Sarah and I just returned from a four week desert trip in our Airstream that included a stop in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in southern California in late January and early Februrary.
Anza-Borrego occupies the western part of the Sonoran Desert called the Colorado Desert (I know, it’s confusing). Some of the classic Sonoran flora are here, including ocotillos, chollas (of many types), and the sublimely scented creosote. The most iconic cactus of the Sonoran Desert, the stately, large, and alternatingly grotesque and humorous saguaro, is absent. In its place are agaves, the best specimens we have seen anywhere (including botanic gardens), and they are everywhere if you know where to look. To round out the fun there are several dry lake beds, colorful badlands, imposing mountains, and, in some years, colorful wildflowers (usually starting in March).
Anza-Borrego is huge – occupying as much area as the rest of the California State Parks combined. For a first time visitor, its size can be somewhat daunting and intimidating. Other than Font’s Point (a scenic overlook with attractive badlands), there are really no photographic icons. Like many desert landscapes, finding compositions is difficult and requires adequate time for exploration. These two facts might explain why this wonderful park, only a few hours from Los Angeles and San Diego, remains criminally under photographed.
We only had limited time for photography (I had to work 9-5 during the week) but even with that restriction we were able to find more spots than we had time to fully explore and photograph. There is a wealth of photographic potential in this park, and we look forward to actually realizing it on subsequent visits.