I am an outdoorsy kinda gal. I grew up in the Santa Cruz mountains surrounded by redwoods. My backyard housed a family of deer. To me, nature looks a little something like this:
As a result of growing up in NorCal [the most beautiful place in the nation], I never thought too fondly of the desert. Hot, dry, scrub brush, reptiles… it all pales in comparison to the lush greenery and wildlife in the mountains. Needless to say I’ve never ventured too far into the desert, at least not intentionally. So when Graham and I were talking about hiking in Anza Borrego Desert State Park, I was a little skeptical. However, I was in the mood for a little adventure, so we decided to go for it.
As we headed out east the trees began to thin then eventually disappear altogether. We followed a long windy road for quite some time that made me nauseous. Strange, because I have never been car sick before in my life. The desert and I were not getting off to a good start.
We pulled up to the visitor center, which was pleasant & had a standard array of informational plaques and handouts. We talked to a local ranger who advised us to check out the Palm Oasis trail, which is a easy-to-moderate hike that includes a waterfall and a true-to-its-name oasis!
We weren’t too far into our three mile adventure when I started to soften up a little bit. There were unique rock structures, desert lavender and desert bighorn sheep! I mean, take a look at these guys. Seriously. They mean business. I have respect for any living creature that can withstand living in an area that is referred to as the Badlands.
After we made our way through the rocky trail, we ended up at an oasis! A real life oasis with a waterfall & palm trees. The desert and I were becoming great friends. This place was legit!
We kicked off our shoes and hopped in the waterfall, which was refreshing. While the desert has won me over with its unique beauty, it was still uncomfortably HOT ! ! ! After drying off a bit, we got our shoes back on & started the trek back. A nice wind picked up as we made our way down the mountain, keeping us cool as we wrapped up our adventure.
Desert, you are a tricky one. Hot and sparse yet adventurous and surprising. You are like grapefruit juice, most of the time I will avoid you, but every now and then we’ll get along just fine.
How about the rest of you – what has been your experience with the desert? Are you one to run-to or away-from the badlands?