Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring Break in the Desert - Day 1

Last week the Kid had his Spring Break. (I feel ridiculous saying Spring Break-he's only in preschool for heaven's sake!) We managed to get out of town for a few days. I had been wanting to go to see the poppies this year at the Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve. Then a friend offered us the use of their cabin in Big Bear. And a road trip was born. Yea, road trip!


Just outside Bakersfield, on Hwy 58, we hit our first wildflower displays. Amsinckia douglasiana was putting on a good show as was Castilleja exserta.


We've been growing Isomeris arborea at Annie's for awhile but I had never seen it in the wild before. Nor had I seen the lovely Bladderpods from which it gets its common name.


The departing storm made for some dramatic light and dark hillsides.


After passing through Barstow we made a right onto 247 and drove through its lovely, deserted spaces. Amazing, the difference in landscape with just a couple of hours of driving.


There were miles and miles of a scrubby shrub that I seem to recall being named Zebra bark, but for the life of me I can't find anything by that name. Anyway, each shrub acted as a nurse plant to groupings of Phacelia, providing protection from wind and probably extra water that is caught by the shrubs' branches. So each shrub had its own wildflower garden skirt. Very charming. Also - high winds were a recurring element in our travels so please pardon the blurry photos.


We headed up the back of the San Bernadino Mountains, into Pinyon Pine forests and snow.


The Kid enjoyed his first walk in the snow as well as making snowmen. They were small snowmen because we hadn't thought to pack gloves and while the air may be warm, that snow was still cold! The first snowman turned out a bit grumpy but the second one seemed to be enjoying himself.


The following day we spent in Joshua Tree National Park before heading back with a stop to enjoy the eye-popping poppies. Check back for the next two posts.


  1. It seems like the driest, hottest parts of the world have the best wildflower displays, doesn't it? Thanks for the tour. These are lovely images. I've been blogging about Texas' wildflowers too.

  2. just lovely! especially the wildflower skirts and the kid's funny little snowpeople. waiting for next installment ... and pics from the bbq joint in buttonwillow!

  3. Pam- That is funny to think about. Never thought of it that way before but I guess annual wildflowers are adapted to extreme conditions. Grow, bloom and set seed quickly. Then get the heck back to dormant seed as soon as possible! I stared longingly at your bluebonnet post for awhile.

    Elayne- Thanks! And I highly recommend that you get your butt to buttonwillow next time you're down that way. I managed to get the pulled pork sandwich both coming and going through that town. Gotta stock up since I don't get down there much.