Sunday, December 7, 2014

Borrego Palm Canyon Backpack - ABDSP

Took a quick overnight backpack trip with Craig up Borrego Palm Canyon. Lots of day hikers to the first grove but we did not see anybody the whole trip after that. We tried to hike up the north fork but it was too choked with brush so we retreated back to the 4th grove and camped out for the night. We did see some type of hawk and misc birds but that was about it for wildlife, no bighorn. The first grove did not have any water but there was plenty from the 2'nd grove and up. Craig brought his filter and it was a nice change to only carry a couple liters of water and just pump some more when we needed it.

Looking east down at the 1'st grove and Craig
Looking east at the 1'st grove and Craig

The north fork is pretty choked with vegetation
Borrego Palm Canyon North Fork is choked with brush

The canyon is pretty big, here is Craig near some of the many palms in the canyon

Looking down at the 4th grove, this is where we camped and I can't think of too many places in the desert where I have camped where I got to sleep to the sound of palm tree fronds blowing in the wind and running water, it was very nice.
4th Grove

There was quite a bit of running water all the way up the canyon
Borrego Palm Canyon

Borrego Palm Canyon

Borrego Palm Canyon

Plenty of these guys came out at night...right where I was sleeping...(UPDATE: Wolf Spider)
Sand Spiders at night

Some nice green reeds....not sure what the official name is...(UPDATE: Horsetail Reeds)
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Total Mylar Balloons this trip - 1 (rescued form the water)

Mylar Balloon pulled from the water

Monday, December 1, 2014

Piedras Grandes / Indian Hill - ABDSP

A Quick overnight trip and day hike in the Piedras Grandes Area. Apparently 5 million other people like that area also over the Thanksgiving break based on the 10 million footprints I saw everywhere and all the car campers. Anyway, great area and lots of cool boulders to explore. The Ocotillo Wind Farm is just awful during the day and a total nightmare by night, I feel real bad for the residents there.

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Love my new Fuji XE-1 and the Velvia Film Mode, makes a great Sunrise and requires no PP. Most of these were all shot with the Rokinon 12mm F2.0 NCS CS Ultra Wide Angle Lens
Sunrise at Dos Cabezas in Anza Borrego Desert State Park

Some misc rock art in the area, probably has already been posted a million times by others

Total Mylar Balloons this trip - 1

Here is a sunrise photo with the built in Panorama mode of the Fuji XE-1

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Friday, November 28, 2014

Rockhouse Canyon / Buck Ridge / Jackass Flat 4 Day Backpack - ABDSP

Gary led us on another great 4 day backpack trip that was a big loop thru Rockhouse Canyon, into Alder Canyon and over Buck Ridge and then finishing up by crossing Jackass Flat which led us back to our vehicles waiting at the end of Rockhouse Canyon. The road going into Rockhouse past the Butler Junction is the worst I have ever seen it, the first rock ramp is completely washed away and it just gets worse form there.

My new little Toyota was able to navigate it without trouble but the other Toyota in our group needed to stop every few hundred yards to find a route thru the rocky mess.
Still trying to go as light weight as possible I purchased a brand new backpack, a Granite Gear Torso Blaze Ac 60. It weighs in at 2lb 14oz and has a 60 liter capacity with a 35lb carry capacity. It easily handled my 4 days worth of stuff and I broke it in the first day with no problems whatsoever, I totally recommend this pack.

Here is the pack and my gear waiting to get stuffed in

Here it is in action on the 4th day

The night skies were perfect for watching the stars, we saw many shooting stars as well as the Andromeda Galaxy up near the Milky Way. I took my new Fuji XE-1 and and a new Rokinon 12mm F2.0 NCS CS Ultra Wide Angle Lens and I was able to get some decent photos but I still need more practice. Here are a few of the better ones. The Borrego Sky Art photo was inspired by Ian over at, thanks Ian!

These next photo is actually a panorama stitched together from several photos, you can see the Andromeda Galaxy at about 1'oclock in it.

 One of the springs we fixed up a couple years was still in good order, just a few minutes of clearing it out and we had nice clear running water again, I was pretty happy to see it was holding up so well.

Some early morning sunrise colors on the Creosote and Tom's tent

You don't see these too often, mortars that have worn all the way thru

Heading up towards the Cottonwoods we saw some tracks I am still not able to identify and then later deer

The sunrise colors were beautiful this trip, here is an early morning view from the Cottonwoods looking south towards Alder Canyon and Buck Ridge

Gary watches after many of the trees in Rockhouse and this baby Cottonwood is one of them

After we jumped into Alder Canyon we climbed up Buck Ridge and got an incredible view of Jackass Flat and Borrego Springs with Coyote Mountain in the distance

This is a group photo of everyone coming down the ridge into Jackass Flat

Sunrise from Jackass Flat

I finished up the trip by staying one more night out near Henderson Canyon and took a few more photos of the Sky Art during the night and at sunrise
Total Mylar Balloons This Trip - 26!

You can see more photos of this trip in my photo gallery here