Borrego Springs, CA
Today we headed north of Borrego Springs to explore Coyote Canyon. Our trail guide book described a ten mile ride up a rode restricted to vehicles with four-wheel drive, a perfect place to take our Jeep. The guide describes three water crossings that could be impassable at times, and a climb up a steep, very rocky hill called “boulder alley.”
The first crossing was a piece of cake. We haven’t encountered any water since purchasing the Jeep, so this was the first time the tires got wet.
The next crossing posed a bit more of a challenge. While the water looked shallow for the first half of the crossing, about half way across it appeared to deepen. We found a stick and used it to measure the depth as best we could, and it appeared the water could reach up to the bottom of the doors. So, discretion being in order for a couple of four wheel novices, we decided to turn around and find another hiking area. About a mile back down the road four vehicles passed us, two pick-ups and two Jeeps. So we pulled over and waited a bit to see if they would all return without crossing the stream. When only two came back, we felt the “wimp factor” rise in us and decided to return to the scene of our pathetic act of cowardice. Putting the Jeep in low range, we easily drove through the creek and continued on up the trail, the “wimp factor” a thing of the past!
The third crossing was a bit deeper than the second, but we were now veterans and crossed easily. About a mile later we entered what is called locally “boulder alley.” The “alley” is a steep climb up a canyon on a road made up of large boulders. We had seen pictures of this canyon and knew it was very rough, but the boulders were fairly even giving the Jeep enough clearance to pass them. One forum entry said that Cal-Fire (California Fire Control) had broken up the largest boulders, so they could go through the canyon to attack brush fires in the area.
The road was extremely rough but, using low range four wheel drive and a speed not exceeding two miles an hour, we bounced our way to the top.
Once through boulder alley we entered a huge, empty high desert valley with stunning vistas.
Our destination was a hiking trail in nearby Cougar Canyon that led up the rocky canyon to an oasis area and a waterfall. We found the canyon and followed a stream up through huge boulders until the trail ended, but could find no evidence of either.
But we did find a mortero, a hole worn into a rock by Native Americans grinding grain.
Our return trip back through boulder alley and the water crossings was rough but went quickly, as we now had confidence in our ability to safely navigate these obstacles.
We follow the blog of two fellow full-timers, Howard and Linda, who are the authors of the blog RV-Dreams. In their latest entry we learned they were parked outside Borrego Springs near the spot where we parked for two nights earlier this week. So after our hike we drove over to their site and introduced ourselves.
We enjoyed swapping stories with them until sunset, when the desert quickly turns quite cold. They also enjoy hiking, so we made plans to meet on Monday morning to share an adventure. More on that later . . .