February 28, Tuesday
As has become my custom at this camp, I drive into Borrego Springs to use the free Wifi at Christmas Circle park since the cell signal where the Casita is parked is worthless and slow even in town where it does work. The drive back out of town is quite eventful. Parachuters touch down in the field across the road from the airport while a small plane waits to land. My timing is perfect and I get to watch both touch down.
At sunset I take a walk towards the dry lake. Small yellow flowers are popping up all over, and the mountains behind make a perfect backdrop for a photo. What a pretty place.
March 1, Wednesday
As I’ve mentioned before, this boondocking area gets a lot of use and is usually pretty full. It just so happens that an RVing couple I know from Amazon, Clarke and Elaine of Our Newell Adventure, are out here as well, and they know where the rock art is. We make arrangements to go hike up to it today.
The snake is the largest piece of art and the star of the show. Small white rocks are placed on top of the larger dark rocks that make up the body to give it a pattern. Clarke says it’s gotten longer since they first visited it in a previous year, people continue to add rocks.
The grass that makes the desert so pretty in spring makes the rock art harder to see. This bald eagle head looks kind of fuzzy.
Clarke and Elaine added their own piece to the collection last time they visited, a lobster. But someone has taken the lobster and turned it into a scorpion by adding a tail.
March 2, Thursday
To you readers it might seem like every hike I take is a superb adventure full of amazing vistas and eye-catching scenery. Well, they aren’t all like that. I just usually gloss over the ones that turn out to be duds, today’s hike is a good example. Brian and I drive out to a dirt road east of camp on S22 that was highlighted at the visitor center as being worth a visit.
I don’t know why it was labeled as such. The terrain is rolling hills with sparse brush and the occasional Ocotillo. You can’t see the badlands from here, the flora is much better elsewhere in the park, and the best vista is the one looking back towards the mountains north of S22. Oh well, you can’t win them all.
March 3, Friday
There’s a farmers market happening at the Christmas Circle today. I need to get my online work done in a hurry and don’t have time to peruse, but if you happen to be in Borrego Springs on a Friday morning it looks like it could be fun.
I’m in a hurry because today’s plan involves a drive through the mountains west of town. Brian and I head south on S3 and at Yaqui Pass spy a little camping area and pull in to take a peek.
It’s a large flat lot for dispersed camping, only one rig is here. Because this is state park land, I’m guessing a permit of some sort is needed to camp out here. The variety of cactus and hills and washes nearby are interesting, but you don’t get the mountain views that you do by the dry lake bed where I’m at. I’d prefer to be where I am.
S3 hugs the hillside down the pass, at the bottom is Tamarisk Grove Campground. There are tent sites here and cabins for rent, but it’s not really a place for RVs. Driveways are short.
The trees make for nice shade and seclusion, but again I much prefer the open spaces and views at the dry lake bed.
Where S3 meets up with 78 we turn east instead of west for a quick detour to Narrows Earth Trail, a half-mile self-guided loop that explains some of the geology of the region. You can make the trail longer by continuing into the canyon at the far end of the loop. It does get narrow and eventually you need to use your hands and do some climbing.
It’s quite a novelty to be a passenger instead of the driver. I get this picture of a gorge farther west on 78 while the car is in motion. But things like this never look as pretty in pictures as they do seen in person.
Near the edge of the park boundaries, S2 splits off to the west of 78 and climbs. At the top the land is flat, but higher in elevation than Borrego Springs. Cactus are much more rare up here and there is more brush and grass. It looks like a fire came through though and killed the brush. The breeze coming through the windows is cooler than down below.
Instead of continuing to Warner Springs, we turn east onto S22 towards Ranchita. For a while the road travels through a wooded area, it’s been a while since I’ve seen trees like this. Then the trees vanish and it’s back to scrub land. Large boulders dot the landscape.
S22 then quickly climbs down out of the mountains towards Borrego Springs, the road is twisty and with an 8% grade.
It wouldn’t be fun to do in an RV, but is just fine in a car. There are pullouts along the way to rest your brakes if you’re going down, engine if you’re going up, and take pictures no matter which direction you’re heading.
There’s another primitive camping area along S22, and this one would tempt me as it’s in a boulder field and would be fun to explore.
The dirt road out to it is short and not in the best of shape, you’d definitely want to make sure your vehicle can make it before blindly driving in. Culp Trail starts at the campground, and the dirt road continues beyond it. Past the campground it’s 4 wheel drive recommended.
Meanwhile, S22 continues down with frequent pullovers. This particular one offered a great view of town and Brian and I take turns getting each others picture in front of it.
Tonight’s sunset is subtle, but memorable, because it’s my last one at Borrego Springs. Tomorrow is another travel day!