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Old 03-17-2010, 06:20 PM   #11
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Re: 2010 Desert Parks Wildflower Tour

1700 HOURS PDT March 17, 2010 ANZA BORREGO DESERT SGTATE PARK, CALIFORNIA

After nearly freezing to death in the March blizzard in central Utah on I-15, we finally pulled into Valley of Fire State Park east of Last Vegas mid afternoon on Sunday. It wa swarm but not really hot, but the red rocks and green desert flora was a sight for sore eyes after the black, white and endless gray of the Montana winter. Hereís Sporty set up for the first night of camping this season.




The campground host said it has been a cool spring and that they had survived a major windstorm earlier in the week that had blown over a truck camper in the campgrtound. Glad to have missed that one!
We met an interesting woman AnnaBelle from Whitehorse in the Yukon travelling around the Southwest in her customized Sprinter. She had much good advice for traveling the Dempster Highway in the Arctic which we hope to do later in the summer.

One of these days we have to spend more than a day in Valley of Fire and check out all the short hikes, but next morning it was on the road to Joshua Tree National Park. Hereís more great red rocks around the campground.



There was not much blooming at the higher desert elevations in Joshua Tree yet, but the Octotillos had leafy out.



Finally, we ran into flowering Ocotillios in the Borrego Badlands in the eastern reaches of Anza Borrego on Tuesday.



Before camping at Arroyo Salado on Tuesday night, we travelled down the wash to see the 17 Palms Oasis.



Hereís the Expedition Photographer and Sporty stopped at the Palm Grove.



There were several flowers in bloom, not all of which I have identified yet.



Around the campsite were dozens of Desert Lillies, a spectacular flower we have never seen in bloom before.



This morning, we drove over to Borrego Palm Canyon Campground to check out the blooms surrounding the mountain foothills. Thereís a ton of flowers to see, including these white blooms (Datura?) and the brilliant pink Sand Verbena.





More news from the road tomorrow. Lots of fellow Sportsmobiles sighted and even an EarthRoamer from Montana.
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Old 03-19-2010, 05:41 PM   #12
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Re: 2010 Desert Parks Wildflower Tour

1600 HOURS PST FRIDAY March 19, 2010 ANZA BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK, CA
SPORTSMOBILE AND OTHER STRANGE BEASTS SIGHTINGS

We started to see Sportmobiles as soon as we reached Nevada last Sunday, including an old 1990s white model in the Smithís Grocery Store parking lot in Mesquite at around noon.

Sunday evening we met Annabelle from Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory and her sister Susan from Vancouver BC. Here they are in front of Annabelleís wide-body luxurious Sprinter. Donít know who made the Sprinter, but it was one of the nicest customizations Iíve seen.



Then in the Lake Mead NRA visitor center parking lot on Monday, we saw this strange beast. Some sort of habitat module grafted onto a tractor trailer, with Ontario plates.



Saw a bright red RB Sportsmobile headed east on the Salton Seaway at noon last Tuesday as we reached Anza Borrego. That Sporty had a lot of fun toys hanging off of it.

There are two E-250 2WD Sportys camped here in the Borrego Palm Campground for the last couple of days. Nice people.

There was this neat EarthRoamer camped just down from us for two days, but I never got a chance to talk to the owners, even though they had Montana plates. From Bozeman, I think. What an amazing truck. Pricey though.



This morning (Friday) a newer silver EB 4WD Sporty drove past at the Anza Borrego visitor center parking lot at 0800 hours as we were getting ready to go on the Hawk watch. Pretty cool Swainson hawks roost up in the Borrego Valley on their migration north and we saw a couple of dozen of them.

Afterwards, we went exploring up Coyote Canyon, and ran into this monstrous MAN truck military RV.



It must take a lot of diesel to turn those eight sets of wheels!

Lots and lots of flowers this spring. So many that I canít post many of the pictures due to wireless roaming limits. More tomorrow before we move north to Mojave National Preserve and Death Valley National Park next week
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Old 03-19-2010, 08:52 PM   #13
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Re: 2010 Desert Parks Wildflower Tour

Awesome pics and write up man! Keep the pics coming!
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Old 03-21-2010, 08:50 AM   #14
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Re: 2010 Desert Parks Wildflower Tour

0800 HOURS PDT March 21, 2010 ANZA BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK, CALIFORNIA

Itís been a beautiful five days in Anza Borrego State Park, doing short hikes and drives and seeing lots and lots of wildflowers. The bloom has been very good to my untrained eye, but long timers say the invasive Saharan mustard is taking over the best of the large carpet bloom wildflower sites.

Still, we managed to get some good pics. Hereís a patch of Sand Verbena on Henderson Road that park volunteers have weeded the mustard from.



Further up Coyote Canyon, Gold Poppies cover the slopes of Coyote Mountain.



Hiking up Borrego Palm Canyon before the weekend crowds last week, there were showy displays of Brittlebrush and Chuparosa in the dry wash.



The grove of native California Fan Palms is always a beautiful spot, especially with its waterfall flowing full blast due to the wet winter.






On a smaller scale, there were blooms of Bigelow Monkey Flower in sheltered places amid the rocks.



The cacti are all in full bloom, including this bright Beavertail Cactus.



Hereís a Barrel Cactus flower along the Palm Canyon Trail.


Itís going to be hard to leave this wildflower spectacle, but it is off to Death Valley National Park, which will have fewer crowds and fewer wildflowers. More from Furnace Creek in a few days
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Old 03-22-2010, 02:31 AM   #15
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Re: 2010 Desert Parks Wildflower Tour

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed in Montana
Afterwards, we went exploring up Coyote Canyon, and ran into this monstrous MAN truck military RV.
That seem to be a Swiss vehicle, the flag there on the front red background white cross is the Swiss flag... and the registration plates look familiar too... So I guess there must be a good bank account fuelling those 8 wheels

Wonderful photos as always
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Old 03-24-2010, 08:10 PM   #16
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Re: 2010 Desert Parks Wildflower Tour

Great report as usual Ed. Can't wait to see how DV's wildflowers did this year. So, what's been your warmest day so far?
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Old 03-25-2010, 07:53 PM   #17
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Re: 2010 Desert Parks Wildflower Tour

Hello Dave. We had several days in the mid to high 80s in Anza Borrego last week, but it was mostly cooler and breezy in Death Valley NP this week.
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Old 03-25-2010, 08:05 PM   #18
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Re: 2010 Desert Parks Wildflower Tour

2000 HOURS THURSDAY, MARCH 25 TWIN FALLS ID.
After a long transit of the Great Basin from Mesquite Springs Campground in northern Death Valley NP to southwestern Idaho, we are collapsed in a motel in Twin Falls and only a half day's drive away from Big Sky Country and home.

Internet posting was non-existent in Death Valley at Furnace Creek, with no Verizon broadband service and the little connectivity from the WiFi at the visitor center, so there is a lot to catch up on. But it will have to wait until we can find dinner some place close.

There was only one place in Death Valley NP that had much in the way of wildflowers, and that was in the southern reaches of the park below Jubilee Pass and along some of Wade Road. Still we had fun driving the extreme south entrance road along Wade Road from Dumont Dunes past Saratoga Springs (very cool), backcountry camping below sea level along Wade Road and hiking to the slot canyon at Willow Creek.

The veg is green around Mesquite Springs but many of the plants have started to flower in a sort of micro-bloom, with nothing bigger than an inch or two. By far the best bloom was Anza-Borrego SP this year, with next to nothing in Joshua Tree NP, Mojave NP or much of Death Valley NP.

More after food and drink.
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Old 03-26-2010, 08:49 AM   #19
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Re: 2010 Desert Parks Wildflower Tour

3/25/10 Death Valley is alive!! Lots of annuals (less than 1" tall so far). 75% of the valley has significant new growth showing. If conditions are right, they may turn into a series of carpet blooms of wildflowers starting around the first week of April. No rain slated for the next week but temperatures are in the 70s. If there is a storm or temps remain mild this may be a great year for wildflower photography in DV. Peak is expected around April 3rd to 12th. Follow the wildflower reports on Desertusa.com
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