All It Took Was Water

As the big dogs disappeared into the deep grass it was obvious just how much they enjoyed chasing each other through the lush green field.

The only way we could see where they were was when the tips of their tails occasionally bobbed along the top of grass, it was good to back in a land of green. 

While hiking through the oak and chaparral filled canyons of Southern California’s Santa Monica Mts it was hard to believe the changes that had taken place since we had last been there just two months ago.

The prolonged drought that had been affecting the western states for years had devastated vegetation everywhere. Now it all looked very different.

Our Favorite Valley In The Santa Monica Mts For Dog Walks

 The winter of 2016/17 changed life in the Southwest in many ways.

For the past 6+ years the west had endured such a severe dry spell that crops began to wither, produce prices rose, lakes dried up, local residents traded in their lawns for cacti and rocks and washing your car could come with a fine.

Hillside At California’s Poppy Preserve

Now reservoirs had refilled, dying forests had a chance to recover, people were back to watering their lawns again and the deserts had been transformed into a paradise of lush foliage.

In November and December we were staying at my mom’s house in Thousand Oaks California.

The long range forecasts were predicting waves of storms to pound the western states for the foreseeable future.

We began to realize this was not the optimum place for to us to be for the next few months.

Along The Big Sur Coast

We considered heading for the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico but the approaching storms were predicted to reach that far inland.  

Datura Along The Coast Santa Monica Mts National Park Near Point Mugu

Having experienced heavy rain in the Sonoran deserts before we were not excited about the potential for flash flooding while boon docking.

While planning our escape we monitored several long term weather forecasting websites. It soon became evident we needed to travel further afield.

Santa Monica Mountains National Park

Local news headlines read-

“Atmospheric Rivers to Bring a Mess of Snow, Ice, Flooding Rain to the West”

“Endless stream of snow, rain as Atmospheric River hits West”

“Rivers in the sky causing widespread chaos in California”

“California’s Snowpack, Could Be One of Deepest Recorded in State History”

One of the things we love about living on wheels is that it allows us to easily follow the weather that keeps us warm and dry.

Our objective is to monitor and track the perfect “72 and Sunny” forecast.

Desert Sunflower Anza Borrego State Park

Forecasters were predicting more extreme wet weather for the entire west coast through January and February.

It was then an easy decision to speed east until we found more moderate conditions.

For several days we were eastbound with dark clouds looming in our rear view mirrors.

It wasn’t until we reached central Texas that we finally found what we were looking for.

Giant Coreopsis Along The Coast Near Point Mugu

It turned out the Texas Hill Country was just far enough from the west coast and the gulf coast to provide perfect conditions. 

Once there we slowed our pace and spent two glorious months wandering around Texas enjoying its great weather and the friendly locals before heading back to the west coast.

Remember our adventures in Texas at the links below:

Luckenback Texas, 

Austin Texas,    

Big Bend Ranch State Park Texas

Desert Lily Anza Borrego State Park

But what we found when we returned to the western deserts was nothing short of  amazing.

After the non-stop waves of rain subsided the parched deserts had been transformed into a colorful paradise of lush growth.

Datura Close-Up

We began to notice the change as we entered New Mexico and Arizona. Along the interstates the once brown and barren hillsides were now green and ablaze with purple, yellow and red flowers.

There was new growth everywhere.

Even The Cacti Were Blooming

Trees that were near dead were once again leafing out and even the cacti were plump and full of water.  There were vibrant colors as far as one could see. 

Along Interstate 10 Near Bowie AZ

Anza Borrego State Park and Joshua Tree National Park were in the midst of full blown super blooms of epic proportions.

Thousands of people traveled to these parks on the weekends to witness this rarely seen spectacle.

Chia Joshua Tree National Park

The California Poppy Preserves were the most vibrant we had ever seen. There were long lines of cars plying the back roads on the weekends.

Fiddleneck Near The Poppy Fields

Trees and shrubs that had not bloomed in years were alive and proliferous.

Barrel Cactus Blooms in Anza Borrego SP

Hillsides within Carrizo Plains State Park produced outstanding flower displays.

Carrizo Plains State Park

Even the lower elevations of the High Sierra were coming alive with spring flowers.

Lupine Near Fossil Falls BLM Campground Southern Sierra

The epic winter that had set so many new precipitation records had completely energized and changed the desert into a fantastic display of color and growth.

But more importantly it had ended the many years of severe drought… for the time being.

 

In the end we may have been forced to drive long distances to find a more temperate climate but this enabled us to discover new places, meet new people and partake in Texas barbecue. 

Apricot Mallow

We will never forget last winters explosion of color, fields of green and the perfumed aromas of blooming flowers and …. all it took was water.

Don’t miss our latest Video below “All It Took Was Water”

Slip in the ear buds and enjoy the soundtrack

 

Stay tuned for the next Gone With The Dogs adventure!

Keep you posted! 

12 thoughts on “All It Took Was Water

  1. Beautiful, simply, beautiful. Those of us on the East Coast are finally getting rain, but the flowers out West are just beautiful, Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Your photos are comparable to the most vibrant paint palettes…stunning…and you have captured the most fascinating details of a beautiful flower. The features of that iPhone “9” are awesome. Wonderful video too…love seeing your pups at play. That eclectic song collection continues to make sure I keep the buds wax free.

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    1. As usual your comments make us feel like floating on cloud 9- thank you, It was a stunning spring and we were lucky to have spent some of it with you 4. I wear headphones to reduce the wax situation 🙂

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  3. Beautiful photos and video. This was a wonderful year of blooms and green. So good to see plants thriving and lakes full again. Thanks for posting this reminder.

    Like

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