A day trip to Anza Borrego desert is my favorite family ride. A couple hours from San Diego, you get a total change of scenery and it's pretty easy to make. The road trip is quite pleasant, the roads across the country side are nice and not crowded. Just set up good music and a few snacks for the kids and it works out!
It sounds weird but until now, we never did the most popular hike we decided to do that day: the Borrego Palm Canyon.
Last year, the spring super bloom was stunning but all the area of Anza Borrego was extremely crowded. This time, it was very peaceful and quiet, as I love it.
We love to go there anytime, anyway. 4 years ago we have been to Anza on January 1st with my family who was visiting us from France, and the desert was under the snow. We made a snowman in the middle of the cacti! Yes, even in the desert, every season brings different enjoyments.
This time it was very dry, for winter I mean, since the drought is severe this year in California. The ocotillos, this plant next to me on the first photo and also just above, were all blooming anyway and it was beautiful. You can see the red flowers on top of the branches. I love them so much!
As usual Olivier took amazing photos. I love those ones with this little bird, which I ignore the name btw...
We also saw several humming birds well known in this area, the Costa's hummingbird, with black on top of the head, purple spots on sides and a green body. It's not exactly the same specie we have at home.
It was chilly and windy at the beginning of the day but it quickly turned warm and nice. I would say, the perfect weather to hike and picnic. The girls complained a little bit for walking during the first 5 minutes (as usual) but quickly got fun climbing and jumping here and there (as usual too).
Also, as soon as we heard the sound of the river and we were able to see palm trees from far, they got new motivation to speed up. We didn't know yet that such a beautiful place was waiting for us.
Another treat to keep motivation of our troop was looking for bighorn sheep, this wild sheep living in the desert. There are about 280 bighorns in the USA and 200 seem to be in Anza-Borrego Park. We were so lucky to meet one on our way down to the desert from the car! Of course we stoped and Olivier successfully captured this moment.
We saw another one again during the hike, just above the spot we choose for the picnic.
Bighorn sheep are not easy to see, they do kind of camouflage in the rocky mountains. I'm sure we missed some despite we kept staring the mountains all way long, they are so difficult to see.
Here is is the place we stopped to picnic... and enjoyed yummy homemade olive, prosciutto and rosemary bread (cake we say in French for this salted type of bread).
We finished heading up then, until the bottom of the oasis and the arrival was just incredible.
Push away a few palm leaves on your way, go ahead and turn up your head, and the magic happen. Blown away by this majestic oasis! I felt like dizzy under all these giant palm trees...
It was time for the U-turn. We took the alternate trail to go back and optimize the chance to see bighorns again. It was even more rocky and mineral than the first trail.
We didn't see again bighorns but a couple of goats only. We read afterwards that they are very present too in Anza-Borrego State Park.
Bye bye Anza, goodbye bighorns! This ride was such a great treat to end our February break and pumps me up to wait until our Spring break trip!