‘Twas the second weekend of March. Southern California had gotten so much rain in December, January and February that rumors swirled that the famous desert “superbloom” was imminent. Last year I went desert camping with some friends in late April, which was a great time for camping but too late for flowers. This year I was determined to see some.
The rest of San Diego county was determined to see them too, as it turned out. Luckily we started our day early, getting on the road by 8-ish, which put us in Anza-Borrego state park a little before 10. Before heading to the spot where the news stations had reported the “best” bloom, we pulled off into a little wash filled with beautiful and diverse flowers, without the crowd. However one of the plant varieties we saw (or rather, experienced), was the jumping cactus. Make sure to give those plenty of space!
After exploring our private ravine we headed closer tho the town of Borrego Springs where large blooms were reported. Having driven through this part of the desert before (when it is normally so brown and barren), I really was impressed with the number of flowers and different types. I counted at least ten varieties.
5 Crucial Tips for Experiencing the Superbloom
- Get up early: like I said above, we left San Diego early and got a few moments with the flowers to ourselves. I’m not a morning person, but I knew the drive out to the desert would be longer than I thought (which it was). We didn’t get stuck in traffic on the way out or back, and the weather was not too hot (it got hot around the time we were leaving anyway).
- Go with friends. Isn’t everything better with friends? from almost anywhere you are, it’s gonna be a bit of a drive. Carpooling is better for the environment and sharing an experience like viewing the superbloom is one you won’t soon forget. Also, your photos will be more fun!
- Respect the flowers. Remember the part about the jumping cactus? As you’re looking at some of the light and delicate flowers, remember that there are lots of tough desert cacti around as well. Even more importantly: Remember, the beautiful flowers you’re out to view are living things as well and provide habitat for insects and other wildlife. Stay on dirt trails and don’t trample or lie down and squash the wildflowers. Leave them pristine for the next visitors!
- Respect other visitors. I know sometimes it takes a million shots to get the perfect selfie, but there may be lots of others waiting to get a beautiful picture while you’re hogging the primo location. Just always remember to be considerate. 🙂
- Hydrate. We went out weeks ago and it was already so, so hot by noon. Make sure to bring plenty of water, and then add couple more bottles. Crucial to be prepared; and better safe than sorry!
Bonus tip: Check social media before you go. Part of what makes the super bloom so special is how ephemeral it is. If you check the Anza-Borrego page and they haven’t reported a lot of flowers lately, don’t go all the way out there and then be mad that the caterpillars ate them all. That’s nature I guess!