Saturday, January 10, 2009

A good day and a not so good day...

We are still camping at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in Southwest California and really enjoying our stay. It is a beautiful park with great sites that have lots of room to relax. We are surrounded by mountains on 3 sides and about 2 miles from the very small town of Borrego Springs. Here is a shot of our campsite. Please note the blue sky.
We have shown the ocotillo cactus on this blog but this is the first time we found some with flower blooms on them. The bright red flowers are very unique and...
a closer look shows how beautiful they really are. Just had to share this as it's something you would never see back home.

One of the most popular hikes here in the park is the 3 mile roundtrip up and down the valley to Palm canyon. The start of the trip was pretty easy and a well defined trail. Well, that didn't last for long for as soon as we got around the hill on the right it turned into a narrow canyon with lots of large boulders.

I dare you to pick the trail out so you just make your own. This is at about the 1 mile mark and you can just see the top of the Palms in the middle of the picture. Still had to figure out how to get up to it with out crossing the stream several times.

Some places it got a little tight to get through but we made it.

What an interesting site as the only thing growing in this canyon is the palms as a spring starts just above the grove and then disappears back into the ground about a half mile below the grove.
Jackie had to get a shot of Dick on top of another large rock before we started back down.

A last look over our shoulders and it was time to head back to the ranch. This was the good day but...

The next day was another white knuckle drive day. The park offers a "tailgate tour" to various parts of the park with a Ranger, so we thought it would be fun to take the one to "upper coyote canyon". It did say that 4 wheel drive vehicle was required. Keep that thought in mind.
We met up with 4 other rigs and the park ranger about 35 miles from our campsite. We then traveled another 45 minutes to the top of the canyon. We shifted into 4 wheel drive and started into the canyon. The road, if you want to call it that, turned out to be straight down switch back with boulders sticking up at every turn. It was so narrow that with our large turning radius we had problems getting around some (read that "most") corners.
We finally got to the bottom only to be met by a mile of road with heavy bushes growing on both sides of the road and we both cringed as they raked down the side of our truck. We continued on for another few miles but when both running boards rubbed on rocks at the same time we decided the road was too narrow for us so we said goodbye and tried to see if we could get back up the side of the mountain. One good thing if we got stuck, when the other rigs turned around and headed out they had to get us out before they could proceed up the hill.
We stopped in a large wash after the other rigs went on down the road and had lunch. We were the only people in the valley and wow was it quiet. We snooped around the desert and just relaxed. We saw lots of animal tracks, but no animals (or even birds).
It was touch and go getting out as twice Jackie had to get out and direct Dick from side to side as he climbed out of a wash. With the truck pointing straight up in the air it's kind of hard to see where you are going!
I guess you can tell because we are posting this Blog that we finally made it. We did have to go up the mountainside in 4WD low range. And we agreed that in all the years of backroads, this had to be the absolute worst.

This picture was taken at the top where the road was a piece of cake. We stopped at this location because the day before the Ranger was snooping around some rocks here and found indications of it being a old Indian camp.

You are looking straight down into the valley that we had to go into. No the big wide road was not a road but a dry wash. The road we had to travel was that little narrow line in the middle of the picture that looks like a trail. I don't think I would even use this as a hiking trail!

This is the pile of rocks that the Indians camped in a very long time ago. We found large rocks where they ground roots and other food stuff.

Next time, remind us when it says "4 wheel drive required" to stay home (they really mean jeeps)!
To be continued...


michelle said...

Ok, this whole lifestlye choice of yours is really turning into a dangerous one. I'm glad you are ok but you are really making me worry about you guys now!

Deanna said...

Thanks for reminding us about the blue sky, like we really needed it.

I loved the closeup of the cactus flower. So cool.

Dick & Jackie said...

Don't worry, Michelle. I won't let Dad do anything really dangerous--just not the greatest on our truck. But this morning he washed the truck and rubbed out the scratches with wax. It looks so much better. Now he is busy washing the 5th wheel so it will be beautiful out in the desert at Quartzsite, getting dusty again! Jackie

Jen said...

You guys are pretty adventurous!