February desert love

The 15-day Chinese New Year celebration had just come to a close as the full Wolf Moon, also known as the Hunger Moon, rose in the cool, clear night sky amid shimmering stars and howls of coyotes as we settled in for five nights of camping in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Our festive campsite was in stark contrast to the dark and closed section of the southern non-hook-up section of Borrego Palm Canyon campground on the other side of the Palo Verde tree, due to state budget constraints.  We noticed that there were fewer park rangers and more camp hosts than ever before.

With the help of volunteers, the park’s Visitor Center remains open and is a delight to visit.  Dogs are permitted on the 0.6-mile “trail”, which is actually a cement sidewalk that traverses the desert from the campground to the Visitor Center.  Our dogs love this walk and often wildlife is spotted along the way, such as this Black-tailed jackrabbit (a previous image of mine, showing jackrabbits in their natural habitat, will be seen in an exhibit in the Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott, Arizona, later this year).

The only bighorn sheep seen on this trip were in the form of brass handles on either side of the Visitor Center’s massive wooden doors.

Honey bees were busy collecting pollen from Jojoba flowers nearby the Visitor Center.  Jojoba foliage is eaten by bighorn sheep and its nuts are eaten by rabbits.  Lower than expected rainfall in the area since January 1st could threaten the display of spring wildflowers expected next month.

The sun dipped below the nearby mountain ridge as we lit our teacandle lanterns and enjoyed dinner under the stars as we celebrated the upcoming Valentine’s Day and our 41st Anniversary.

Al Green got it right when he sang, “Let’s Stay Together.”