Yesterday we rented a car and drove east to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (with a stop in Julian for apple pie). It's quite a switch from the urban seascape of San Diego, to the rural mountains and forests around Julian, then down to the harsh desert of Anza-Borrego.
(Click to enlarge) Our initial impression was of harsh, rocky sterility, matched in our experience only by the Sinai in Israel.
(Click to enlarge) These backlit cholla cactus show that there is some life in the desert.
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(Click to enlarge) And the chuparosa were out in profusion.
(Click to enlarge) Near the oasis at the head of Palm Canyon, papyrus and cattails thrived in a pool of water. So, as always the case, the desert is not dead, and adaptations to the harsh environment are remarkable.