I led another trip for SCCX (the So Cal Xterra Club) on Saturday, Dec 18th. This time we checked out the northern end of Anza Borrego Desert State Park, starting out in Arroyo Salado, then 17 Palms Oasis, followed by the Pumpkin Patch, then Ella Wash, Vista del Malpais, Short Wash and finally ending at Font's Point to watch the sunset. There were storms over most of Southern California that I guess must have kept people away. It was beautiful out in the desert though. There were a fair amount of clouds, but that just makes for better photos.
It rained for most of the drive out across the mountains from San Diego, but was starting to clear as passed through Ranchita and started down the Montezuma Grade. The view from the overlook spot was nice. We were a group of 6 Xterras and 1 Jeep, and we all drove out from the San Diego area together. No one else showed up at the Arroyo Salado meet spot.
Lined up and ready to roll from the meet spot in Arroyo Salado.
Our first stop was 17 Palms Oasis. We saw almost no one else on the trails on Saturday, which surprised me, but it was nice to have the oasis all to ourselves.
Our next stop was the Pumpkin Patch, an area in the Ocotillo Wells SRVA with a large amount of sandstone concretions. The Park Service has fenced the area off to protect the "pumpkins", and they set up an information kiosk on busy weekends to help educate people about the geology of the area. These things really do kind of look like pumpkins.
On the way back from the Pumpkin Patch we stopped for a group photo in the narrow, windy wash that connects Tule Wash to Arroyo Salado. Luckily there was no one coming the other way, it's barely wide enough for one vehicle through there.
We found a nice spot for lunch at the intersection of Ella Wash and Palo Verde Wash, and then drove out to the overlook at Vista del Malpais, for a great view of the Borrego Badlands. Again, we had the place to ourselves.
Time to move on to our next stop.
A while back I noticed these interesting little rock and sand formations in one of the side washes off of the narrower part of Short Wash, so I thought I would share them with the group. They remind me of the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon, only on a much smaller scale. They appear to be formed the same way, with the cap rock protecting the column of sand below it, and the rest of the sand eroding away.
It was getting late in the afternoon, and our plan was to be at Font's Point in time to watch the sun set, so off we went. It's that time of year, so Christmas Penguin was along for the ride.
The view from Font's Point was nice, and as an added bonus it was nowhere near as cold as I had expected it to be. I think that there just a bit too many gray clouds for a really colorful sunset, but it was still a great scene, no matter what direction you looked in.
As we were driving back to the highway the sky towards the north was starting to get pinkish.
There was an almost full moon rising through the pink clouds over the desert as we stopped to re-inflate our tires at the end of the day. A perfect ending to another perfect day in the desert.
Here is my first attempt at video. It's only 17 seconds long, which is actually about 3 seconds too many. I figured out the other day that my new Blackberry has video, but I still don't really know how to use it, which explains the last 3 seconds. Christmas Penguin goes for a ride in the desert.
Click here to see more images from Saturday, Dec 18, 2010 in Anza Borrego Desert State Park.
Photography . . . Travel . . .
- Frank B. Baiamonte
- San Diego, California, United States
- About me . . . When I'm not working I like to be out exploring and photographing. I do this blog just for fun, and to be able to share these images with friends. I hope you enjoy viewing these images as much as I enjoyed creating them.
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Header image: Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, Cibola, Arizona. End image: Downtown San Diego, California skyline from Coronado Island. Profile picture: Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho, by Heather Baiamonte.