Saturday, March 8, 2008

Anza-Borrego Wildflowers...

We're back from our trip out to the Anza-Borrego Desert. How was it?

It was very good, but not quite prime yet. The stretch of S-2 between Ocotillo and the Carrizo Badlands Overlook is nice, with plenty of flowers – but the ocotillos are in bud (at best), and you see more buds and small plants than you do flowers. The overlook it self has a fair number of young and very fresh-looking lupine, and several other wildflowers are also quite abundant. One of the hills at the overlook has a yellow wash. Baby lupine plants are everywhere.

Further north, up the South Carrizo Creek, we found verbena (lots of it), and a few other flowers – including the lovely desert lily (Hesperocallis undulata) above. We found perhaps ten or twelve desert lilies in full bloom, a roughly equal number in bud, and around 100 plants too young to even have buds. That's more desert lilies than I've ever seen on such a brief walk. Desert lily fans (of which I am one) are in for a treat this year, I think.

We walked up a draw that we've been to many times before, but don't know it's name. It's in a wilderness area, on the east side of S-2, a few miles south of the Butterfield RV park. It was also early in the season for it, but there were lots of Mexican poppies and miniature barrel cacti to enchant us.

We ended the trip by four-wheeling up Oriflamme Canyon. In the lower reaches, a blue wildflower was profuse, forming large dense patches of a saturated deep blue color amongst the emerald green foliage of this wet year. Really, really lovely. On the lower hills, usually high on the south or southwest faces, were large patches of California poppies. At this point we didn't have the energy to hike up to them, but I'm planning to go back next week to see them.

I took about 250 photos today; I'll post more tomorrow...


Have you ever looked at some unfamiliar source code and found yourself confused about the purpose of some parameters in method invocations? Take the following little snippet:
PuppyBlender pb = new PuppyBlender();
Puppy pup = new Puppy("Fido");
pb.blend(pup, true);
What on earth does that “true” parameter mean? The only way you can find out, given the code above, is to go look at the documentation or source code for the PuppyBlender class.

There's an easy way to write such code without the ambiguity:
PuppyBlender pb = new PuppyBlender();
Puppy pup = new Puppy("Fido");
boolean pulseMode = true;
pb.blend(pup, pulseMode);
One little extra line of code, and now we've made the purpose of that parameter quite clear. Modern compilers will optimize that variable out, so there's no performance impact at all.

Just clarity.

Wildflower Trek...

I am leaving shortly with some friends to drive out to the southern parts of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park – along state route S2, northwest of Ocotillo, California. Several reports from a week ago say that the wildflowers were just starting, so we're hoping that we hit the beginning of the prime season today. If it really is a good wildflower year, then the next several weeks should be great!

I am going armed with my camera, of course, so you'll know by the photos whether we were successful in our quest...