Word on the street is that the desert is in full bloom, so yesterday Jodie & I had to get out and see for ourselves. Truth is, the reports were far understated! We have been spending springtime in the Big Bend of Texas for 44 years, and never have we seen the desert so green, so lush, and so spectacular!
On the way to Big Bend National Park we stopped along the highway to enjoy the carpet of flowers that laid out before us like a sea of yellow, blending into green grasses growing high onto the slopes of the low hills…punctuated by the cotton-white blooms of the yucca. The pole in the photo is a remnant of early power lines that reached from Marathon to outlying ranches, running along the fence lines that followed the early unpaved roadways:
With Santiago Peak looming in the low clouds, the marigolds seem to glow in the soft light:
More colors mix in with the splendor:
As we head south along the main park road, the bluebonnets form a gauntlet of blues and greens for miles, unlike anything we’ve ever seen here:
Along the road to Dagger Flats, the bluebonnets mix with other splashes of color along the dry creek drainages, far from the roadway:
Officially lupinus havardii, these bluebonnets grow 3-4 feet high, much larger than their smaller cousins familiar to the hill country and north Texas. Here, a variation I call “albino,” are solid white bluebonnets that appear sporadically in with the more common blue colors:
Shadowed by the ocotillo, with its green leaves, thorns and orange-red seed pods:
Unknown purple blossoms share the ground cover with yellows, pinks and whites:
Common prickly pear are exploding with yellow blossoms, attracting indespensible bees to do their pollenation dance:
More prickly pear, shadowed by the creosote bush, so named for the creosote odor released by crushing its green leaves, with its small yellow blossoms:
The deep crimson blossoms of the strawberry hedgehog are just magnificent:
The delicate reddish maroon bell-shaped flowers of Potts Mammillaria only grow to a diameter of about 1/2″, but are a treasure to find:
More prickly pear and strawberry cactus blossoms:
Conspicuously missing this year is the indian paintbrush, these the only two blooms we found on our outing:
The undulating dry drainages snaking through the hills are literally flowing with motion in the wind, here far from their normal habitat along the roadways:
More lilac along the way home:
All that is left to say, on this Easter Sunday, is how great is God’s Arboretum!
Photography and Travel, specifically adventure travel and backpacking in remote North America, give me an excuse to stay outside. If kayaks, bikes, backpacks, Jeeps, archeology, geology and wildlife can be included, all the better. Having spent my life working in the fashion and photography industries, I love the unusual, the spectacular, and the beautiful. God has given us a wonderful world in which to live, and I try to open others’ eyes to its wonders. I have shared nearly 50 years of this indescribable wonder with my wife, Jodie, and we go everywhere together. I hope you will share some of our journey with us.
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