Borrego Springs, CA
On Wednesday we moved from our spot in the desert to Anza Borrega Desert State Park for a two week stay. We really enjoyed camping alone in the desert, but the convenience of full hook-ups (electric/water/sewer) beckoned in the state park. The desert camping was so much fun we are thinking of returning to the empty desert after our stay in the park and spend a couple of days before moving on to Tucson.
Anza Borrega Desert State Park, in eastern San Diego County, is the largest state park in California and second largest in the U.S. behind Adirondack State Park in New York. The park includes 500 miles of dirt roads and 110 miles of hiking trails, which is why we are here. Withing an hour of our arrival, we had our hiking shoes on and were exploring nearby Palm Canyon. A trail begins in the park and goes up a moderate incline for about two miles to a Palm Oasis. The park lies along a rift valley and where there are rifts, water makes its way to the surface. Where the water reaches the surface, palm trees flourish.
We had hiked up the canyon near a dry stream bed for about a mile when we suddenly heared running water, a very unusual noise in the desert. A bit further up the trail we found the source of the noise.
Not far from where we found the stream, we came upon the Palm Oasis. It’s pretty neat to see an island of green palms in the middle of a dry, rocky canyon.
The next day we loaded up the Jeep and headed out to do some exploring. Near the spot where we had dry camped the previous two nights, we turned north on a dirt road headed for Rockhouse Canyon. Our guide book said most vehicles could navigate this road for about nine miles, but you needed a well-equipped four wheel drive vehicle to continue the four miles left to the end of the road. We accepted the challenge and headed up the road past the nine mile marker to see how far we could go. After another two miles the rocks were scraping the bottom of the Jeep, so we parked and hiked the final two miles. Our goal was a former Indian camp located on a cliff above the pass. We found a spot called Hidden Springs where the guide book said to look for a well-worn trail up the hill. It took a bit of searching but we found the trail and headed up.
At the top of the trail we searched for evidence of the Indian encampment, but couldn’t find any sign of it. But we were treated to some great views of the canyon we had just hiked.
After a brief rest period we headed back down the side of the bluff, then hiked back to where we left the Jeep.
Marion the Librarian now has her trusty guide book, A Foot and Afield: A Hiking Guide to San Diego County, out and is researching future hikes. More on those adventures later . . .