Sunday, February 27, 2011

Another 3-Foot Snowfall

We knew this storm was going to be a biggie - but the prediction was for TWO feet, not THREE.  Nevertheless, we managed. We had three short (less than 5 minutes) power outages, which were just long enough to cause a panic, but not long enough to get the generator going or pull out the hand-crank sewing machine. We are enjoying the knowledge that this might be our last winter here - we have no intentions of staying in the house if we know a big storm's coming.  There's plenty of space at Anza-Borrego or even our local parks.

The lump on the left is my Jeep; the one on the right is Don's truck.

To the left of the posts is supposed to be a walkway; that's a road between our house and our neighbors's blue house.

After we cleared off the front of Don's truck.

Our house. See the ladder?  It's for climbing up to clear the snow off the satellite dish. You can see that we'd cleared it and then another 10 inches fell.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park - Day 3

Sunday had even more adventures than Saturday. Don and I were up before the sun - first drinking our coffee in sweatpants and sweatshirts, then gradually losing layers as the sun warmed us up. It was so peaceful.  Have I said before how much I love the desert?  I do.  Utah, California, Arizona, Nevada - you name it. I love the desert.  Of course, there's no fishing there, but it sure was nice to hear Don say, "I think I would love to come back here a lot."  Next winter, for example - if we see the weatherman predict a snowstorm coming in, we can just leave!  I'd much rather experience some rain in the desert instead of a snowstorm up here in the mountains.

After breakfast we packed a lunch and left on our days' travels.  First up was a short drive up the mountain to Culp Valley, and a hike to Pena Spring.  We ended up going way past the spring, down to the end of the valley where there was a wonderful view overlooking Borrego Springs. Then we hiked back up to the spring, which was actually running. The miniature stream was about 6 inches across, and ran for 25-30 yards before it seeped into the ground.

Max at the beginning of the trail.

Don, Patty, Max, and Patrick coming down the trail.

At the pour-off/viewpoint.

Patty, Don, and Patrick looking out over Borrego Valley.


The lower part of the "stream" coming out of Pena Spring

It doesn't show up that well, but that's running water.

I have no idea what kind of berries these are. They look pretty good!

The spring is in the center of the photo, behind the large green bushes and in a stand of small trees.
After we finished the hike, we headed up the hill in order to make a loop outside the park and back in. On the way we made a potty break at the little store in Ranchita.  Sitting outside the store is its famous statue of Bigfoot - the "Rancheti."

From Ranchita we took the S22 over to the S2 and drove back into the park. We then took a left on the 78 and went about 6 miles to the Mine Wash Road. There we went south about a mile and a half and parked next to a large pile of rocks (reminiscent of the rocks at Joshua Tree). In the late 1800s there was a Kumeyaay village, so we walked around to see what remnants we could see.

Large mortero rock with a metate still on it.

An even larger mortero

The bloom at the end of an Ocotillo branch

Patrick and Max climbing on the rocks
Once we finished walking around the rocks, we headed back to our campsite. There I took a short nap, then enjoyed sitting out in the shade for a while. It was Patrick's night to cook, and he'd had some beef curry cooking in the crockpot all day. It was pretty interesting - beef, potatoes, onion, in a curry sauce with some coconut milk thrown in. They served it over rice and with some toppings (mushrooms, hard-boiled egg, and green onions).  I was leery, but ended up cleaning my good-sized bowl.

I think I've fallen in love with Anza-Borrego.  All these years I've lived in California, all these years I've heard Patrick talk about it, and this was the first time. For some reason I thought it was all a giant OHV area.  Since I really don't care for the OHV crowd, I'd never gone. But the park and the Ocotillo Wells OHV park are two separate areas - and you can't OHV in Anza-Borrego. So, we'll be back!

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park - Day 2

So, we were lazy Saturday morning - enjoyed coffee, a leisurely breakfast, and then spent an hour at the Visitor Center looking at the exhibits and buying an updated guidebook. Then over lunch, Patrick picked our adventure for the afternoon - Fish Creek.

We followed him to Ocotillo Wells, then south on Split Mountain Road until the turnoff for Fish Creek. Then we followed the Fish Creek wash upstream several miles until we came to an area to park for a hike to the Wind Caves.

Our friends and guides, Patrick and Patty (6-year-old Max is in the back seat)
I saw the sign for the Wind Caves pointing to the east - up a steep hill - but Patrick said we were going to go back down the canyon a little bit and hike up a small canyon. He said he'd remembered this from a previous visit. 

Patrick and Don lead the way back down the canyon.

Don looks at where a huge segment of the canyon wall had fallen down. It must have been undermined during the massive December rainstorms.

Some poor deer met its demise here.

This is the head of the canyon - though at first we though we were going to be hiking around it.

Don almost had to get on his hands and knees.

Max hates getting sand in his shoes - and had to stop often to empty them out.
When we got to the end of that little canyon, we realized we needed to go back to the beginning. By the time we got there, numerous others were there, and were hiking up the steep trail I'd seen when we first arrived.

At the top of the first and second climbs.  That's Don in the distance.
I decided at this point (or my thigh muscles decided) that I wasn't going any further. It was rather demoralizing to look over and see yet another climb - and yet today I'm a little ashamed I didn't continue. It'll get better as I get more in shape.
Don and my Liberty

This is an often-photographed anticline (folded rocks) in Fish Creek

In site #7, looking north

In site #7, looking west. That's Palm Canyon.
Saturday night was our night to cook dinner, so we had schwenkbraten and kartoffelsalat (German potato salad).

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park - Day 1

We spent 3 wonderful days out in the desert - we camped at the Borrego-Palm Canyon Campground in Anza-Borrego State Park. That's the only campground with full hookups - and it has llooonnnggg, spacious pull-through sites. I left as soon as I could escape from work on Friday afternoon, and found Don already set up in site #7.  (We had decided this time to take the Liberty since we knew we'd be going 4-wheeling with Patrick and Patty.)  I told him that I had heard about the Galleta Meadows sculptures, and had seen pics on several other people's blogs, so we hopped in the car and went to check them all out.  They are all rusted now - when they were erected, they were silver-colored - so they look aged. One of the most fascinating things, to me, was the fact that anyone can camp near them on the Galleta Meadows Estates property.  There were 5 different RVs camped near the northern group.  I think if I were to camp there, I'd want to be in the section with all the bighorns.

This one reminded me of Godzilla!

Of course, this one was my favorite!

After that, we went back to the campsite, enjoyed our traditional chili dogs/first night out meal, and waited for Patrick and Patty to show up. They rolled in around 7. After a short chat in the chilly night air, we separated to our RVs and agreed to make plans over morning coffee.