Solbit’s reward, a desert palm oasis

Dear Nicalai,

Our reward for a long uphill hike came into view long before we got there: a desert palm oasis.  Have you ever been to a palm oasis before? It has water that bubbles up from under the ground.  These big palm trees grow there and create shade.  The shade makes the place pleasantly cool.  Papa said he’d like to take a nap here.

This oasis is in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California.

This oasis is in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California.

I think the palm trees here are called California Fan Palms.  I kept looking for the switch to turn their fans on, but Papa explained that I was wasting my time.  Yeah, palm trees aren’t hooked up to electricity.

Remember my last letter to you with the photo of me on a Beaver Tail Cactus?  Don’t waste your time looking for beavers either.  No beavers in this desert.  Well, I said I’d tell you more about our walk in the desert.

DSC02988

Cactus plants conserve water.

You might think the desert is just really dry and hot and full of dusty rocks.  It has all that, but what a lovely place, too.  It has all kinds of flowers.

Anza-Borrego State Park

Desert flowers look delicate but they’re tough to live in a desert.

The flowers have wonderful odors.  Nona said, “Solbit, you might want to use a different word than odors.”  “Like what word, Nona?”  I replied.  She suggested a word that’s new to me, but I’m going to try to use it a lot so I remember it.  Know what she suggested?  “Fragrances.” Yeah, “wonderful fragrances” or “the fragrances of flowers.”  I guess it does sound better than “flower odors.”

Also, Papa very, very carefully put me up on an Ocotillo plant.  It has really sharp stickers, but it gave me a good view — perspective — on the desert around me.

Ocotillo get pretty tall.

Ocotillo get pretty tall.

That’s when I asked, “Hey, what are all those holes in the desert floor, Papa?”  He told me, “Solbit, I’m going to set you down by one of those holes. You wait there until you see something.  OK?”

The desert floor has a lot of these holes.

The desert floor has a lot of these holes.

Next thing you know, I’m making friends with this little girl.  She’s some kind of bug, but I didn’t find out what kind.  Maybe you know?  I think she was giving off a smell that was not a fragrance. Nona said I could use the word odor, but maybe it wasn’t the bug. Maybe it was something rotting on the desert floor nearby.  I don’t know.  I’m still learning about these things.

Anza-Borrego State Park

Papa says I need to ask an entomologist what this bug is. They know all about insects.

We heard that the holes are also used by snakes and rodents, but I didn’t see those.  Given my size, probably it’s better that I didn’t see them when I was on the desert floor.  They could have mistaken me for an appetizer! Maybe next time we’re walking in the desert, I’ll see a snake, from the safety of Nona’s pocket.  That would be cool.

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

February 2014

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit’s Second Thoughts about the Desert

Dear Nicalai,

“Do I have to go?”  That was my first thought.  I almost said it, too.  Nona and Papa had just said, “Solbit, early buttonholes tomorrow. We’re going to the Anza-Borrego Desert!”  Hey, I don’t wear clothes, so I don’t have to button anything, but who wants to get up early to see a big, hot, dusty, empty expanse of crunched up rocks?

Anza-Borrega Desert State Park is in the Colorado Desert, but it’s not in the State of Colorado. No, it’s in southern California.  That confused me.

Anza-Borrega Desert State Park is in the Colorado Desert, but it’s not in the State of Colorado. No, it’s in southern California.  That confused me.

Then, I remembered our short excursion in the desert gardens at Rancho Mirage.  Wow, I had so much to see, and it was tiny.  So, my second thought was, and I did say this, “Can’t we just leave now? I can’t wait to see the desert again.”  Nona said, “No, we have to get our sleep tonight.”  That’s a problem with humans, you know.  They need their sleep.  We plastic Jurassics don’t sleep.

Our morning drive from Palm Springs to Borrega Springs took about two hours.  I kept saying, “Step on it, Papa!” He’d just say, “Speed limit, Solbit.  Gotta obey the traffic law.”  “Well, what about all those cars and trucks zipping by you?” I asked.  Nona said, “Solbit, remember that you don’t do what everyone else does.  You do what you know is right. Understand?”  I replied, “I guess.”

Anza-Borrego State Park

The outside covering of the cactus plant is tough and waxy to hold in water, so it won’t dry up in the hot sun.

Pretty soon, Nona had me on this rock out in the desert staring a this amazing plant.  Someone said that I could call it a “Beavertail Cactus” because its sections are wide and flat like a beaver’s tail.  By the way, I didn’t see any real beavers here in the desert, I think they need more water and less heat.

Oh, darn, Nona and Papa are going on another of their walks.  I have to close this letter now.  My next letter will be a lot more about our walk in the Colorado Desert, but, remember, we were in California all the time, not in Colorado.  Isn’t that confusing?  Why isn’t it called the California Desert?  That’s question for me to ask Nona.  Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

February 2015

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”