Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wildflower Blooms Spring 2011

Wildflowers in MTRP
Spring is almost over in Southern California. This may be your last opportunity to get out and see any remaining wildflower blooms. One of the more popular places to visit is the Anza Borrego Desert State Park. There are still many flowers blooming now, especially in the northern area of the park. If you can't get to the desert try one of your local designated outdoor park areas such as Mission Trails Regional Park or the San Dieguito River Park. I have put together a slideshow of some wildflower blooms from various areas of San Diego for 2011.

To see the complete collection of photos please visit my photo gallery website.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sky Art in Anza Borrego Desert State Park ABDSP

Sky Art in Anza Borrego
When you are driving  along the highway in Anza Borrego Desert State Park you will be amazed by the surrounding landscape. You may be lucky enough to spot a Turkey Vulture circling above hunting for food or maybe even some Bighorn Sheep. There are some other amazing sights along the highway that are man made, Sky Art. These sculptures are placed in various locations in the northern part of the park. These amazing sculptures were created by Ricardo Breceda for the owner of the Galleta Meadows in Anza Borrego. Be sure to set aside some time to visit the sculptures when traveling in the park.

You can find out more information at the Galleta Meadows website

Watch the sideshow below or click here to see the full gallery of images.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sacatone Overlook / Carrizo Gorge ABDSP

Gopher Snake in Carrizo Gorge
Scotty "C" and I headed out to Carrizo Gorge for our now annual Sacatone Overlook / Carrizo Gorge hike. You can read about our trip last year here. This year we decided to go south in the bottom of Carrizo Gorge and see if we could find any remains of the old train encampment. The weather this year was much nicer than last year but the terrain and amount of elevation gain/loss still makes this a pretty difficult hike thru some of the least visited and remote areas of Anza Borrego. When hiking in this area of the park we usually do not even see any signs of illegal crossing routes, no dumped backpacks or discarded tuna cans. Scott and I both agree that if the illegals can make it thru this part of the backcountry than they probably have earned a spot here.

April brings Spring weather and also many wildflowers and snakes. We saw four snakes this trip but no rattlesnakes. Wildflowers and especially the cactus blooms seem more abundant in this area of the park. We covered about 9.5 miles total and about 5,000' of elevation gain/loss in about 9 hours. We made really good time compared to last year, mostly due to Scott's recent intense Jillian Michaels regiment...way to go Scott!!

Be sure to look at all of the pictures from the trip here

Scott and I before we head down Cry Baby Hill..looking good Scott!!
Some pottery sherds and a metate we found along the way
Close up of the pottery sherds and some other tool looking like stones
Gopher snake we saw along the way, Scott stepped within inches of this snake not seeing easily
Balance Rock, we use this as a field marker to navigate this remote area of the park
Yucca Bloom
Desert Beetle on a Barrel Cactus Bloom
Down in Carrizo Gorge looking south
Cholla Forest - we got cholla balls stuck on us with every step
This was about the most prominent sign of the train camp
Horned Toad Lizard
GPS Tracks of the route
This panorama shows a large section of one hillside collapsing down
This is a panorama of the entire gorge area

Be sure to look at all of the pictures from the trip here


Saturday, April 9, 2011

San Dieguito River Valley

Song Sparrow
I took another trip out to the San Dieguito River Valley, this time on my mountain bike. I was hoping to cover more ground and explore the large trail system that has been built near the Mule Hill area. I rode out past Raptor Ridge and settled on taking a few pictures there and then headed back, it was a cold,windy and drizzly day and there was not very much wildlife action. There were plenty of clues visible on the trail that wildlife does exist out in this area, lots and lots of large scat, mostly coyote was scattered on the trail. At one point on the trail I smelled something pretty foul and after looking around in the tall grass I saw the source, a deer carcass that was rotting away. I can't say what the cause of death was but it was clear that the carcass had been chewed on, probably by coyotes and mountain lions and maybe some of the raptor birds as well.

Here are a few pictures from this visit and you can see all of my pictures from the San Dieguito River Valley here

Great Egret near the Highland Valley area
Red Tail Hawk soaring above Raptor Ridge
Song Sparrow near the strawberry fields in the Highland Valley area
Deer carcass near Raptor Ridge
You can see the chewing, gnawing of the top spine bones on the deer carcass
Further away from the carcass were the leg bones
In another area away from the carcass were the mouth and jaw bones

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Indian / Clark / Blair Valley ABDSP

Desert Beetle enjoying pollen
Camped out for three nights last week in Indian Valley and Blair Valley. Bob from the Anza Borrego website wanted to check out some pictographs Scott and I found on a previous trip so I met him in Indian Valley for a second trip out to Inner Pasture where the pictographs are located. Along the way we spotted a Red Racer snake lounging in the sun and also many wildflowers blooming in the sandy washes and rocky ridges we climbed.

The next day I headed over to Clark Valley to finally see the petroglyphs located near the dry lake bed. Temperatures that day reached 97 degrees on my truck dash, it was hot and I ended up drinking close to 120 ounces of water for a 4 mile hike. I camped the last night in Blair Valley where I knew it would be cooler and it was 87 degrees when I arrived near 5pm. I ended up camping at the Pictograph trailhead and in the morning hiked down to see the pictographs and also Smuggler Canyon. These pictographs are well documented by all of the Anza Borrego Visitor information pamphlets and are actually pretty cool to go see. The road is a 5 mile hard packed dirt road passable by almost any vehicle in good weather. In fact the only people I saw showed up in a Honda Fit. They stayed briefly and then I had the whole area to myself until I left the next morning.

Total Mylar balloon count for 3 days of hiking....15

You can see more pictures of Indian Valley, Clark Valley and Blair Valley here

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the trip.

Red Racer snake in Indian Valley
Fishhook Cactus in Indian Valley
Desert Beetle covered with pollen on a Wallaces Woolie Daisy
Turkey Vulture in Indian Valley
Desert Iguana posturing with his mouth open to appear larger as defense measure
Side-Blotched Lizard in Blair Valley
White-Crowned Sparrow in Clark Valley
Panorama of Clark Valley (click image to see full size)
Panorama of Smuggler Canyon (click to see full size)

Be sure to check out all of the pictures from the trip here