When asked to describe Burning Man the first time I went (2005), I hesitated and then said: "It's like my experience seeing the pyramids in Egypt and the animals in Africa”. It's impossible to describe and I think really hard to capture on film or in pictures. It's something you have to experience in person. How can I adequately describe walking out onto an upper terrace of the Masque of Muhammad Ali in Cairo and getting my first sight of the pyramids of Giza rising out of the desert on the other side of the city? They dwarfed Cairo. How can I describe when my guide pulled over as soon as we got into Chobe Game Reserve in Botswana and pointed out hippos bobbing up and down in the water (like Hungry Hungry Hippo!) and then a herd of elephants walking by? Seeing those animals in their natural habitat was astounding. When I saw giraffes, I cried. But really, unless you’re there, it’s hard know what it’s like. Getting out of my car and first catching the incredible scent of flowers in the air and then walking across the street to the field of wildflowers along Henderson Road in Anza Borrego during the “super bloom” instantly was added to my list of the indescribable. I decided the only way I could describe it is that it felt like I was at a botanic garden's carefully cultivated exhibit of California desert wildflowers, only on what seemed to be on an infinite scale.
Despite running my photo business and starting The Healing Farm business, I decided when I booked almost back-to-back photo shoots in southern California, that I would drive and camp in between (probably not the best use of my time, right?). Then I realized that the week before my first shoot was probably about the time of the wildflower bloom in Anza Borrego. I heard about the desert bloom many years ago and had always wanted to go. I figured I would drive a week early and if I hit the bloom, I hit it. If not, so be it. How could I have known that the very week I would be there was not just the peak of the bloom, but a “super bloom”. And this is not a crying wolf super bloom. It's AMAZING. I can't tell you how glad I am that I played hooky! Someone told me there were some flowers blooming whose seeds have been dormant for 15-20 years! I hit the jackpot! Given I’m a photographer and had my equipment with me because of my upcoming photo shoots, there are a LOT of pictures so I’m going to stop typing and start posting some pics! I’m a terrible editor so there are LOADS. Enjoy the indescribable!
I hiked into Palm Canyon my second day to see a palm oasis in the desert. Not only were there incredible wildflowers along that trail too, but the oasis was incredible. I hiked above the palms further into the canyon only to discover waterfalls and little swimming holes. On a 95 degree day hiking in a desert canyon NOTHING feels better then dunking in a mountain pool - or sitting under a waterfall. I spotted a big horned sheep in the distance on my way into the canyon, but then nearing the trailhead on the way out a few of us hikers were treated to a whole herd grazing right next to the trail. The two shots I'm including here were taken with my iphone - not a fancy telephoto lens. That's how close they were. What a topper to a serendipitous stop in the desert!
I'm getting sleepy and it's taking forever to upload all these photos so I'm going to be healthy and go to sleep, but hope to post more tomorrow! I'll leave you with a couple more....