Monday, March 28, 2011

Borrego, Day 1: Palm Canyon

We spent a long weekend in Borrego Springs celebrating Bill's birthday, starting off with a hike in Palm Canyon. Wildflower reports had not been too encouraging, so we were pleasantly surprised to find plenty of flowers in bloom. Temperatures during our trip were well below normal for this time of year. The story was that some near-freezing temperatures that came after a warm spell had affected the flowers and cut down on the fields-of-flowers experience one might expect after a rainy winter.

A beehive on the ridge above the trail attracted lots of attention. Those yellow, vertical, torpedo-like shapes are the honeycombs. The dark area surrounding the combs was swarming with bees, which were easy to see with binoculars. A local told us that this hive has been there for several years--we would have missed it if it weren't for the knot of folks looking up by the side of the trail.

Thanks to the heavy rains this winter, the streams and waterfalls were full and flowing.

The approach to the palm grove, and a view of the treetops. We had not planned to go all the way to the trees, but made it there nevertheless.

Palm Canyon is a very popular hike, and we have found two ways to beat the crowds: go on a weekday, and start out in the late afternoon. On this day we started at around 4 pm and got back around 6 pm. (We take it slow and stop a lot to take pictures.) Everyone else was on their way back down while we were still going up--and then, we had the descent to ourselves.

The evening light on the mountains through changing clouds was magnificent. I had a conversation with the bird on the right, after which he posed for this picture.