I left early Wednesday morning with the plan to do a solo day hike out to the Goat Canyon Trestle in the southern Anza Borrego desert.
According to weather reports the rain that was hitting the coast wasn't suppose to hit Ocotillo until Thursday. Sure there were high wind warnings for the deserts and the mountains but hey, what's a little wind ?
As I began to drive up the grade past Pine Valley for my eventual descent into the desert, I quickly realized that this was not an ordinary Spring storm. Rain had quickly turned to snow as I approached the Sunrise Highway turn-off. Snow? Wait, isn't Memorial Day weekend with its' beach barbecues and fun-in-the-sun just around the corner!? Not only was there snow, but the wind was whipping up some pretty good flurries near the Tecate Divide. Visibility was pretty bad and I strongly considered turning around.
Fortunately once I began dropping down into the desert, things took a turn for the better. The skies cleared and the Jacumba mountains seemed to deter any further advancement of the storm into the Anza Borrego desert.
"It was going to be a great hike", I said to myself, as I pulled up to the trailhead at Mortero Palms. I started to open the door of my LandCruiser only to have it jerked out of my hand by a sudden gust of wind. The rain squalls quickly followed as the wind seemed to force the rain up and over the Jacumba mountains.
Retreating to the warmth of the LandCruiser I made the decision to abandon the remote hike and explore the Dos Cabezas area. Luckily the rain seemed to be concentrated to the west so I was able to stay pretty dry exploring the areas east of the mountains. After exploring some new areas, I had lunch while watching the long branches of the fiery tipped Ocotillos get battered by the wind.
It is amazing what these hearty desert plants can put up with; searing temperatures, drought, flash floods and gale force winds don't seem to have an effect on them. While most of the year the Ocotillo resembles a group of long, spindly, dead branches sticking out of the sand, come Spring given enough rain, they begin to green up and will explode with bright orange buds. The spiny covered branches of this amazing desert plant can reach heights of 20 feet and is well suited to the dry, well-drained soil of the southern Anza Borrego Desert.
By far my favorite desert plant out here.
Pictures from the Dos Cabezas trip are here (Small Thumbnails)
Pictures from the Dos Cabezas trip are here (Large Thumbnails)
Slideshow from the Dos Cabezas trip are here