Heather and I were joined on Sunday by our friends Rae and Robert for a day of exploring around Anza Borrego Desert State Park. We spent most of the day exploring off road in the sandy washes at the northern end of the Park, in the area around Arroyo Salado and Palo Verde Wash. Our first stop was 17 Palms Oasis, followed by 5 Palms Oasis and then a trip out to the Pumpkin Patch, which is just outside of the State Park boundary in the Ocotillo Wells SVRA.
To get to Anza Borrego from San Diego you do need to drive over the mountains. It had rained all day on Saturday, but by Sunday morning the skies were clear, except for the tops of the mountains. Here's the view from Wynola Road.
There isn't much around 17 Palms Oasis, it really does stand out in the middle of the desert.
The trees look kind of soft and furry when you get a little closer. The also look a lot like Cousin It. In reality that "furry look" is anything but soft.
5 Palms Oasis is even more isolated. If you're thinking that you only see 4 palm trees in this picture, look again at the lower left corner for palm number 5 (or rather, what's left of it).
From 5 Palms we drove over to the Pumpkin Patch, located just outside of Anza Borrego Desert State Park in an area set aside for off-highway (ATV type) vehicles.
These are not rocks but rather are sandstone concretions formed over many years. There is a fence around the patch in order to protect the concretions from being destroyed. You can walk in to see them, but vehicles are not allowed. Every now and then one of the pumpkins will try to escape.
After we left the Pumpkin Patch we went back along Arroyo Salado, then down Ella Wash to Palo Verde and Short Wash and eventually made our way to Vista del Malpais, on overlook which has a great view looking south across the Borrego Badlands. In this picture you can see the Badlands in the foreground, then San Felipe Wash (which looks almost green this time of year), and then Borrego Mountain and on the right side is the area where we were 2 weeks ago when we hiked The Slot.
Here's a close up looking down into the Badlands. That ground is really soft and spongy.
The view south from the Vista is always nice, but when you have weather like we had on Sunday the view to the north can be even better.
We made another stop on the way out, this time in Short Wash to check out these mini-hoodoo formations that I had spotted the last time I was here. These appear to be formed just like the big hoodoos found in places like Bryce Canyon, where a hard cap rock protects the softer material below, and everything else is washed away by water, only on a much smaller scale.
We found lots of wildflowers in bloom, both along the trails and later along Henderson Canyon Road at the north side of Borrego Springs.
We finished up our day with dinner at Carlee's in Borrego Springs, then drove up the Montezuma Grade as the full moon rose in the distance over the Salton Sea.
Click here to see more images from our trip.
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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- Another Trip to Anza Borrego - More Sandstone and ...
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- A Late Afternoon Walk Around Balboa Park
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All of the content and images on this site (c) Frank B. Baiamonte. If you would like to use any of these images please contact me via email at email@example.com to discuss terms of usage. Note that images from the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park are not available for commercial usage. You can also see more on my Instagram page @frankbaiamonte.
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.