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Friday, January 16, 2009

Plan a Desert Flower Trip

For some reason the desert is always described as an arid and lifeless environment. In reality though, nothing could be farther from the truth. In late winter and early spring, for instance, the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico are just exploding with beautiful displays of wildflowers and cactus blossoms.

Just how great the flower displays are in any given year depends largely on how wet the winter was: the more water the desert gets in winter, the better the flower displays. Timing is also crucially important and often just a few days can mean the difference between a spectacular display and one that's much less exciting. Late March and early April seem to be particularly good in southern Arizona (around the Tucson area), but again, it really depends on weather. There are a lot of online sources that update desert flower conditions on a day-to-day basis, so the best thing to do (especially if your travel plans are flexible) is to keep on eye on those sites and then try to guestimate when the peak time will occur.

One good place to start your research is the Desert USA site where you'll find up-to-date info on flowering conditions in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. There's no place quite as beautiful or as mysterious as the desert when it's in flower, so it's absolutely worth the effort it takes to get there!

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