Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Last days

Yesterday Dave played his last round of golf here until next year.   It was a pretty good round and we all had fun on the beautiful course. 

Dave and John played, Pam caddied and I drove the trolley and did a bit of bird watching.   I used my new App (Merlin Bird ID) to identify a tiny Yellow Rumped Warbler (Audubon Warbler) in the trees near the tee at nine.

one of a group of bright Meadowlarks on two

Yellow Rumped Warbler (Audubon Warbler)

Afterward I went into "downtown" Borrego Springs to pick up one last Julian Pie for the road. (I have absolutely NO willpower)     We laugh every time we make a left out of one of the shops or stores there.   We look both way to make sure there isn't any traffic coming before we pull out.    This is what we see, every single time.    I love it!

Palm Canyon Drive - rush hour

Pam and John left today but, for some unknown reason, our month's stay ends tomorrow, so we spent the day bathing and clipping Lewis, doing a bit of financial business that I had been putting off and generally getting ready to move on in the morning.

the dog washing station is a new addition to the
dog park here.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Rocks and slots and Lewis

Friday was a rock day.   We collected Pam and John and headed off on a new adventure.    Our plan was to drive through Canyon Sin Nombre  and then continue along to investigate the Mud Caves.

the sand wash below leads into Canyon Sin Nombre

We took lunches, plenty of water, maps and a book detailing the mileage and some waypoints to guide us.

The beginning of the canyon had one rocky spot to navigate through, but from then on the trail was basically sand.    It's walls were beautifully colored.

We walked back a small side canyon and found a nice place to have our lunch,   We did a bit of further exploration before continuing on through the canyon.

Our maps showed a clear connection to the Mud Caves via a combination of named washes.    Some of the washes had small markers giving their names, some did not.     Following other people's tire tracks usually helps you stay in the main washes, sometimes not.    Wind and precipitation patterns change the look of these washes and navigating is not as straightforward as you'd like.

one narrow spot required extra care to drive through

 What starts out looking like a pretty simple A to B drive turns out to include some unplanned detours.      "Does this look familiar to you?"   "Hmmmm"   "What direction are we going in now?   Is that the way we're supposed to be heading?"   "Isn't there supposed to be a side wash right here?  The map shows another wash right here!"      "No matter what, we don't want to head toward Diablo Drop Off and Broken Shaft matter what....."

watching another vehicle go down Diablo Drop Off
(Yep, the one we weren't supposed to go to!)

Luckily we always end up in the correct place, the place we were heading for, even with these little detours.   The only problem is that they eat up time and daylight and we never really get enough time to fully satisfy our curiosity!   We do see a lot of the countryside though....

We explored a few slot canyons and peered in some of the fabled mud caves before continuing along towards home.

Pam peers

look up Dave!

we found such interesting mud "rocks" in the small slot canyons

an interesting "street sign" atop a hill
(what's up with the crutches?)

Since you've suffered through all these rock pictures, here's one of our sweet Lewis, snoring away on the couch last night.....


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Where do the days go?

We're busy.   A little this, a little that.  Exploration by Jeep on Saturday, golf on Sunday (one of Dave's better rounds), hiking on Monday, lunch out with new and old friends on Tuesday.

   After lunch Monday we followed Pam and John up Borrego Palm Canyon for a 3 1/4 mile hike to see one of the state's largest  palm oases.

do you see any sheep?
No, me either......

We were scanning the rocky canyon sides for Big Horn Sheep.   Pam has seen them here before.

No Dave, sheep don't wear green shirts.....

This is a popular trail in Anza Borrego State Park but it really wasn't very crowded, a happy surprise!

I love the double stripe in this boulder

We came across a lovely flowing stream well along the trail.   Just before the large oasis a recent boulder slide had blocked much of the rest of the path so I decided to let the rest of them go on without me.

this is where I stayed while the others climbed up to the large oasis at the
top of the picture

I potched around the water looking for frogs.  Pam and John startled a small one clinging to a rock as they were crossing the water but my photograph isn't good enough to show you.    I enjoyed my short wait, it was lovely and quiet with nothing but the babbling of the water and the soft shreeching of frogs.

Dave at the big oasis

After they came back down and collected me we all took an alternate trail back in order to see some Big Horn Sheep reported to be in the area.    It climbed about 90 feet up the opposite side of the canyon and then  made it's way back down to our starting point near the Park's campground.

Pam and John look for sheep while they wait for us to catch up

we had to watch our feet on this rocky trail so it was
slow going for us

In the end, we never did see any sheep.  We were all disappointed but it is what it is and we had a wonderful day nonetheless!

Today Pam and John's friends LuAnn and Terry drove over from Temecula and we joined them for lunch at Kesling's Kitchen in "downtown" Borrego Springs.
As seems to be my pattern, I took no pictures of people in the restaurant.....

lunchtime view of busy downtown Borrego Springs

But I did take a picture of the view from my seat.....and the outside of the Kesling designed building.

And lastly, here's a picture of what we see each morning while we enjoy second cup outside.    Lewis staring at the feet he sees moving around on the other side of Pam and John's motorhome next door - willing them to call him over to play.

And they do!   At least once a day they do........Oh Joy!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Sandstone Canyon

Yesterday was another desert drive.   This day John drove their Jeep and our destination was Elephant Knees and Sandstone Canyon (we actually never made it to Elephant Knees, but we have a little over a week left here so hopefully we'll revisit that area soon). 

Since we'd be driving through washes and into some narrow, steep walled canyons Pam wanted to take the Jeep's roof panels off for a better view.

John lifts the light roof panels easily

We've never opened our roof because I don't like riding in convertibles but took Pam's word that it would be a good thing.

She was right, she was really right!   No annoying wind whipping hair in my eyes and mouth, no watering eyes, no beating sun, no noise from passing traffic.
Just views of fantastic scenery that continued from the ground right up to the sky.

We drove down a wide sandy wash, through Split Mountain and past the fascinating anticline.

the tiny topless Jeep before the anticline

Dave marvels at the clear layers built up over millions of years

We stopped here and there whenever one of us needed a really close look at a rock or a plant or an interesting looking pour over or side canyon.    We climbed up one very cool pour over which looked like it had just solidified.   The walls were so smooth and swirly we could almost see the water flowing over them.

We followed it awhile and then decided that it's smooth ledges and shade would provide a perfect spot to stop for lunch.

aren't they colorful!

After lunch we continued along into the Canyon.   There were very narrow spots, slot canyons for cars!

see Pam's head sticking out the top of the Jeep?

At one point we felt we were being watched......Pam spotted this beautiful hawk high on a ledge above us.

the watcher

We finally came to the end of the road for the Jeep.   Rocks blocked our way so we left it, crawled over and continued our exploration on foot.

nope, don't want to drive over these.....

Pam leads the way

Pam and Dave emerge from a thorny side canyon -
with tiny holes in their arms and shirts

mud built up in this small hole reminded me of an ancient cliff dwelling

Dave and John lead the way back to the Jeep

Once back at the Jeep we met the only other people we'd seen all day and they were going past us into the canyon we'd just come from.   It was nearly 4 p.m. and with only an hour left of daylight we wondered whether they'd enjoy their drive as much as we did.....

 Driving back we took a little bumpy, unplanned detour through a side wash but were back on track before - anyone - got nervous and we were home before dark.

We stayed home most of today (well, if you don't count driving over the mountain to buy a Julian pie for dinner's desert).   Predicted high winds kept us out of the desert and off the golf course.    Tomorrow is another day.