Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Borrego Palm Canyon "Fannypack" trip

After our Bighorn Sheep Count orientation meeting we headed up to the 4th grove to see how the canyon was doing water wise. The droughts suggested the sheep would have another very dry summer. I am going on 8 months now of L5/S1 sciatic nerve impingement and my left leg is impaired with about 30% loss of strength and numbness but improving each day. With a Mountainsmith Day TLS fanny pack I can get out and do things now, like a single overnight "fannypack" trip. No backpack trips in sight for some time.

I drove out the night before the orientation and slept out on the ground on a bluff at Fonts Point. Camera gear was a 1916 Kodak Junior No. 1 Autographic I picked up on craigslist last week and my Canon S100 point-n-shoot. Wind was just way, way too much...sand blowing all night and my bivy was filled with sand thru the no-see-em mesh.

Foints Point at sundown
Fonts Point at sundown

Fire Moonrise
Red moonrise

Fonts Point Wash and Toro Peak off in the distance. One shot from the 1916 camera and one from the S100

Kodak Jr
Fonts Point Wash looking at Toro Peak in the distance

Toro Peak in the distance

Fonts Point long exposure with a full moon. A bit under exposed
Fonts Point at night with full moon

I had 2 rolls of 120 film to shoot so I stopped to take some photos of the Sky Art with the old camera. I used some filters and Series VI adapters that got on Ebay from Caroles314, you won't find a better seller on ebay than her.

The 1916 Kodak Jr No. 1 Autographic
1916 Kodak Junior 1 Autographic

Sky Art

Sky Art

Sky Art

Over at the Visitor Center I put a roll of Redscale film in the old camera. With Redscale film you can over expose quite a bit, the film was 400 ISO and I exposed it at 25 ISO.

The VC and Indianhead
Visitor Centor in ABDSP with Indianhead Mtn in the background

Indianhead from the VC
Indianhead Mtn

Our trek up into the canyon was uneventful but enjoyable. There were no other hikers past the first grove (in 100+ temps mind you) so we had the whole canyon to ourselves. Plenty of water was flowing for the sheep, birds, bugs and humans.

Some gorgeous scat on the trail

Check out the detail of the red seeds or whatever they are

Coming up to the 1'st grove we can see plenty of water flowing, no huge punchbowls like in years past but enough for wildlife to drink
1'st Grove

1'st Grove
1'st grove

More water flowing up near 3rd grove
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While we were making camp around 7pm we heard some rocks falling on one of the hillsides and started looking around, after about 15 minutes we spotted the bighorn sheep. There were 9 of them, 3 older rams, 3 ewes and 3 lambs. They were quite happy to frolic around while we watched and as the sun went down they sauntered off past our camp.
8 sheep, can you seen them? 3 rams, 2 ewes, 3 lambs

Ewe and her lamb

As the sun set they made great silhouettes as they climbed the ridge
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Lots of wildlife, insects and other living creatures in and near the water. I probably spent an hour photographing stuff in the water while the rest of our gang went hiking around.
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Some kind of spider

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1'st grove wasp

1'st Grove Tadpole


The reflections from the Palm Grove on the water surface were really cool
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Lots of really cool looking rock surfaces all thru the canyon
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A really big "Moss Blanket"
Moss Blanket

On the way out we found a dead lamb, probably from disease or injury

Palm Canyon was a great overnight trip, recommended for anyone but watch out for high temperatures during the summer.

Here is a video of the sheep frolicking around on a boulder, they did this for 10-15 minutes, chasing each other around like "catch me if you can"

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On my way home I still had some film left to burn so here are a few more photos from the old 1916 Kodak folder

View Point going up Montezuma Grade
View of Borrego Springs from the view point on Montezuma grade

ABDSP sign in Ranchita Ca

The now restored Butterfield Stage Shop. It is open for tours, be sure to stop by and check it out.
Butterfield Stage Shop

Butterfield Stage Shop

Total mylar ballons this trip - 2 (no photos but they were fresh ones)


  1. I'm going to have to start paying more attention to the water. You found so many different creatures in and around it. Really nice photos Daren.

    1. Thanks Pat, yeah, tons of different living creatures in the water, fascinating!!