A Small Purchase in Nevada

Boulder City, NV

We left Tucson on March 3rd and drove north heading to Boulder City, NV, located just a bit southeast of Las Vegas.  The trip is much too far for us to do in one day so we stopped for a night at North Ranch, an Escapees RV Club park just north of Wickenburg, AZ.

US 93 just north of Wickenburg, AZ

The ride from Wickenburg to Boulder City is beautiful, as you drive through a combination of flat desert and mountain.  But as you approach the bridge over the Colorado River next to the Hoover Dam things get really interesting.

The Colorado River flows through those mountains

A brief view of the river

A bridge over a dry wash just a mile before one crossing the Colorado River

Crossing the Colorado. The water is Lake Mead, with Hoover Dam just out of sight below the railing

Once over the river you go up a long hill with Lake Mead just behind you.

At the top of that hill is the small town of Boulder City.

While we have stayed in Boulder City a couple of times during our travels, this visit was for a very specific purpose.  Everyone who is a full-time RVer (living in it year round) knows that one can’t do this forever.  So as you travel around you are always looking for a place where you might want to settle in the future.  As we walked through the small downtown area of Boulder City during our last stay here in October, John remarked that he felt really comfortable here.  Pam replied that she had been thinking the same thing.  Hmm, maybe this is the spot!  The weather is great, although a bit warm in the summer (but without the humidity we grew up in).  The town is near enough to the Las Vegas area that you can easily drive there for shopping and entertainment, but 25 miles and a mountain range keep the hustle and bustle of that area away (so does a law banning gambling).  The area is filled with great hiking trails (and Jeep roads) for us to explore.  Also, we’ve been getting the urge to return to a hobby from our pre-motorhome life, motorcycle trips.  For years we owned a touring bike and spent many weekends and vacations traveling on it.  We towed the bike on a trailer for the first two years of our full-time life but sold it once we found a love for hiking.  But the urge is back, and Boulder City is ideally located for long scenic trips in all directions.

So we spent some time during that visit touring the various residential areas in town to see if anything caught our eye.  While nothing jumped out at us during that visit, we continued to think about settling there.  Once we determined that it was an ideal location for us we decided to return in March to do some serious house searching.  In the intervening months we constantly monitored various real estate web sites for potential houses.  Since we did not see a single listing that fit our criteria, we thought that we may have to purchase a piece of land and build something that fit our needs.

After arriving in Boulder City late on a Sunday afternoon we headed to a realtor office Monday morning.  At Desert Sun Realty we met an agent named Shana who understood our needs perfectly (she and her family also own a motorhome).  She said that building lots were very limited in Boulder City as were existing houses that fit our requirements. But . . . .

Over the weekend she was told of a house to be listed by Desert Sun Realty that afternoon.  She said it appeared to fit our needs and strongly suggested that we take a look, as once it hit the web sites it may not last too long.  While we knew little about it (no pictures were available), we decided to take a look.  We drove over, took one look at the front of the house, and knew this could be the one.  Quickly returning to the realtor office we told Shana that we were very interested.  Fifteen minutes later we met her at the house and took a tour.  The more we looked, the more excited we became.  The house checked every box we had in our list of wants and needs, including a large covered area for the motorhome!

Since we had already done all our homework on this move, and this house had everything we wanted, we decided to make an offer on it.  After more questions to Shana we found the house was owned by a couple about our age who lived in California and only used this house as  a second home.  Hmm, what are they going to do with all the furnishings?  Shana quickly called her boss (who is the listing agent) to see if they would be interested in a deal for the house and everything in it.  Remember, we sold everything before going full-time and have zero furnishings.  Her boss felt they may be interested in that, so we raised our offer to include the furnishings.

Shana returned to the office to draw up a draft of our offer while we paid a visit to a local financial institution to secure financing.  Boulder City is a small town where everyone knows each other and things are less complicated than in other areas, so by the end of business that day we had a loan secured and an offer on the table.  Just after noon the next day our offer was accepted!  Wow, 25 hours and we had a home!

Family room and kitchen

We were not really interested in having a pool, but there is one on the property so we will have to live with it (such stress).  There is also a small putting green that someone already has her eye on to replace with a cactus garden (we’ll see what happens).

Part of the sales agreement required the sellers to provide us with a list of items they would be removing before they left.  We received the list and were astounded to find they would only be taking a few small personal items.  We will now be able to literally walk in and live there without purchasing anything!  Of course, there are some items that do not fit our style, but we can deal with them later.  For now we can move in without a problem.

Closing will be some time during the last week of March.  But we have reservations in Utah for return visits to Bluff and Moab for the month of April so it will be the first of May before we move in.  Then it’s back on the road with the motorhome for a trip east during June, July, and August.  After that we’ll return some time in the fall for a more extended stay.  But we are far from finished traveling in the motorhome, which is why we wanted to have it parked on the property.  We’ll keep it in traveling condition and plan to still spend a good part of the year in it.

More on that later . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | 63 Comments

Climbing to the “A” and Hiking the Cat Mountain/Explorer Trail

Tucson, AZ

As you drive along Interstate 10 through Tucson, if you look to the west, there is a large hill (or small mountain) with a white capital letter “A” near the top.  The hill is called Sentinel Peak and the “A” is representative of the University of Arizona, located near downtown Tucson.

Sentinel Peak looking from Interstate 10

In the very early days of Tucson, an Indian fortification was constructed at the top of a small mountain that would come to be called Sentinel Peak—also sometimes referred to as Picket Post Butte.  This Indian fortification in time became known as the sentinel station because a sentinel or guard was posted there to watch for approaching enemies, likely Apache Indians.  During the Civil War, armed military guards were posted at the sentinel station and a canvas was stretched across the stone fortification, to keep the sun from hitting directly on the men posted there.

After Arizona football’s 7–6 victory over Pomona in 1914, a civil engineering student on the team convinced one of his professors to make a class project of the survey and design for a huge block “A” on Sentinel Peak.  Students finished the project in March of 1916, when the 70 ft. wide, 160 ft.  high “A” was whitewashed. The basalt rock used in construction of the “A” was hauled from a quarry at the mountain’s base which supplied stone for many foundations and walls throughout Tucson, including the wall surrounding the University of Arizona campus.

Looking up at the “A” from the road going to the top

A paved road leads up to a parking area just below the base of Sentinel Peak.  From there it is a short hike to the top, with the “A” just below the peak.

Downtown Tucson below, with the Catalina Mountains in the distance

Looking down at John standing between the legs of the “A”

The view from between the legs of the “A” to Pam at the top

Side view

There are many strange saguaros on the peak (strange even by saguaro standards).  We spotted one crested saguaro along the road about half way to the top.

But along the east side many of the saguaros were very different than the thousands we have seen in our numerous visits to the area.

Recent rains have caused Brittle Bushes to bloom.

Late that same afternoon we were invited to Gay and Joe’s (good-times-rollin) site to enjoy a delicious dinner with them and Sue and Dave (Beluga’s Excellent Adventures).  We had such a nice time that we forgot to take any photos of the group.  But the food was delicious, the conversation stimulating, and the dog and pony show very entertaining (they have three little dogs known as the Tan Clan).

Oh boy, the treat lady is here! That’s Sally, Dover, and sweet little Jack on the right.

Our final day in Tucson was warm and sunny, so we decided to hike up part of the Explorer Trail (also called the Cat Mountain Trail on some maps) in Tucson Mountain Park.  Steve and MonaLiza (Lowe’s RV Adventures) had recently returned to our park after a trip south to Patagonia State Park so we invite them along for the hike.  MonaLiza was at an appointment but texted that she would love to go if she got back in time.  We waited a bit and had just decided to head out when she drove up and said she could be ready in just a few minutes.  Steve had to take their car in for some repairs so he wouldn’t be joining us.

MonaLiza was soon ready to go and we headed west toward the Tucson Mountains.  We took Ajo Way west for 2.4 miles from where it crosses Mission Road.  At that point there is a small turn-out on the north side of the highway with room for two cars.  The Explorer Trail passes right next to the parking area.

The trailhead

Ajo Way is just beyond the small parking area

We hiked the Explorer Trail for about a half mile to where it intersects with the Cat Mountain Trail (or continues as the Explorer Trail on Tucson Mountain Park’s map), then headed west up through a canyon thick with tall saguaros.

About a mile up the canyon we came to what we have labeled the “M.L. Crested Saguaro Arm.”  MonaLiza and Steve have hiked this trail before so she knew just where it was located.

The M.L. Crested Saguaro Arm

After two miles we came to where the Cat Mountain/Explorer Trail ends at a junction with the Starr Pass Trail.  This was our turn around point, so we hiked up on some high rocks overlooking Starr Pass and enjoyed a bite to eat before returning back down the trail.

Two frisky young hikers overlooking a flat plain north of the Starr Pass before crawling to the lunch spot!

Lunch with a view (of the Little Cat Mountain)

Now our stay in Tucson comes to a close.  It’s hard to believe a month can pass that quickly.  We will now make our way north to Boulder City, NV for a couple of weeks.

More on that later . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments

Hiking up by the Cat Mountains – Tucson Mountain Park

Tucson, AZ

Tucson Mountain Park is a county park located just west of the city of Tucson.  Filled with a number of sharp peaks, the park has a web of hiking and biking trails.  We’ve hiked in the park many times, but recent research by the nimble hiker revealed a trail not shown on maps of the park.  It is referred to as the “Cat Mountain Loop on John Krein Trail.”   To get to the trailhead we headed west on Ajo Way but soon ran into a problem.  The annual Tucson Rodeo is held just a few miles west of our RV park and the day of our hike was the day of the annual rodeo parade.  We left soon after the parade was scheduled to end but got caught in the traffic jam created by spectators.  As we sat in traffic, a few of the parade participants cut through the street right in front of us.

Once around the traffic we continued west on Ajo Way to the intersection with South Kinney Road where we turned right (north).  Less than a mile down Kinney Road we turned right on to Sarasota Road and drove another mile to the end of the road where there is a parking area for the trail.

The arrow points to our lunch destination

The Starr Pass Trail goes right in front of the parking area.  We got on the trail and headed south.  The trail soon turns to the east and heads between two small mountains through Starr Pass.

Heading to the Starr Pass

Big Cat Mountain is on the south side of Starr Pass

Little Cat Mountain is on the north

Starr Pass

Once through the pass we turned north (our left) on to an unmarked trail and began climbing up.

Heading up

Strange growth on a Saguaro

Steep climb with the Cat Mountains behind us

Once up on the ridge we could see the Jeep far below us

The Cat Mountains (Big Cat on the left, Little Cat on the right)

At the highest point on the trail there is a spot with a 360 view of our surroundings.  At that spot there is a metal ammo box covered with rocks.  It contains a notebook for hikers to sign, as well as a number of cards recognizing a local hiker who passed away last year.

Lunch with a view

Saguaros sure can be strange!

After hiking back down to parking area we stopped to check out a Crested Saguaro we have seen during hikes in previous years.  It still appears to be very healthy.

We found this hike to be one of our favorites in Tucson Mountain Park with lots of great climbing and a total distance of 5.5 miles.  The trail is not listed on the park map but it is on Google Maps.  There is good phone service in the area so it is easy to follow the trail with a smart phone.

Posted in Uncategorized | 42 Comments

Visiting Friends and Hiking Ventana Canyon – Tucson

Tucson, AZ

The weather was very good at the beginning of this past week so we took advantage of it to get out and about.  One day we road our bikes north into the city for a ride through the University of Arizona.  We had to check on the crested saguaro located outside the Old Main building.

Still doing well

We then headed through the downtown to have lunch with Dave and Sue at Thunder Canyon Brewery.

A couple of days later we went to Steve and MonaLiza’s site for a happy hour, complete with MonaLiza’s famous lumpia, a traditional Filipino version of an egg roll.  Dave and Sue also attended and we met Laura and Kevin there.  They both left careers in the legal field in the D. C. area to travel around the country in their motorhome.

Front: Laura, John, and Kevin  Rear: Steve, MonaLiza, Dave, Sue, and Pam

With rain in the forecast for later in the week we knew we needed to get out and hike while the sky was clear.  Gay and Joe (good-times-rollin) had written in their blog about a hike they did in Ventana Canyon during a previous visit to Tucson.  The hike sounded interesting to us so we decided to try it.

Ventana Canyon Trailhead

The trailhead is in a parking area for the Loew’s Ventana Canyon Resort, located off of North Kolb Road.  Signs direct you through an employee parking lot to an area designated for hikers.  The trail begins by winding up behind some apartments before turning north into the canyon.

The trail crosses back and forth across the Ventana Canyon Wash a number of times as it moves up the canyon.

Bone dry this year

About a mile up the trail you go through a cattle guard and enter the wilderness area of the Coronado National Forest.

After another half mile the trail becomes more difficult as it goes steeply uphill through a series of switchbacks.

Looking back down the canyon at the nimble hiker

We hiked up about 2.5 miles to a spot known as the Maiden Pools, which we knew would be dry due to the lack of rainfall in the Tucson area.  But we found a great perch on some large boulders where we could have lunch while enjoying the great view to the south.

Lunch with a view

While hiking back down the trail we could look back and see our lunch spot high above us.

Our lunch spot high in the distance

One of the many beautiful views in the canyon

The sharp eyes of the nimble hiker spotted a number of crested saguaros along the trail.

Crested saguaro arm

Last year friends Jenna and Michael (Restoration Cowboy Style) purchased a piece of property with two “fixer upper” houses in Pearce, AZ, about 75 miles southeast of Tucson, and are in the process of renovating them.  They have completed work on the smaller house on the property (to be used as a guest house later) and invited us down for a visit.  While southern Arizona has not seen any rain for a significant period of time, the day of our visit was one of a steady rainfall.

Scenic Interstate 10

Jodie and Bill (On the Road Abode) are staying in Tombstone, just to the west of Pearce, and also came over to join us.  We enjoyed a wonderful lunch in the beautifully restored “guest house.”  Michael and Jenna sure do nice work!

Michael (holding Emmi), Jenna, Bill, Jodie, and Pam

Every few days we are treated to a visit from a nearby motorhome resident.  Dave and Sue’s buddy Lewis loves to come over to enjoy a few treats and chase a ball around in our motorhome.  He especially loves to make a pile with our throw rugs and lose the ball in the pile.  His motto is “play hard or go home!”

Things finally dried out on Saturday, allowing us to enjoy a happy hour at Dave and Sue’s site along with Steve and MonaLiza (Lowe’s RV Adventures), and Joe and Gay ( (good-times-rollin).

Oh, we almost forgot to mention another attendee at happy hour!

After three days of rain and cool temperatures, we’re hoping for better weather in the upcoming week.  But things don’t look too good for the next couple of days so activities may be curtailed a bit.  More on that later . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments

Enjoying Tucson

Tucson, AZ

January 31 we left Borrego Springs, CA and headed east on I-8.  After an overnight stop in a dusty old RV park in the little crossroads town of Dateland, AZ, we arrived in Tucson and quickly set up in our new home in Lazydays KOA.

Smoke from a brush fire along I-10 near Coolidge, AZ

Our home for February

We have stayed here many times as we really enjoy the Tucson area.  It has great weather (for the winter), plenty of  hikes in the numerous mountain ranges nearby, and good stores and restaurants.  The day after our arrival we headed a few miles to the west to do a short four mile hike in the Robles Pass area of Tucson Mountain Park.  We’ve hiked the Flight Path Trail section of the park a few times during previous visits and knew it was a good place to stretch our legs a bit.  Plus the nimble hiker was anxious to get back among the numerous saguaros along this trail.

Back in Cactus Country!

Crested saguaro with some problems

Dave and Sue (Beluga’s Excellent Adventure) arrived in the park the day after we did and Steve and Mona Liza (Lowes RV Adventures) came in a couple of days later.  The group met up at Mariscos Chihuahua Restaurant, a few miles west of the park, to share recent travels and recognize MonaLiza’s recent “39th” birthday.

John, Dave, Steve, MonaLiza, Sue, and Pam

With Dave and Sue nearby we are still treated with visits from Lewis, who loves to chase a ball around the inside of our motorhome.

Ah ha, I found it!

Days later, with temperatures in Tucson climbing into the 80s, we decided to go up into the Catalina Mountains to do some hiking in the cooler temperatures.  The nimble hiker did some research and found the perfect hike to the top of Mt. Bigelow.   To get to the trail we drove up the scenic Catalina Highway into the Catalina Mountains.

The road winds its way up through the mountains from Tucson (2,500′) to Mt. Lemmon (8,800′).  Every visitor to Tucson needs to take this beautiful drive (27 miles) while in the area.

Just past mile marker 17 we parked in the San Pedro Vista lot and found the trailhead at the north end of the parking area.

Looking north to the trailhead

Entrance to the trail (taken on our return)

Immediately upon leaving the parking area the trail began to climb steeply up into the rocks.

After about a mile our destination came into view in the distance.  Mt. Bigelow (8,552′) is easily identified by the many communication towers located on the peak.

Mt. Bigelow in the distance

As we hiked up the trail we enjoyed some beautiful views to the north.

At times the trail ran easily through the trees, while at other times (most of the time) it went sharply up through the rocks.

The nimble hiker climbs steadily up the trail

A great view to the north

Getting closer . . .

. . . and closer

But still climbing!

We finally made it to the top, where we enjoyed lunch with a view while looking down on Tucson far below us.

Lunch with a view (including power cables and sunbeams!)

From our perch on top of the mountain, we could see most of metropolitan Tucson, including Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.  With binoculars we could easily see the aircraft boneyard located on the base.  The facility takes care of nearly 4,000 aircraft, which makes it the largest aircraft storage and preservation facility in the world.

As we returned back down the trail we could see a climber on a rock formation called the Ridgeline.  Can you see him in the photo below?

How about now?

Bet you can see him now!

After hiking almost six miles at 8,000′ with an elevation change of about 1,500′ we felt that we deserved a treat.  So we made our way back down the Catalina Highway and into Tucson where we found one of those chain coffee houses out of Seattle.  Sitting in front of the store enjoying a refreshing drink we could see Mt. Bigelow in the distance.  It’s just to the right of the light pole in the photo below.

A little “zoom” on the camera helps bring it into view.

We’ll be in Tucson until the end of the month so we’re sure to have more adventures to share in future posts.  More on that later . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | 23 Comments

Final Days in Borrego Springs, CA

Borrego Springs, CA

During our last couple of weeks here in Borrego Springs, we explored the wilds of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park with a combination of Jeep rides and hikes.

Palm Canyon

One afternoon we drove into the nearby state park campground with Dave and Sue to hike up Palm Canyon.  The trail begins at the west end of the Borrego-Palm Canyon campground and goes about a mile and a half up into the canyon.  It is the most popular trail in the park and leads to the third-largest palm oasis in California.  We have done this hike many times before but wanted to see if we could spot any bighorn sheep along the canyon walls (we saw them there on previous hikes).  Alas, the sheep were on vacation that day!

Young boys love to climb rocks

Scanning the canyon walls for sheep

Dave checks out the grove of palms

It is really interesting to climb about half way up the canyon and suddenly hear running water.  Thick vegetation on the trail indicate that water is nearby.

The stream suddenly appears, complete with a tiny waterfall.

Our only wildlife sighting

The view looking east down the canyon

While we didn’t spot any sheep, the hike up and back in the canyon is always fun.

Mine Wash and Village Site

A few days later we drove to the south to explore some canyons along Rte. 78.  The first spot, Mine Wash, lies east of County Road S-3 and west of Borrego Springs Road.  It is about a mile and a half west of Pinyon Wash and about two miles east of Stag Cove. The wash is marked by a small sign which you can easily miss unless you watch carefully.  We turned into the wash and drove south to an area identified on the park map as the village site.   Kumeyaay bands living in the nearby Laguna Mountains migrated to the desert areas in and next to Anza-Borrego Desert SP during the winter and stayed until spring.   The village site is one of their winter camps.  The area of the village has a number of Kumeyaay morteros.  Morteros are depressions in stone that developed after years of use by Kumeyaay women for grinding beans, nuts, or seeds.

You could continue south up the wash for a few more miles where there is an abandoned gold mine.  We decided to return to the highway and continue east for a visit to the Narrows Earth Trail.

The Narrows Earth Trail

This trail, located just a couple of miles east of Mine Wash, is a guided loop about a mile long.  A nature trail guide is available at the trailhead to explain various points along the loop.  The information pertains to the geology of Anza-Borrego.

A fault line with different types of rocks on either side

Young hiker checks out some eroded rocks

Halfway through the short hike the trail goes through a wash and heads back to the parking area.  We hiked up the wash for about a mile before coming to a tall pour-over that blocked our way.

End of the trail

The view back down the wash

Truckhaven Rocks

We left the Narrow Earth Trail and drove back through Borrego Springs to county road S22.  At mile marker 35.5 we pulled over and parked along the north side of the highway.    From there we could see the Truckhaven Rocks, blocks of reddish-brown sandstone made from sedimentary deposits that were tilted to a 45-degree angle by geological forces eons ago.  They rise up 100 feet or more from the alluvial plain and are named for the first road east out of the Borrego Valley — the old Truckhaven Trail.  The sandstone has been eroded by wind and rain to create a miniature mountain range, complete with canyons, peaks, and ridges.

The low Truckhaven Rocks to the north

To get to the rocks we hiked up a sandy wash for a bit over a mile.

As the banks of the wash grew up around us we found a spot where we could climb up to the sandstone rocks.

The arrow points out the nimble hiker as she begins to climb out of the wash

After climbing up to the top of one of the rocks we enjoyed great views all around us.

Looking to the north

Looking to the south

A look back while returning back down the wash

Carrizo Badlands and the Mud Caves

For our last adventure we joined Dave and Sue in their Jeep to explore the Carrizo Badlands south of Borrego Springs.  To get there we drove 20 miles to Scissors Crossing, where county road S2 intersects with CA-78.  From there we drove south on S2 for 34 miles before turning east into Canyon Sin Nombre Wash.

An arrow marks the entrance to the Canyon sin Nombre

The canyon entrance

Rocks along the canyon wall

There are a number of slot canyons that go into the rocks along the wash.  We stopped to explore one of them.

End of the line

Back down the slot

After a stop for lunch, John and Dave hiked far up another slot.  Since they didn’t have a camera, the only photo we have is of them returning.

Back out at last

Beauty along the wash

A little guidance never hurts

After a long drive up Arroyo Seco del Diablo we made a turn to the south into an area known as the mud caves.  The area is filled with small caves and slot canyons.  The park discourages entering the caves as they are very unstable.  We obeyed their wishes, but did stop to explore one of the slots.  It contained two natural bridges and a number of interesting rock formations.

One of the natural bridges

Dave and Sue explore the wash

Small but scenic slot

Interesting pipe-like rock formation

Second natural bridge

As we drove back to the highway along the Vallecito Creek trail we passed a strange scene, a pair of crutches sitting below a street sign.  A street sign?  There has to be a story here, and there is.  The old emigrant trail that passed through this wash was marked with metal signs about a mile apart in the late 1800s.  Directions painted on the signs gave distances to settlements and water holes. Long ago, someone painted the words “Hollywood and Vine” on the metal plate of one of the sign and the name (but not the original sign) stuck.

After a wonderful month of perfect weather, interesting exploration trips through the desert, and some great golf, it is time to move on.  After a two day drive we will soon begin a month long stay in one of our favorite cities, Tucson, AZ.

More on that later . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments

Second Week in Borrego Springs

Borrego Springs, CA

During our second week here in Borrego Springs we continued to enjoy some hiking, Jeeping, and golfing.  One afternoon we drove about 30 miles to the south to hike up Rainbow Canyon.  To get to the canyon we took Borrego Springs Road south and turned right on to Yaqui Pass Road.  That road ends at CA 78, where we turned west and drove seven miles to Scissors Crossing.  There we turned south on county road S2 for 11 miles.  At that point we turned around and parked in a small pull-out with Rainbow Canyon to our east.

Rainbow Canyon Trailhead

It was a short hike across the desert to the opening of the canyon.  Rainbow Canyon is not a difficult hike, but a number of pour-overs (12) requiring some scrambling to get up and over, make things interesting.

Colorful rock formations line the sides of the canyon.

We hiked about 1.5 miles to where the canyon opens up to a flat area overlooking the Blair Valley.  At that point we turned around and returned back down through the canyon.

A couple of days later we drove/hiked a short distance from our park to find a small bench sitting on a hill east of town.  To get to the bench we drove east on county road S22 to the turn onto the wash leading to Fonts Point.  At just short of 1.2 miles from the highway, we parked on the right side of the main wash near the entrance to a smaller wash to the west.

Entrance to the small wash

After hiking about half a mile west on the small wash we could see something sitting atop a hill that looked like it could be the bench.

Is this the bench?

We hiked up to the top of the hill and found our target, Burks’ Bench.

Dana Burks was a Palm Springs and Los Angeles real estate developer who saw the potential of developing Borrego Valley and purchased thousands of acres of land after the Great Depression.  The slow economic recovery following the Depression made him lose interest in the area.  His heirs still owned 1600 acres in 1974 when they decided to donate it to the state.  The bench overlooks the donated lands.  A plaque on the bench commemorates the gift.

Next to the plaque we found a small container with a journal book inside.  Visitors to the bench record their presence and often leave a message concerning their visit.

A young vagabond spends time reading the musings of earlier visitors

Every couple of days we enjoy a round of golf while taking in the fantastic views all around us.

One afternoon we joined Dave and Sue in their Jeep to explore some back roads in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.  We headed east on county road S22 for about 16 miles.  There we turned south into the Arroyo-Salado wash, the same spot where we entered the desert the previous week with Jodie and Bill (On the Road Abode).  Our first stop was a small oasis called 17 Palms.

We’re not sure when this grove was named, but there are over 20 palms there now.  Maybe a few more grew up since Spanish explorers first came through the area.  There is a mailbox located between two of the trees with a notebook for visitors to sign.

Looking down at our lunch spot from a nearby hill

Following lunch we continued driving south a bit before turning to the west on what’s known as the Cut Across Trail.  After a few miles we came to a road leading north up into Rainbow Wash.  The wash goes in the badlands that are visible from Fonts Point, a high point in the desert we last visited the week before with Jodie and Bill.

We continued up into the wash until the road began to narrow and became very tilted and twisty (both terms used by professional Jeepers!).  At that point we stopped and continued  for a bit on foot.

The landscape all around us was very impressive.  The sky was partly cloudy so the colors changed as the sun went in and out of the clouds.

Colors in the shade . . .

. . . and in the sunlight

As we crossed over a small hill we almost stepped on two small eggs nestled in some rocks and twigs.   We have no idea who laid the eggs or how they would survive in this harsh environment.


Later in the week we took a ride south to hike up Pinyon Wash.  To get there we drove out Borrego Springs Road and turned right on to Yaqui Pass Road.  That road ends at CA 78 where we turned east and drove just over four miles to the wash entrance (marked with a sign).  A mile and a half up the wash we took the left side of a fork and continued for a little over four miles to where the road ends at a pile of huge boulders.  The trail begins on the right side of those rocks and goes up through them for a short distance before the wash flattens out.

Pam is standing in the center against the rocks to show the boulders size

After about a mile and a half we exited the wash into a large open area called Harper Flats.

We read that there were a number of large rocks with morteros (grinding holes) made by early inhabitants as they ground corn.  We searched the area but could only find one of those rocks.  An animal had left his scat in one of the depressions, reminding us of a recent presidential phrase used to describe some countries of Africa and the Caribbean.

A true s*** hole!

Looking back down the wash

A bit of scrambling was required near the trailhead

Did we mention that we’re enjoying the golf course?

An unusual twosome on the second green

With a bit over two weeks remaining in our stay here we have a number of sites to visit on our list.  More on these later . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments