Niño is getting a well-deserved rap
for causing mudslides and floods in Southern
California, but out in the desert, this extreme
weather phenomenon has been quietly working
wonders. "It's the flower show of the
century," wrote a friend, and when we
came over the crest on county road S22 east
of Temecula and wound down to Borrego Springs,
we saw that she was right. Bright yellow brittlebush
covered the normally bleak rocky hillsides.
sand verbena carpeted lower, sandier slopes,
and every so often, a whole field of white
evening primroses would greet us. Many of
the cacti were just coming into bloom, meaning
that the magnificent display will continue
for another few weeks.
the advice of a park ranger, we drove up Coyote
Canyon on a dirt track north of Borrego Springs.
We forded a stream twice, and stopped to have
a closer look several times. One of our more
startling discoveries was that many of the
flowers were covered with large, voracious
caterpillars. What sort of winged creatures
these might be preparing to become we could
not discover. "Given their size and appetite,"
Mark said, "I think they'll turn into
pterodactyls." I guess we'll have to
go back in a month or two and see.
pictures below are a small glimpse of El Niño's
springtime gift, a desert in bloom.