were completely stunning as the sun rose through the canyons and the flowers came out. The cacti were beautiful, and both were not very busy, which was a plus. In fact, we only saw a few people at Hellhole all morning. Unfortunately, we also saw no peninsular bighorn sheep.
These photos were taken from both canyons across two days: