This has been quite the busy week. In addition to Christmas, our two youngest children had birthdays this week. That makes for a lot of cake, cookies and presents.
We had a few storms come through this week. According to our rain gauge we had around .9 inches of rain this week. We even had some lighter rain which is good because it doesn’t all run off down our road.
The prior owners had a bird feeder and a platform for a quail block. This week I finally put food there to see if we could attract any birds.
We have posted about the Borrego Springs wildflowers in the desert before, but since this is possibly our last trip to see them for a while, we wanted to write about them again. It’s interesting to see the differences from year to year.
We love Packard’s but we live so far away that we only make it there about once a year. The big blue box in the front is the reason we first visited because Josh and I are Doctor Who fans. We have never tried their crepes or baked goods, but we always buy some of their coffee. They are really great about updating their Facebook page with the baked goods they are offering for the day or week.
Dudley’s Famous Bakery was our next stop where we picked up five loaves of bread. With the size of our family though, five loaves of bread doesn’t last very long!
That is a LOT of bread. We bought four loaves and got one free. We were hoping the strudels were included in that but sadly, they were not. I had to tell my oldest son to go put the raspberry strudel back. I regretted that later, because I don’t think strudel is something I will ever attempt to make.
Our next stop was Culp Valley Cultural Preserve. We didn’t actually hike anywhere here but it was an interesting place to stop. It was neat to watch the shadows of the clouds move across the landscape. It was very windy here!
We like to stop at the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association Desert Nature Center near Christmas Circle to pick up a Borrego Springs wildflower map before we head out to the fields. The staff there are very knowledgeable and very helpful. They also have a nice gift shop. My rock hound son has picked up a few books about rocks, gems, and minerals there. For this trip, we purchased a wildflower guide and a guide to the sky art metal sculptures around town. The Borrego Springs wildflower maps are always free and are invaluable to figuring out where is best to go.
Usually, we head out to Henderson Canyon Road to find wildflowers but this year our main stop was Coyote Canyon. I think we were early enough in the day that it wasn’t too difficult to park close to the dirt road that would take us to the fields. For this trip, we walked east from Di Giorgio Road. The most prevalent wildflowers were desert sunflowers, sand verbena, and dune evening primrose. The colors were amazing.
We also stopped at a few fields east of Borrego Springs. Josh took pictures out there since I stayed in the van with our baby. I also was a bit of a wimp and didn’t feel like dealing with the wind.
While walking around by Coyote Canyon, we found a dry wash. Three of my boys were fascinated by the way the mud had dried in layers and broken with some of the edges curling up. One of them even told me, “Mommy, this is much more fun that the flowers!” Doesn’t that just sound like a boy? I’m glad that they found something out on our walk that was interesting to them. They even wanted to take some of the layers home with us. Sorry, boys, you can’t bring any dirt home with you.
We hiked out to this weather station and then headed back to the van. There were also some cryptic signs in this area with the words “Viking Block” and then a number. Josh looked them up and found out that they were in relation to a program for environmental protection.
Of course, we had to visit our old friends, the scorpion and the grasshopper. We also drove by the serpent. The kids love seeing the metal sculptures. Hopefully, it will not be the last time we get to visit the Borrego Springs wildflowers.
This year, we were able to go to Borrego Springs with Josh’s family. It was a fun day trip with our kids, our nephews, Josh’s parents, and his sister. During a superbloom year, there are a LOT of people who visit Borrego Springs to see the wildflowers. We left as early as we could and were in Borrego Springs by 9 AM, but there was already quite a crowd there!
We like to stop at a turnout on the S-22 before heading into town. The overlook we stopped at last year was busy so we had to stop at a different turnout.
Our first stop in Borrego Springs was the Borrego Desert Nature Center near Christmas Circle. They offer free daily wildflower maps every year. The staff there has always been kind. The store there is also a good place to browse for books and gifts. My son, Matthias, is a rock hound and picked up a pocket-sized book about rocks during our visit last year. I wish I had taken pictures of the building when I was there. The Nature Center is located at 652 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs, CA. The Nature Center is not related to the Anza-Borrego State Park Visitor Center. In fact, when we drove past the street to the Visitor Center, there was a police officer directing traffic just at that intersection!
Once we drove into town, the traffic let up a little bit but it was still very busy. It was not too difficult to find parking near the Nature Center though. Josh and I were able to run in for the day’s wildflower map.
This was today’s flower map. It’s really informative and the lady who gave it to us explained to us which places were the best to go. We didn’t make it to every place on the map unfortunately. I think we needed another day or two to hike all the trails and visit all the flower fields.
It was very sunny and quite warm while we were out so sunscreen and lots of water were a must!
Palm Canyon Trail, Hellhole Canyon, and Little Surprise (the trail we hiked last year) would have been difficult to find parking, so we decided to go visit the flower fields off of Henderson Canyon Road. This is the area we visited when we only had two kids, Corran and Matthias, in 2008. The flowers were spectacular here.
The desert sunflowers were everywhere here. We also saw sand verbena, desert lilies, and brown-eyed primrose across the street, away from the hills.
We saw quite a few creatures during our walk, fortunately, no rattlesnakes! There were many of these caterpillars around. Later, I found out that these are white-lined sphinx moth caterpillars.
Can you find the ladybug? Always nice to find these helpful insects around! We also saw a beetle or two as well as a lot of gnats and flies!
After taking pictures of the field of desert sunflowers, we headed down the road to the west end of Henderson Canyon Road. This was an interesting hike. We saw quite a few different flowers than we did in the flower fields.
This is the area in which most of the metal sculptures are located. We did not visit too many of them this year, though we did make the sea serpent sculpture our last stop before heading out of Borrego Springs.
The beavertail cactus were in bloom. Their hot pink flowers are so bright they almost don’t look real!
The flowers in this area were mostly desert dandelion, desert chicory, and blue phacelia.
There were a few flowers that I wanted to see that we didn’t find – monkeyflowers, dune evening primrose, and canterbury bells. Maybe we will find them next year!
The flower fields are beautiful, but the trail hikes are also beautiful and a lot like a treasure hunt. We almost stopped at Little Surprise Canyon on our way out of Borrego Springs, but three of our five kids had fallen asleep! So we will have to save that hike for another time.
Some links to more information about some of the flowers and plants we saw: