Winter into spring in Southern California

Snow had fallen on all of San Diego’s mountain ranges just the day before we departed on our spring wildflower trip and I was tempted to engage the trailer’s flux capacitor once again to facilitate passage over the mountains, but I thought it would be more scenic to carefully weave our way around the mountains to our destination, Palm Canyon Campground in the Southern California desert. This amount of winter snow does not happen often here and when it does, people pour out of the city in bumper-to-bumper traffic just to romp in the snow and throw snowballs.  Indeed, traffic slowed enough for Larry to take this snowy winter scene as we slowly approached Santa Ysabel.

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(This is as close as our trailer ever gets to snow.)

Sun, warmth and colorful wildflowers greeted us at our campsite in the Anza-Borrego Desert.  See the current wildflower report for this area here.

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(Wild Heliotrope is seen in foreground.)

We camped during part of the festive season of Mardi Gras.  Seen on our camp table are Mardi Gras beads in the three symbolic colors of Mardi Gras, purple (justice), gold (power), and green (faith).  Also seen on the table are freshly cut flowers from our home garden and Larry’s delicious, homemade Craisin oatmeal cookies (my favorite breakfast treat with coffee).

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Larry turned them into Mardi Gras cookies by carefully topping them with crystallized sugar in the appropriate colors and adding silver dragées.  Also seen below is the Commedia dell’arte mask of Arlecchino.

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Mardi Gras is also celebrated by wearing masks.

According to the Wikipedia article, “New Orleans Mardi Gras“, processions and wearing of masks in the streets took place in the 1700s.

Larry is seen here wearing the Commedia dell’arte mask of Il Capitano, a character that Larry once portrayed at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire.  Wearing this mask, he surprised the rangers at the Ranger Station as he delivered these cookies!

This year the Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Irwindale, Ca is open Sundays and Saturdays, April 9 – May 22, 2011.

The Annual Arizona Renaissance Festival & Artisan Marketplace is currently open every Saturday and Sunday through April 3, 2011.

Although it was sunny and springtime-warm during our five days of camping, it had recently been on the chilly side and the wildflowers had yet to peak.  But due to recent rains here, the vegetation was green and lush.

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When we were there, there were more flowers near the campground and along the .6 mile cement sidewalk to the Visitors Center than on the Borrego Palm Canyon Nature Trail, including:

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Sand Verbena (above) and Barrel Cactus (below).

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For many, it has been a thorny winter.  But now that the snow is melting and the weather is warming and the trees are budding and the flowers are blooming and the bees are buzzing and the birds are singing and nesting we are grateful to be here and happy to be moving gently from winter into spring.

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