Joshua Tree National Park was having a rather spectacular wildflower bloom and most areas were overrun with tourists so we decided to put on our backpacks and get away from it all and sleep under the stars for the night. We walked through miles of wildflower filled rocky washes like this one.
The variety of flowers we saw was stunning - these are just some of the ones I managed to get good photographs of!
We slept surrounded by wildflowers - it was magical!
We saw a lot of hungry caterpillars devouring the wildflowers (left) and I thought this flower on the right resembled a caterpillar.
We didn't see a lot of wildlife but we enjoyed seeing these beautifully patterned lizards in the wash.
After our visit to Joshua Tree, we headed west to the Coachella Valley to explore the Desert-X land art installations. This interactive sculpture near the Salton Sea invited visitors to climb the staircases engraved with words in English and Spanish.
This coral-like architectural work (above) is designed to be attractive to humans and sea-life: a nod to the past when the Coachella Valley was under a great sea and an ominous connection to the future when the area may be submerged once again because of climate change and sea-level rise. This lacey cast metal sculpture (detail photo below) was painted pink in honor of one of the preferred colors of the Annenbergs and the nearby Palm Springs area.
Sunnylands is the historic Annenberg Estate in Palm Springs and the estate grounds are beautiful landscaped in the most amazing arrays of cactus I've ever seen.
We spent a half day doing one of the best hikes in the Coachella Valley: Ladder Canyon in the Mecca Hills Wilderness outside of the town of Mecca near the Salton Sea. Ladder Canyon is a very narrow slot canyon (left) with very high dry waterfall drops. A local hiking group has set up aluminum ladders (right) that enable you to climb the dry falls which makes the hike fun & adventurous instead of a technical rock climb. Our friend Steve is climbing the ladder.
We drove past the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve on our way back home to the Bay Area and the bloom was amazing. We didn't even go into the reserve (they were turning cars away because it was full) and this was the view outside of the reserve - it was deep orange poppies as far as the eye could see!
Thank you for taking the time to check out my photo essay!