Travel Stage: After Slab City, before San Diego area
Date Range: March 9 – 13, 2017
Summary: After Slab City, we head to the Anza Borrego Desert in hopes to see a few flowers. Little did we know that the Superbloom would happen while we were there! We see the desert greener than it has been in over a decade, and the flowers were incredible!
Everyone had been saying what an incredible winter California and the Southwest had this year. It was colder and wetter than it had been in years, and everyone was looking forward to the spring when all that water would cause the desert to bloom like crazy. We happened to be in Anza Borrego when the Superbloom happened, and we didn’t even realize it at first.
The First Clue
The day we arrived to our boondocking spot in Anza Borrego it was very hot. We found a place just north of town off of the main drag and found a spot among the other RVs. There were quite a few, but we didn’t think anything of it other than it was winter and there were a bunch of snowbirds like us taking advantage of the free camping spot.
The Second Clue
According to Campendium and other online sources, the place we picked had good cell service. When we pulled up, our phones told us 3-4 bars LTE on Verizon! We put our jacks down, unhitched, and went about setting up our house.
After the slides are out, Tom’s usual first job is to set up the internet booster if we need it. So he ran a speed test. Despite our seemingly strong signal, he had absolutely no data. He set up the booster, but still couldn’t hardly pull any data. We thought that was strange, so we packed up and headed into town in search of some internet to do a little bit of work.
The Third Clue
We found the Borrego Springs library downtown and they had free wifi, but even that seemed slow and the library seemed pretty busy. After completing our work requirements, it was a little after 5 and we took a quick little drive through town. We saw some cars parked on the sides of the road… seemingly in the middle of nowhere, close to nothing, but didn’t think much of it.
The Final Clue
When we got home, one of us checked the internet speed again and to our surprise, we actually had a bit of data! Soon after, we received a text from Tom’s Mom that was a link to an article: “Superbloom in Anza Borrego.” It was all about how crazy the bloom was going to be and how many people were coming out from San Diego and LA to see the flowers. We put the pieces together: so many people can come out to see the flowers that it had overwhelmed the cell towers that are used to so many devices. Now that they were leaving in the evening, we could see some data and cars were left parked in strange places that were the closest to the state park when that person had arrived!
Hiking Anza Borrego
We saw the crazy first-hand the next morning. We made the mistake of waiting until about 9 or 10AM to head to the State Park entrance to go hiking and the place was an abosolute zoo. Cars lined the street all the way through town. People were walking over a mile just to get into the park! We held off until the next day and went early enough to get a parking spot inside the park. We hiked Borrego Palm Canyon Trail and even though it was only 7:00AM in the morning it was already 80 degrees.
The hike was gorgeous! There were so many flowers! Despite its relatively short distance, it took us a long time to get there because we stopped for pictures and admiration so many times.
At the top of the hike we found an oasis and rested beneath the shade of the palms.
The hike back was just as spectacular, including beavertail cactus blooms and even a barrel cactus bloom!
Another thing Borrego Springs is known for is its metal art sculptures scattered across town and the surrounding desert. From horses to dinosaurs, western themed figurines and a serpent that burrows beneath the road, the driving tour to these works of art is quite fun! Learn more here.
Exploring the Desert
Each day we were there it got over 90 degrees. We didn’t have electricity, so AC was out of the question. We sat in the shade outside, and with the breeze it really wasn’t too bad. In the mornings and evenings it would cool down, and that’s when we would do our explorations. One day we rode our bikes down to a dry lake bed about a mile from our boondocking site. The cracked mud was so fascinating to walk on and see up close.
While examining the area, we suddenly heard a low buzz. It sounded like a drone! – when the propellers spin really fast, they make a sound like a swarm of bees. I scanned the horizon, but saw no drone. All the while, the buzz got LOUDER. Seconds later, a real swarm of bees flew over our heads! There must have been thousands of them! It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever heard in my life, and out in the middle of that dry lake bed there was nowhere for us to duck and cover. Luckily, the bees were not interested in us and proceeded without any incidents! We figured they, too, must have been here for the Superbloom!
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