Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Anza Borrego Desert SP, Blair CG

Wednesday: (03/31) We were on the road by 9am headed towards Yuma where we filled up our gas tank with the last of the cheap Arizona gas. We also filled our LPG tank. With all reserves full, we headed out on I8 a little after 10am.

We passed through both the California Ag checkpoint and the Border Patrol checkpoint with no delays. Fortunately, we must have looked innocent. Shortly after the Border Patrol checkpoint we exited I8 onto highway 98 toward Calexico.

We stopped in Calexico to look around a couple of flea markets. Lou found a new sun hat. After our look, we had leftover bean soup and fresh coleslaw for lunch before continuing West on highway 98.

Just before highway 98 meets I8 again, we turned onto highway S2 to head into the desert parks.

Purple Flower Near Anza Borrego Yellow Flower Near Anza Borrego
We stopped for a photo break along highway S2. A couple of new flowers for this years viewing.

More Yellow Daisy Bush Flowers
These look similar to some previous. Lots of yellow daisy like flowers on a bush but these had orange centers and the earlier ones had brown centers.

We looked over a couple of BLM campsites on our way in but one was full and the others too difficult for us to use. We also stopped by Agua Caliente County Park but they were too crowded for our likes and we continued on.

We stopped at Blair Campground in Anza Borrego SP, the only campers, or at least we could see no other campers. There were a few others way out the road which skirts the dry lake. "Dry" doesn't do the lake justice. Anywhere else it would be called a meadow. It is lush and green, not sand or salt. From our campsite we have a nice view over the valley.

While we had no rain, the wind was pretty heavy all day (30+mph gusts) and is still gusting pretty good here at our campsite. Lou fixed chicken, broccoli, and backed potatoes for dinner. We disconnected the toad and took a little tour out along the edge of the dry lake and found the few other campers, all very dispersed. The road looks like it could become messy when it rains. there are several spots where trucks or motorhomes obviously got stuck in the mud leaving deep furrows. We're not interested in that and when it started to sprinkle we dashed back to the safety of our campsite. Maybe we'll be more brave tomorrow when the suns out?

Our new camp is level but a little elevated and overlooking the meadow. It's in a small valley surrounded by short hills that have large rocks to boulders all over them (aka big rock piles).

A Red Sunrise Our Campsite At Anza Borrego's Blair CG
Thursday: (04/01) April Fools Day but this is not a tale! We got up about 06:00. We went out and enjoyed a red sunrise. It was overcast but to the South, some of the mountains were brightly lit by the sun.

Snow On Mountains After Our Snow Storm At Blair CG
It started to sprinkle a little so we came inside. Lou fixed corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast. It continued to drip outside eventually actually causing a little flow off our downspouts. By 08:30 it had been raining fairly consistently for two hours and we actually started to get puddles. It also started snowing with big 1" sized flakes amidst the rain. It didn't stick around but melted immediately when it hit the ground. We are at 2550 feet elevation here, considerably higher that the 280 ft down at Imperial Dam.

While the morning started off like we might need to stay home today, by 10am the sun was shining and we were off. it was still cold, but nice. We drove out the road along the Blair dry lake (meadow) to the South Home Site.

South Homesite A White Flower
A family named South built a house on top of one of the mountains and grew their food there in terraces using a cistern watering system during the depression. This hike was fairly steep and rocky but gives some good views from the home site at the top of the mountain.

Century Plant Rising Century Blooming
There were a lot of century plants everywhere, especially on the trail to the South Homesite.

Cactus Blooming Cactus Blooming Closeup
This little cactus along the trail was in bloom so I had to capture it.

Bird At South Homesite, Anza Borrego
We enjoyed our lunch at the top, granola bars and jerky with banana chips. While we had lunch, this bird watched us standing on a cactus.

Morteros (Grinding Holes) Morteros (Grinding Holes). On The Side Of The Rock?
We continued out the dirt road to see the Mortors (Indian grinding rocks). This is another 1 mile hike out and another back.

A Yucca Plant Starting To Bloom Yucca In Bloom
The yucca plants are blooming. On the left is the beginning and on the right the end.

Pictographs At Anza Borrego Pictographs At Anza Borrego
We continued out the dirt road to the Pictographs. Lou made the first two hikes but decided to rest her knee and I hiked out to see the Pictographs. There is a single boulder that has some painted pictographs on one side of it. The symbols are different that any others we've seen.

White Flower
On the way out to the pictographs I spotted this flower. It is supposedly the Desert Chicory so i guess we could brew up a nice drink with it.

Each of these hikes were supposedly 1 mile out and another back but I think they just had a sale on 1 mile signs. the hikes are quite different with the first and last hakes seeming much longer and the middle seeming much less.

We got back to camp a little after 3pm and it was ice cream time. That always helps.

The sky was cloudy this morning then cleared leaving some clouds hanging around the taller mountains to our West. Now the sky is blue and there are a few clouds here and there none of which will likely do anything. All the snow that did remain on the taller mountains later in the day is now gone.

Lou fixed a chicken, shrimp, green bean, broccoli, carrot and onion stir fry for dinner. It was mostly leftover stuff.

I uploaded some more photos in the evening.

Anza Borrego Blair CG Frog Rock
Friday: (04/02) I started the day with a short walk up the hill behind our camp to the highway then down the highway to check an old abandoned homesteaders cabin, then across to Blair lake and out the road on the opposite side from our drives. I thought it might be shorter than it was and returned to camp without going to end of the road. There are lots of possible campsites along that Western side of the lake as well.

The hill behind our campsite gave a nice view of the campsite with Blair Dry Lake behind it. Also from our window, we got the view on the right above of a rock frog. it was huge!

Anza Borrego Blair CG Purple Flower Anza Borrego Blair CG White Pincushion Flower
And, of course, there were some interesting flowers to be captured.

Anza Borrego Blair CG Yellow Flowers Beetle At Blair CG
In addition to flora, there is interesting fauna. The beetle on the right above is about a 1/2 inch in diameter, a big fella. He was really interested in devouring the plant he was on.

Lou fixed French toast and bacon for breakfast. After breakfast we broke camp and headed out toward Borrego Springs to the Visitor Center.

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