The Colors Purple…

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A short two day weekend means a short trip. But a short trip doesn’t necessarily mean a disappointing one as the super bloom plays out.

I decided to take a hike in Torrey Pines extension, a hidden piece of Torrey Pines State Park not far from but not on the beach. If you look at the pictures, the very last one is from an overlook on the Extensions’ southwest corner overlooking the rest of the park. If you are familiar with the beach area, the picture might give you a clue as to where the extension is, hidden on all sides by houses and apartments and a school.

But the superbloom seems oblivious to its enclosed surroundings. The hillside is loaded with flowering annuals, bushes, and shrubs of every kind, hiding its normally prominent red rock formations. Black sage, encelia, monkey flowers, yerba santa, onion, San Diego sunflowers, blue dicks, phacelia, snapdragons, and more, carpet the underbrush of the massive Torrey pines that grow here. The black sage is so thick in some parts, that the spires look more like fencing than like foliage. If you like taking pictures of wildflowers as much as I do, the opportunities are endless. Do you want white sage with yellow encelia as a backdrop or purple phacelia with yellow sunflowers as a backdrop or white ivy with purple phacelia and red monkey flowers?

 It makes me think of the line from the movie “The Color Purple”. “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” I suspect it pisses God off if you walk by the violets and the yellows, and the whites, and the reds, and the oranges, and the blues, and medleys, and the textures, and the shapes, and the compositions, and the views, and everything else in that field God put there for us to experience. I could have taken a picture of everything without feeling like I wasted a shot. I managed to get it down to this. Hope you enjoy.

P.S. I snuck in one picture of Lake Hodges and Escondido Mountain stained yellow green from the invasive black mustard from my morning walk with the dogs.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

I usually make it out to the desert on a couple of weekends every year, but somehow, the desert’s spring has slipped by. It would seem like a waste to miss a year, especially with this year’s super bloom. So I talked myself into driving out, hoping to catch the tail end of the bloom, the window on blooms is pretty narrow and closing fast. I headed out to the Agua Caliente area in Anza-Borrego.

I found the cactus and the brittlebush already in full bloom, usually, they are the last to blossom before the heat chases everything back to seeds, grey stalks, and rusted rock. The cholla, the barrels, the beavertails have beautiful purple and creamy yellow flowers. The yellow bouquets of the brittlebrush dominate.

But everything else is still putting on a show, too, as far as I can tell. The marsh has water and tadpoles, the flowers have butterflies and bees to sex them, and caterpillars to eat them, and whatever those two bugs joined at the butt are doing, the birds are chirping and making whoopee, the annuals are still in bloom, and the mountains wear a coat of green. The perfumes of the flowers are so aromatic, I have to stop to sneeze. Carpets of goldfields stain the desert chapparal yellow. The desert has a fleeting softness to it.

Get A Room!

But the most amazing bloom I saw was on a hillside sloping away from the dropping sun. The backlit flowers of the brittlebush gave the hill a golden aura. I don’t think it possible to exaggerate the saturation of the golden hue in post-processing software, but the picture I took with the iPhone from the car doesn’t do it justice. I had to stop on one of those hairpin turns where I couldn’t see what was coming or going, so I took a few quick pictures and moved on.

Three hours of driving, three hours of hiking, and 300 pictures later, here is what I have to offer. I hope you enjoy the show.

All works are original work of the authors subject to Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licensing.