We’re over halfway through the desert with the Mojave (real desert) left ahead. These first few hundred miles have been full of surprises- lots of water, plant and animal life.
California has had a good deal of precipitation this year, making for lighter packs and vibrant landscapes. There are more amazing smelling plants and beautiful wildflowers than I could have dreamed of.
Two of several wonderful smelling Ceanothus species.
Delphinium for days!
Here’s what I thought all 700 miles of desert would look like…
Joshua tree Yucca brevifolia
Chaparral yucca Hesperoyucca whipplei
California barrel cactus Ferocactus cylindraceus
Beavertail cactus Opuntia basilaris
Silver cholla Cylindropuntia echinocarpa
Strawberry hedgehog cactus Echinocereus engalannii
Kingcup cactus Echinocereus triglochidiatus
Panamint liveforever Dudleya saxosa
Canyon liveforever Dudleya cymosa
Ocotillo Fouqureria splendens
and other Dr. Suess like plants. I love cacti and succulents, but was truly unaware of how diverse the desert would be. This is high desert with elevations ranging from about 3,000-9,000 feet. We’ve experienced relentless sun and exposure followed by snow and conifers.
There have been some incredible views, but I have been enchanted by the wildflowers. Everyday the flowers change, there are new species mixed in with the old and many yet to be identified.
Colorado four o’clock Mirabilis multiflora
Bush poppy Dendromecon rigida
Flatbud prickly poppy Argemone munita
Fremont’s monkeyflower Mimulus fremontii
Wild canterbury bells Phacelia minor
Fremont’s phacelia Phacelia fremontii
California milkweed Asclepias californica
Bitterroot Lewisia rediviva
Woolly daisy Eriophyllum wallaccei
Winding mariposa lily Calochortus flexuosus
Desert mariposa lily Calochortus kennedyi
Twincrest onion Allium bisceptrum
Pitted onion Allium lacunosum
Chinese houses Collinsia concolor
Sticky monkeyflower Mimulus aurantiacus
Pink sand verberna Abronia umbellatta
Dwarf rockcress Boechera parishii
Desert willow Chilopsis linearis
Goosefoot violet Viola purpurea
Mountain phlox Phlox austromontana
Cold desert phlox Phlox stanburyi
California flannelbush Fremontodendron californicum
Sandblossoms Linanthis parryae
Panamint mountain lupine Lupinus magnifricus
Bajada lupine Lupinus concinnus
Stinging lupine Lupinus hirsutissimus