I woke up from my dreams to grab my Nikon camera to catch the sun before it bore down on the Airstream Safari trailer, flowers, and bighorn sheep, as a heat wave broke over the San Diego area.
It was already warm even before the sun pierced the horizon of the Anza-Borrego Desert.
Ocotillo leaves and flowers were shriveling up while back at camp, the trailer was making a valiant effort to keep cool by flying its sails and having all windows and vents open and numerous fans running. (See “Desert heat“)
By early morning an important decision was made to close up the Safari and turn on the air conditioning for our and our corgis’ safety and comfort. Dogs can get hyperthermia easily as we found out when our corgi Tasha vomited several times late one afternoon, but quickly recovered the next day (See signs of heat exhaustion).
Before it got too hot, we chatted with our neighbors, Bev and George, who were thrilled to see a mother quail and four chicks again this spring (as they had in previous years).
Although bighorn sheep are known to eat agave and other cacti such as hedgehog cactus, they seem to prefer to eat softer textured plants when available. As the desert vegetation begins to dry up, the bighorn sheep have been seen coming down off the nearby protective mountains and hills in search of food near the campsites.
After their campground picnic,* they retreated to a nearby hill to rest and talk.
As I gently, quietly, and slowly approached, some of them seemed to recognize me from my first closeup encounter with them five years ago. The 14 sheep in this herd, positioned themselves to detect danger from any direction, yet seemed perfectly relaxed during my 40-minute photo shoot.
For me, it was like a dream… and a fitting way to say “Goodbye” until we return next season when the cooler air, rains, and flowers return. I waved to them as I left them to dream of rain and flowers in the desert sand.*
Red Torch Cactus, Echinopsis huascha (Near Agua Caliente Regional Park Entrance Station)
*This is a YouTube video.