Brown-eyed Evening Primrose can be seen at the end of DiGorgio Road at the north edge of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Photo by Chris Stone

The coveted super bloom at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park was teasing visitors Sunday — with some spots exploding in color but many still quiescent.

But two years after Flowergeddon — the term assigned to bottleneck traffic in Borrego Springs — the recent winter rains could bring another flood of humanity.

No matter what, Judy Stewart is back to reprise her tip service.

“We’re thinking by mid-March it should start hitting,” Stewart said at her post in the shade of the park Visitors Center. “And it could expand literally through April — if it doesn’t get too hot.”

At the park visitor center, volunteer Judy Stewart points out the areas that have the most abundance of wildflower blooms in the Borrego Springs area. Photo by Chris Stone

Or if the caterpillars don’t devour the blossoms.

Stewart, a volunteer guide who “lives across the street; I just walk over,” said in 2017 she arrived at the center at 7:30 a.m. before thousands from around the world flocked to the flora.

On Sunday, she used a pointer on a large map and offered printouts with areas highlighted in pink.

Times of San Diego visited three of four hot spots, including the northern end of DiGiorgio Road (take a wide, easy trail a quarter-mile east) and spots along county Highway 22 a half-hour east of town in the Borrego Badlands.

They were heavy with tall Arizona Lupine and ground-covering purple Desert Sand Verbina.

Story continues below

The DiGiorgio Road patch featured many varieties, but especially large patches of yellow Desert Sunflower — swaying in a buffeting wind.

After passing through Julian that morning (with temps around 40 degrees), we shed coats and sweaters for desert highs in the low 70s as we joined hundreds of trekkers with cameras and phones.

Parked along the road were cars with licenses from Texas, Wisconsin and Manitoba, Canada. And that was only one 50-foot stretch.

Among the shutterbugs was Brian Remas of University Heights, showing some friends around the flowers.

Remas said his family had made the winter pilgrimage since he was a toddler. Now, in his early 30s, he comes to “mellow out from city life.”

Several websites are reporting the start of Flowergeddon II, including the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association, which offers updates from botanist Kate Harper.

There’s a Facebook page devoted to the bloom, and even apps for identifying species.

But also be prepared for the weather. Bring plenty of water, and even tweezers. The sand may look clean but it hides tiny needles of desert cacti like the jumping cholla.

Show comments