Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Early Morning at Stirrup Tank

Got up around 5:30 this morning and drove out to Stirrup Tank Road, a right turn just past Twin Tanks and White Tank Campground. At the end of the road (about a mile) you can park and boulder around the area until your heart's content. There are some great views of the area from up top. I usually pack a lunch and find a nice little flat spot up there where I can enjoy my repast and catch a little catnap before ambling back down to the basin. It's somewhat hard to catch the breadth of the area on camera, so I made a panoramic (click on to make larger) of the rocks and got a couple of shots of the intriguing, sculpted rock faces. It's easy to spend the whole day in there, just meandering around and watching the light change. On the way out, I saw the Datura were blooming and got a couple of close ups. In fact, there are still a lot of flowers blooming at this time. The Desert Sienna is, I would say, 'blasting' forth, so much brilliant yellow everywhere. The Paper Bag bushes are running riot and the Creosotes are exploding with blossoms. Look down at your feet and you'll see these little, delicate, pale purple blossoms in groups. A nice end to May.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Nolinas Are Blooming In Hidden Valley

May is certainly one of the best times to visit the desert. Practically everything seems to be blooming: The area is festooned with Lemon yellow Desert Senna, Bright red Indian Paintbrush, Blue-purple Parish Larkspur, Grape-purple Desert Lupine, Soft violet Wild Heliotrope, Bright yellow Paper Daisy, and golden Sunflowers among others.  The weather is perfect right now, cool in the morning, in the 80's during the day and lovely at night, you simply can't beat it.  We took the Hidden Valley Nature Trail just before sunset the other night and what a beautiful sight to behold. The Nolinas are in full bloom and look like golden flames when back lit by the setting sun. Try to go either early morning or late afternoon for best light. It's one of the best 1 mile hikes in the park with a great variety of plant life and rock formations. We always take our guests there and they never fail to love the walk.