Canyon Hiking and Touring with Friends

Borrego Springs, CA

We are at the end of our stay here in Anza-Borrego State Desert Park, but our final three days have been filled with more hiking and exploring.  On Saturday we drove just a few miles from the campground to explore Hellhole Canyon.  Typical of canyons in this park, the hike began on flat terrain, then rose steeply inside the canyon, and ended with the need to do some “boulder scrambling” to keep going.

But after about an hour we were treated to some great views of the desert to the east.

On Sunday we were treated to a visit from Bob and Sandy, fellow full-timers we met a couple of years ago at a Discovery Rally in Tennessee.  We have kept in contact ever since and have met up with them previously in Maine, South Carolina, and Florida.  They are staying in the Palm Springs area and drove down to check out the Anza-Borrego area with us for the day.

We met them at the park’s visitor’s center and headed out in the Jeep to visit a couple of spots we had on our to-do list.  The first was the Pumpkin Patch.  This unique landscape is the result of wind and water continuously eroding the surface soil and revealing globular sandstone concretions that look much like pumpkins in size and shape. Such concretions are believed to be formed by the natural cementing of sand particles to a small object such as a piece of shell, a grain of sand or even an insect.

Sandy, Bob, and John in the Pumpkin Patch

Our next stop was a short ride to visit the Gas Dome, a spot in the desert where water is forced to the surface.  Gasses from deep in the earth are forced upward, where they mix with ground water.  The cool mixture then bubbles up through cracks in the earth’s surface.

The strange mixture bubbles up, creating a burping sound much like the mud pots of Yellowstone, only unlike in Yellowstone, the mixture is cool to the touch.

We then headed back toward Borrego Springs, but not before a stop for lunch at one of our favorite spots in the area: Font’s Point.   Font’s Point is a high bluff overlooking an area of desert badlands.  If you have read our earlier blogs, this is the area we visited twice to watch the sunset.  But it is also a perfect spot to sit and enjoy lunch, while checking out the badlands and a view toward Borrego Springs in the west.

Bob and Sandy enjoying the view

The view west toward Borrego Springs

Monday was our last day in the desert, so we decided to hike back into the Palm Canyon, located just to the west of the campground.  We hiked this trail the day we arrived two weeks ago but wanted to go further up the canyon and maybe see some of the Big Horned Sheep that frequented the area.  On our way up the canyon we happened on two sheep cutting across the trail.  The picture is not the greatest as we only had the cell phone camera with us.

Far up the canyon the rocks became quite large, but we discovered a flowing stream with a number of small water falls.

The stream created some beautiful small pools in the rocks.

Below is one of the interesting spots in the mountainous desert, a palm oasis.  They are often found in the canyons where there is a fairly constant supply of water.

On the return trip we lost the trail a few times, as we were so far up the canyon foot traffic was minimal.  So we were sometimes forced to blaze our own trail.   Check out the nimble hiker below quickly maneuvering over the rocks.

At one point the hike leader heard the sound of something coming through the bushes between some large boulders.  A quick photo was taken and analysis indicates that it may be some form of a Sasquatch, thought only to be found in the Pacific Northwest.

A month ago we had never heard of Anza-Borrego State Park.  But after our two week stay here, we think it is one of the neatest places we have visited in our travels.  But, alas, it is time to move on.  Tomorrow we will move about 120 miles to the Yuma area, where we will spend two nights parked in the desert while we enjoy a quick visit.  Then its off to  Tucson for a month.  More on that later . . .

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4 Responses to Canyon Hiking and Touring with Friends

  1. Sue says:

    You two are so funny! Who ever heard of a Sasquatch with sunglasses…..

  2. Paul Weaver says:

    You lucky dogs…..we’ve seen some mountain sheep but never a “big foot.”

  3. pmbweaver says:

    Hellhole Canyon…aaaaahhhhh!

    The pumpkin patch is awesome. What a cool place. I can’t imagine what the first explorers must’ve thought when they hit that area.

    Before I saw your comment about Yellowstone, and mud pods came to my mind too.

    Pam, for such a little thing, you sure do get yourself in big situations. So glad you didn’t get hurt jumping down. That looked like a big fall. Oh, I forgot, you are the nimble one.

    It looks like it was a bit chilly that day. I see you guys have coats on. Well it’s been cold just about everywhere. Still cloudy and cool here.

    Have enjoyed reading about your adventures. You two had a wonderful adventure there. Too bad we probably won’t get back into that area again. I would love to do all that hiking.

    Safe travels my friend.

  4. Lisa says:

    Oh my goodness, you saw big horn sheep!!!! I have never seen big horns in the local desert! I’m envious!!! So glad you enjoyed Borrego area. Looks like you had a lot of good experiences.

    Have fun in Yuma!

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