Tuesday, January 29, 2019

a little more desert

It just occurred to me that all of you may not find these rocky deserts beautiful, that you may feel our forays into it are boring and redundant with nothing but rocks and cactus and sand.

 If so, I'm sorry, but you're about to see a few more pictures of the same scenery.     We think it's beautiful in it's starkness, in it's hugeness and it's tiny details.    And, then there are the small, meek flowers just beginning to show themselves.

desert pincushion

Pam and John, Dave and I left our RV park Sunday afternoon on a mission.   To check out the wildflowers near Arroyo Salada for the last time and to enjoy a sunset happy hour together at Font's Point.

desert chickory

Pam noticed this tiny pencil cholla

On our way to Font's (Fonts) Point we parked the Jeep and hiked out to a small stone bench placed high on a rocky knoll, called Burk's Bench.   It commemorates the gift of 1600 acres of surrounding land by the Burks family.   The views are similar to those seen at Font's Point, but on a more private level.

Pam and John examining the box under Burk's Bench

Under the bench is a small metal box containing a journal to sign your name or make whatever comment you wish.    It also, thoughtfully, contained a lighter and one small marijuana bud to perhaps enhance your experience.

No one as far as the eye can see......

Can you see the Jeep?

We looked back at the trail (a wash really) we hiked in on,  trying to see where we left John's Jeep.   Can you spot it?


how about now?   (hint - we see the sun reflecting off it's window)

After enjoying the view and the total silence, we hiked back to the Jeep and continued along to Font's Point and our happy hour.    We hoped that, because it was a Sunday afternoon, we might have the place to ourselves, but that wasn't to be.      Pam and John did a great job of finding a nice, private spot on the edge of the overlook and set up their chairs.

We all enjoyed the end of a nice day together and our adult beverages.   The sunset, however, never materialized.   We drove back through the desert in the dark, an enjoyable and rather otherworldly experience!

After golf today Mother Nature finally gave us the perfect sunset we were waiting for at Font's.   What's a day or two?

Saturday, January 26, 2019

a couple more desert drives

One day last week Dave and I got into the Jeep and drove down the road next to our RV park.   We drove through the thick citrus groves, lemons and oranges, that line Di Giorgio Road and on past where the pavement ended.      It was a beautiful, sunny day and we wanted to see how far into the desert we could go.

We didn't notice very many wildflowers along this route, but we were amazed at how many beautiful, blooming Ocotillos we saw in every direction.

We're always delighted when we discover water in the desert and this route provided us with three individual water crossings.     None of them were deep, just deep and rocky enough to have a little fun!

Dave....did you forget someone?

At each one we took the time to get out and walk along the moving stream, just to see what we could see.

planes overhead always catch Dave's interest

A few miles after the last crossing our dirt track turned sharply up into the mountains and we followed awhile, until the going became extremely narrow and bouldery.    We knew this road would only continue a few more miles before stopping at a locked gate, so we decided not to push our luck on this section, and turned around for home.    Perhaps next time.

Yesterday, we (Pam and John, Dave and I) decided to make the long drive to the southern section of  Anza Borrego State Park and do a little more desert driving in an area we hadn't yet explored.    Anza Borrego State Park is the second largest park in the country and it's places of interest are spread out over many many miles.     From the time we left home until our turn off pavement onto the Mortero Wash, we traveled over an hour on local roads, sometimes through broad, flat valleys and sometimes on twisty mountain roads (S-22, S-3, Rt.78, and S-2).   

I didn't take many pictures on this drive, but we had a very good time'll have to take my word for it.

We came to a long, defunct railroad track (completed in 1919 and connecting San Diego and Yuma, AZ)  and it's remaining water tower.

Nearby is a hike to one of the oldest Native American Campsites in Anza Borrego State Park, and further along the tracks another hike leads to the Goat Canyon Trestle, one of the largest free standing wooden trestles in the world.   In fact, these old tracks once moved it's trains over 14 trestles and 21 tunnels.     Doing some research on this area, Pam discovered that the Goat Canyon Trestle has been recently (October) closed to any visitation - darn!    I also found out that hiking along these old tracks is illegal but often facilitates illegal immigrants escaping from Mexico.

After exploring the tracks and its surrounds we continued along their path, looking for a cave with pictographs - Pietra Grande.

get out of the way John, here we come!

The road went up and down a fair bit and we made a few miss starts eventually ending in an extremely narrow and rocky canyon.    Since we had one more spot we wanted to investigate, a few miles away,  we turned around at that pinch point and made our way back to the highway.       

not enough room for us anymore.....

Lots of beautiful rocks and cactus along the route.

Our next stop was down in Canyon Sin Nombre.   We decided it would be a perfect place for lunch.

This is a favorite place.   It's walls narrow, the path rocky and sandy and the fantabulous (that may or may not be a word, but it really fits) rock formations and shapes shot through with twists of pure white, black and shiny gold.

John tries to climb the "waterfall"     Oh John......

Today is Saturday, and by next Saturday we'll be in Tucson.   I can't believe a month has almost gone by.  It's always hard to leave this area, there are so many more places left to explore.....and rounds of golf to be played.    We'll do our best to make the most of our remaining few days.   Stay tuned and stay warm to our dear friends in the frozen east.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Sunny days in Borrego

There has been golf, two or three times a week. 

Yesterday was really the first day we could all go into the desert and explore, what with the sickness and the rain and the golf.

We decided to drive on the Borrego Mountain loop which sounded like it would include some familiar areas and some brand new places to check out.     We were unhappily surprised almost immediately after leaving the paved road.   We drove down our sandy road and right into a large group of people and little tents and tables and port-a-pottys  set up in the desert before us.   I took no pictures, hoping that if I didn't look at them, they wouldn't be there.    Evidently it was an  Orienteering Festival doing their organized thing for the weekend.     We continued past (through) them and turned into Hawk Canyon where we encountered more Orienteers and then a Boy Scout Troop group camp out.    Ugh.      After turning around we continued along the agreed upon route hoping that these were the last folks we'd meet.    They were.

no one as far as the eye can see....see our little Jeep?

  We had a wonderful time driving down sticky, wet San Felipe wash (think clods of mud flying past my open window and sticking to the back of my legs when we got out at to explore), driving down the barren looking Hills of the Moon wash and then the tipsy (not as in tipsy drunk, but tipsy as in precariously tilted road) Rainbow Wash to it's ending point.

too gooey, too narrow?

John and Dave check out the wash from above


Hills of the Moon wash turned out to be just too wet for us to chance this day.   The recent rains had not had enough time to soak in and the going was slippery and deep.

Rainbow Wash, however, was just perfect, albeit narrow and uneven in many spots.   All the more fun!     Last year we tried this wash and couldn't get very far before we had to get out and walk.    This time we made it all the way to it's end and had lunch there.

Font's point as seen from below (point at the top right)

We were directly below Font's Point, a favorite viewpoint over these badlands.

Mona Lisa took this picture of us up on Font's Point, looking down into the badlands in 2017

turn around point at the end of Rainbow Wash

lunch spot in the badlands

After lunch we retraced our "steps" back down Rainbow Wash to the wide San Felipe Wash to find our next point, Blow Sand Canyon.    After many, many back and forth's (Dave is so very patient) we finally found the correct exit into Blow Sand canyon.    The way was deep, dry sand and filled with wildflowers!   The view from the top, standing in a drift of fragrant desert verbenas was so worth the bumbling to find it.

At the end of the canyon we followed Goat Trail along a narrow spine and eventually came back out into the mass of Orienteers.    Time to head home.

We finished our fun day with wood fired pizza at Keslings Kitchen in "downtown" Borrego Springs.   It was good, but we all decided not as good as Calico's pizza and more expensive to boot.

We drove into our RV Park to find out that they had a power outage earlier in the day (our phones were turned off so we missed their notification) and it still wasn't resolved.    Oh well.   Dave and I read awhile but then gave in and went to bed very early figuring we had had a busy day!    Power was restored sometime near midnight as near as we can figure.

Today is football day, and haircut day and pork chop/sauerkraut day and lunar eclipse day.    Hope the sky stays clear!