Niebrugge’s; Artist and Photographer Hike Palm Canyon

Photographer, son Ron Niebrugge, and artist, mom Gail Niebrugge, spent a blustery, cool day in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park hiking up Palm Canyon together.  A big rain/snow storm was scheduled to arrive later in the evening and during the next day, the normally 80 degree plus temperatures were quite moderate for the canyon […]

Cactus and Sheep

Our last few days in the high California desert have been windy and cold, this morning it is raining and snowing again in the surrounding mountains.  Nevertheless, the early wildflower bloom has been very nice.  I’m sorry I have to leave before the full bloom but happy to have found so many pockets of truly […]

Flowering Barrel Cactus

Soon the tops of the barrel cactus will be crowned by a circle of yellow/green flowers in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park.  This plant is blooming early, most cactus just have the beginnings of tiny buds forming among the prickly thorns.  Within a few weeks the desert will be festooned with a riot of […]

New Creek on Palm Canyon Trail

Runoff from recent snow in the mountains last weekend created some beautiful fresh water creeks in the high desert of Anza Borrego.   A trail marker pointing the way for the Palm canyon trail stands in running water instead of the usual a dry wash.  The rains have brought the landscape alive, the soil and […]

Desert Lily Early Bloomer

We found a treasure trove of the beautiful wildflower Desert Lily while on a hike up a sandy wash along the foothills of of the Santa Rosa mountains in Borrego Springs.  Sometimes we can hike all day without seeing anything unusual and suddenly a little pocket of flowers will appear out of nowhere, that is […]

Fonts Point Desert Badlands View

After a night of heavy rain the sandy desert ground was solid and packed allowing us to easily travel the jeep trail to Fonts Point in 2 wheel drive.  With snow on the nearby Santa Rosa mountains the air was crisp and clear, a great day to explore the canyons, washes, and arroyos of the […]

Friday Market in the Desert!

Boy do I miss fresh vegetables in Alaska at this time of year, the Friday market at Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs is awesome!  We loaded up on vine ripened strawberries, oranges, tomatoes, fresh lettuce, and many more wonderful home made or home baked goodies.  Love it to find this in February 🙂 Gail Niebrugge, […]

Downpours Soak Desert

It has been wonderful to hike around the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park during a rainy period!  The rain intensifies color in the landscape and everything smells and looks fresh and clean.  Huge puddles appear out of nowhere and disappear in a day, the ground is soaking up the water and the desert plants are thriving.  […]

Rain in the Desert!

Woo Hoo, it rained today in Borrego Springs, the wildflower bloom should be outrageous!  The big Alaska cold front has arrived, I’m glad I’m here with a tiny bit of rain and 60º, a cold front in Alaska would be -40º.  People are such weather wusses down here.  This photo was taken during our hike […]

Finding the Elusive Bighorn Sheep

We spent another day in Palm Canyon, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, watching for the elusive Bighorn sheep.  Suddenly, out of nowhere people on the trail below us all stopped and pointed, we scanned the hillside and saw this single young ram.  Then we looked up the canyon on the opposite side just in time to […]

Hiking South Palm Wash

We found a sweet three mile hike just off Mile 38.8 on S22 in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park, California, the South Palm Wash.  Three trails begin at the same point; the Calcite Mine, Palm Wash Loop, and South Palm Wash.  We chose the latter because it was labeled “moderate” the other two were […]

Palm Canyon Trail

The Palm Canyon Trail in the San Ysidro Mountains is one of my favorite hikes in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park, the crystal clear flowing springs at the end of the boulder strewn path are a delight to reach especially on a hot day!  The 2.6 mile loop is promoted as a moderate level […]

Cholla Cactus Flowers

These are the first blooms I’ve seen on the Cholla Cactus this year. The Anza Borrego desert is alive in color, it has been a spectacular wildflower season. I’m sad to say that we have to leave soon, but anxious to get back to work in my studio in Alaska. More tomorrow, Gail Niebrugge, wildflower […]

Beavertail Cactus Blooms

The cactus are beginning to bloom in the desert, I especially love the vivid magenta of the Beavertail flowers. It is fun to hike and search for the early bloomers, it reminds me of an Easter egg hunt. More tomorrow, Gail Niebrugge, wildflower artist

Palm Canyon Oasis

I find myself returning to the Anza Borrego Desert Palm Canyon often, it is one of my favorite places in the park. On a hot day the clear, cool springs at the end of the canyon make the hike all the more worthwhile. More tomorrow, Gail Niebrugge, landscape artist

Squeezing through the Slot

Another great hike is a 3 mile treck through a winding slot canyon starting near Buttes Pass Road on Highway 78 east of Borrego Springs Road. Two state park volunteer naturalists guided our group as we squeezed and ducked our way through this Disneyesque landscape. We loved this canyon, but don’t want to be anywhere […]

Hike to Truckhaven Rocks

Returning back to the Anza Borrego Desert we took a group hike with a state park naturalist up one of the unnamed washes of the North Fork Arroyo Salado beginning about mile 35 on Hwy. S-22, to the Truckhaven Rocks. The sandstone lined wash is interesting, we were delighted to find a new plant or […]

Parish’s Poppy

Unlike the California Gold Poppy, the Parish’s Poppy is much smaller and grows in the Anza Borrego desert region of Southern Californina. It is fun to find these tiny golden wildflowers tucked among the boulders, or hidden in sandy washes. The desert is coming alive with yellow colored wildflowers during the peak of the bloom. […]


With the wildflower bloom at its peak, I’m hiking the Anza Borrego desert daily sketching and photographing. Last weekend the San Diego Union featured this spectacular bloom on its front page bringing hundreds of tourists to the park to see the wildflowers. During the week we have the place mostly to ourselves. It’s amazing to […]


The desert jackrabbits are big, their ears are half as tall as their bodies. They will hold very still seeming invisible, then suddenly burst out of the brush and tear across the ground lickety split. This one let me get quite close before he took off. They are gorging themselves on the green grass and […]

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