Green Desert (12 photos)

The mountains in San Diego’s east typically act as barriers that block the clouds of winter storms, and wring a lot of moisture out of them. The desert beyond these mountains doesn’t receive a lot of rain that way – but this winter is different. We had a good start into our wet season with nice storms in December, and then a series of really strong storms brought a lot of rain to our region in January.

Just how much rain this was (so far – our wet season is far from over yet) shows in ephemeral waterfalls such as Mildred Falls, or ponds that rarely fill like the one at Love Valley. And quite some rain from the January storms also reached the desert! This is where the difference between a dry or normal and a wet winter is perhaps most apparent.

My friend Tracy and I hiked West Butte Borrego Mountain today (a loop hike that is one of my favorite desert hikes because it has such nice variety, I’ve done it before and this was the fourth time) and we’ve never seen the desert so green. It is absolutely astonishing, and wonderful: every Ocotillo that is alive in the Borrego Valley is green, there are green patches of grass growing on desert soil, Desert Lilies are growing and will soon bloom at Borrego Mountain Wash, and every other bush and shrub has put on its nicest green.

Here are some first impressions, to give you an idea what a treat it is:

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