On down the road a bit…Desert Hot Springs to Anza Borrego
It’s been a long few months..it feels a bit like we have lost track of time..spinning our wheels for a while then back on the road and wondering where exactly to go for the next few weeks. We had to say goodbye to our dearest cat, so close to our hearts, but it was his time. But that does not help the pain of loss..time diminishes it..so we wait:)
After leaving Lake Jennings we headed North to Palm Desert to look at a type of 5th wheel trailer we would like to eventually buy..it was still too much city for us.The hot springs were amazing to soak in but the lights and noise were always there. We made a day trip to Joshua Tree to look at the campgrounds and the bloom..it was amazing. Most of the bloom was on the South side as we left flowing down the long arroyo. Fields of tiny wildflowers you could miss unless you stopped and got out to look. The Lava flow views were spectacular to the East as well.
The campgrounds were full and it still was not really dark enough with the light pollution from LA as well as to the South. The string of towns with desert and palms to their names..endless shopping malls, gated communities and golf courses didn’t do much for us and then there was the never ending unrelenting wind…I felt like I had moved back onto a boat in a gale. There is reason the valley is full of wind generators. The RV park we were at was lovely, Sam’s family Spa, the hot pools were a delight and the campground full of birds but after rocking about for a few days in the wind we packed up and went South.
We decided to head to Anza Borrego Desert State Park..ah..that was more like it;) other than the sand storm we drove through blowing down the valley following another RV and some incredibly bumpy roads..the cats hate those, gets them all riled up and meowing we were stunned by all that natural beauty. The park campground was full so we settled in a lovely spot on within walking distance of the park the Palm Canyon Hotel and RV. It was almost empty and we backed up onto a view of the mountains.
We explored the Palm Canyon the next day. The three and half mile loop takes you up to a Palm Canyon, thus the name and a running stream with a small waterfall. Birds and butterflies everywhere! Desert Big Horn sheep stalkers were out as well looking for these large creatures on the hills above. It was not an easy hike, a a few points you have to scramble over boulders and there is some elevation.The hills were covered in yellow wildflowers and blooming cacti. We stopped and rested in the shade of the palms before descending to the upper loop back in hopes of seeing some Bighorn sheep. We were not disappointed as we came around a corner and found 4 males lying in the shade of the ocotillos, what any self-respecting sheep would be doing on a hot desert day:) Beautiful animals.
Our secound day of exploration took us out to look at the incredible metal statues randomly placed through out Borrego Springs. Conceived by artist Ricardo Breceda and sponsored by land owner Dennis Avery..the 350 foot long serpent that crosses the road was spectacular..it made you want to climb aboard it like a sand worm and explore the desert:)
The floor of the desert was covered in sphinx moth caterpillars, you could hardly walk without stepping on them. They crawled their way to the closest plants to devour them. These are what drive hundreds of migrating Swainson’s hawks to visit the area for a protein boost before heading North.
I’d also read about an amazing Slot Canyon in the area.The Canyon is well marked off of the Highway 78. As the temperatures started to soar we thought it would be a good hike down there in the shade. You have to scramble down to get into it from above or you can walk around the far side to approach it, we opted to scramble and get into the shade as quickly as possible. The temperature there was delightful, although not for people who suffer from being in confined spaces.
At points you have to turn sideways and squeeze your way between the rocks. Often there are boulders overhead and at one spot a lovely rock arch..waiting for a earthquake;) The canyon is almost a mile long of amazing rocks and layers. Swallows nests and more caterpillars..fallen to their fate as there was little to no vegetation on the slot floor or walls.
After our trip down we went back up, opting to stay in the shade and not return by the path around the outside. There are other canyons to explore in the area as well and beautiful rock formations.
We’ve earmarked this whole area for a return trip in the cooler months. Business back in San Diego was calling so we slipped back up the mountain via the S22 to the 79 and eventually through Ramona to get back to Lake Jennings to complete some necessary duties, one nice one was ordering our future tow vehicle, a Dodge Ram 3500 dually..we will be able to haul Myrtle just about anywhere with that:)
I’ve put off catching up as it sometimes feels a bit overwhelming but now that I’ve started it should be easier, like anything, once you get going the going gets good:)..stay tuned for Arizona ya’ll..backcountry and more desert! Saludos amigos.