A Taste of Temecula Road trip, once again. This time to the Anza Borrego State Park with California Overland to catch the explosion of wild flowers this time of year. About an hour and a half drive through Warner Springs and over the Coyote Mountains, you land in the desert town of Anza Borrego. Known for it’s wild flowers during Spring, this year has been exceptional due to the El Nino rains.
Joe Rafetto, tour guide, driver and owner of California Overland gave a tour of a lifetime. Starting out on paved road that soon disappeared with a left hand turn into a dry river ravine the retired Army jeep headed deep into the state park, whipping passed dried desert willow branches and agave stalks, which stood nearly ten feet ready to bloom their yellow flowers which only appear every seven years.
We stopped for a hearty lunch provided with the tour at a quick running creek, green with desert grasses. We enjoyed the shade of large cotton woods and weeping willows. This was the main meet and greet time for the sixteen adventurers with whom we traveled. After an hour of conversation and very full, we clambered back into the jeep and headed to our next destination.
After a forty-five minute drive over both paved and dirt road we arrive at a bright white granite rock canyon, teaming with flowers on both sides. Brilliant colors all around, even the cactus had bright blooms of magentas and yellows. The gold brittle bush was prolific, along with the flames of the towering Ocotillo the canyon was alive and amazing. This was a photo opportunity for the novice to the professional and not one hesitated to take advantage of the time. Many of us wondered over rocks and decomposed granite to get that exact shot of these precious desert flowers, being especially careful not to disrupted the cactus. Warmer in this part of the park we took refuge in the jeeps shade, enjoying conversation and exceptionally cold lemon water that Joe had loaded just for this moment.
As more travelers trickled in we were lucky enough to notice high in the rocky side of the canyon a couple of red-tailed hawks had created their nest. A pair of binoculars revealed that the mother had two white hatchlings that she was feeding. This type of wild life is not something the average person gets to observe and we felt honored to be able catch this. One photographer happen to have a 400 lens and was able to capture amazing pictures of the hawk family in action. Back into the jeep, we reflected on our days adventures heading back to our starting point. Satisfied with our day and our capture of photos we headed home for Temecula.
California Overland offers several tours of different areas in the state Park, including overnights that include a barbecued steak dinner. California Overland is also touring the Julian area as well, with a tour of the wineries including lunch and wine tasting.
The tours would be best suited to older children as the jeep ride may be too much for smaller children and the tours are quite long. If you are visiting our area these adventures are highly recommend. You will not experience the blooming desert anywhere better than Anza Borrego. You can find Joe Rafeto and California Overland at califoniaoverland.com