I have been hiking in the western Colorado desert for about 40 years, and this year is something special.

With all the spring rains, the desert is alive with all kinds of wildflowers, and some of them I have not seen before.

There are fields of sego lilies, Indian paintbrush, scorpion weed and more. And the fragrances are amazing.

While I enjoy seeing wildflowers along a trail, this year I don't even have to go that far to see them. My backyard in the Redlands is full of them.

Colorado National Monument is a great place to view the blooms, but just about anywhere in the western Colorado desert will do. Get out to see them now as the summer heat is coming, and they soon will be gone.

As far as photographing them, try for a day without wind. It is very hard to take pictures of a moving target. And get close. Most cellphone cameras will work just fine.

My thanks to the lovely ladies at the Colorado State University Extension for their help with identifying these flowers.

Happy trails.

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