Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Torote Canyon / Indian Valley ABDSP

Torote Canyon
The 3 day Presidents weekend brought a lot of visitors to Anza Borrego as well as the adjacent BLM lands. Our original plan was to camp and hike Painted Gorge. When my son and I arrived at the Painted Gorge trail head there were many OHV / RV users and also several groups target shooting near by so we decided to move on and head to Anza Borrego instead. Shifting gears and making a new 3 day plan we decided to camp at the base of Indian Gorge so I could try and capture some moonrise/sunrise pictures from the valley. This would also let us hike Torote Canyon the next morning. We hiked the full 9.8 mile loop thru the canyon, over the saddle near Indian (North) Valley and then back down to our campsite. We saw several other campers over the 3 days but none in the canyon where we hiked. The park rangers were also out and about, one ranger stopped and checked our metal fire container, ash cleanup bucket and also our dog being "leashed at all times". We had everything covered so we got a friendly smile and a "have a nice day" remark. The snow in the Laguna mountains was also a surprise vista.

Snow on Whale Peak Sunday morning, it was gone by 2pm

Honey Bee on some Desert Lavender

Heading up Torote Canyon

Some new blossoms in the wash

Some unidentified scat, the size of peanut shells. There was A LOT of this scat in the canyon

One hillside had a whole farm of Cholla Cactus

I can't have an outdoor trip without a picture of scat with bones in it

We saw some Prairie Falcons in the canyon

Looking down into Indian Valley (North) from the canyon saddle. You can see Sombrero Peak in the far distance

Coyote Mountains from our campsite late in the day

Sunrise on the Coyote Mtns. These colors lasted about 15 seconds

Whale Peak in the shadows of the sunrise

"Fred" our Drag Queen Alien makes his debut in Anza Borrego (Thanks Cayenne!)

Desert Lavender

The Laguna Mountains covered in snow viewed from the Domelands area

Our GPS tracks of Torote Canyon


Monday, February 14, 2011

Parade of Flight

100 Years of Naval Aviation
The Centennial of Naval Aviation kicked off their first event in San Diego on February 12th. While the crowds were large and the traffic horrible we were able to bypass most of it by riding our bicycles to Seaport Village and enjoy the show. It was great weather and an all around great day for the event.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Balboa Park Desert Garden

From the Balboa Park Desert Garden
Balboa Park is a great place to spend a few hours walking around on a sunny weekend. There are usually a handful of events going on and there are always the street performers there for entertainment as well. Balboa Park has numerous museums to visit, and a couple of botanical gardens also. Now is a great time to go visit and catch the beginning of the Spring blooming season.

For more information about Balboa Park and any of the museums or other attractions, visit the official website http://www.balboapark.org

From the Balboa Park Desert Garden

From the Balboa Park Desert Garden

From the Balboa Park Desert Garden

From the Balboa Park Desert Garden

From the Balboa Park Desert Garden

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Carrizo Gorge Old Railway Train Parts

Wow! This was probably the most pristine and beautiful canyon/wash area I have ever hiked in the ABDSP area. When I first turned off the jeep trail and started hiking down the canyon I was memorized. I felt as if I was the only human to have ever walked thru it. I felt guilty of polluting it with my foot steps. Many, many animal tracks could be seen. Rabbit, Bighorn Sheep, Coyote, Mountain Lion, etc all were there. The 2.5 miles of canyon consisted of section after section of flat sandy wash with a dry fall at the end. Towards the middle of the canyon it was becoming too difficult to navigate with my big camera in my hands and I decided to put it in my backpack. No sooner did I click the waist buckle closed did I hear a sound up to my left. I looked up and less than '50 away was a Bighorn Ram staring straight at me. I knew if I moved he would run. He was big and had some major damage to his right leg area. I could see a lot of the fur was gone and there was a long black section of maybe scar or scab healing. After maybe 2-3 seconds of staring he bolted..gone up the rocky ridge, I never saw him or any other Bighorn that day. Eventually I got to the end of the canyon and to my surprise was an old train section consisting of three passenger cars and one caboose. The caboose was from Mexico and the passenger cars were form Montreal. The pastel greens inside the passenger cars were pretty funky and the brilliant,flashy colors of the Mexican caboose brought memorable images of past Mexico trips to my mind. After finally reaching the tracks and seeing the old railway pieces down in the gorge I realized I was almost out of time and needed to head back. I fast tracked down the gorge, fought the catclaw, took some pictures and headed back. I made good time going back and was able to get on the freeway by 5pm.

I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

Looking down into the first part of the canyon

A natural Tinaja

Natural Tinaja

Another sandy section of the canyon

About a '20 dry fall, beautiful

Desert Lupine

Another sandy section, Tule Mtn in the far background

Bright Maroon Sumac Berries

Finally the train tracks, again Tule Mtn in the background

Another possible blind, the birds seemed to love it

I found this train section at the end of the canyon

Passenger cars were from Montreal

Funky 1950's pastel green interior colors

The Canadians are the most friendly people on trains


Looking thru the cars


Electrical room

Looking into the caboose

Inside the caboose

Looking back at the train from the engineer caboose seat

Engineer caboose area

Caboose area

Caboose was from Mexico

Caboose view

The wheel chock indicates a long term parking spot

Montreal cars

Looking north into Carrizo Gorge

Looking straight down at the railway wheels. They are almost dead center in the picture

Looking into one of the tunnels

Inside the tunnel

Why do animals always crap on rocks??

Looking south into Carrizo Gorge

Looking north into Carrizo Gorge

Finally the old railway parts!

June 15'th 1893!!

Old wheels

Old wheels

More old parts..buried in catclaw!

Old wheels

Old wheels

Old wheels

Old wheels

Looking back up to the tracks

Old can that had railway track spikes

 Damn catclaw, this was from only 100' or so of scrambling in the gorge. Got my hands and face also

The end of the canyon before I entered the gorge

One of my favorite photographic subjects, animal scat. This scat has some small teeth in the mouth bones, maybe a small rodent of some sort.

Juniper Berries, they were everywhere

Found another wildlife guzzler. That is a total of (4) in the area.

Can't visit the desert without finding a mylar balloon

Yours truly with my Team Injinji Shirt