The past couple of days couldn't have been lovelier. Borrego Springs is even prettier than I remember it with the beautiful blue skies and the Santa Rosa Mountains in the background.
This being California, there is plenty of citrus growing. The RV park where we've been staying has orange trees growing at every site.
If the environment weren't nice enough, there is always the company. We've had a wonderful time with our friends Tom and Deb. If you've been reading long enough, then you may remember we met up with them in Whistler last June where we hatched this trip. Here's Tom approaching two mornings ago. They purchased a used rig...vintage, some might say...and very nice. That's their rig to the left.
It has the coolest stained glass window on the door.
We have eaten good food, soaked in the park's mineral hot tubs, relaxed, hiked, and we have done a lot of laughing.
Monday morning we went into the little town of Borrego Springs. It barely qualifies as a wide spot in the road. We're here for the mineral hot tubs. We do have our priorities.
(My ISO was set too high in that image above. That's why the colors are a little off. I had to bring it back from the dead.) You know I love signs that make no sense, so I included this one. Perhaps you can think of a way to use this post.
After that, we took off for about a half hour drive to hike. This is the book we were working from.
The book describes the hikes pretty well, but directions and distances are off by more than a little.
It was about a half hour's drive on Hwy 78 and S-2, and then another 20 minutes or so on a dirt road. With the recent rains, there were some pretty scary puddles to drive through, but our truck was able to do it easily. I wouldn't have wanted to be in a car with lower clearance. Along the way we saw a pair of nervous coyotes. They kept trotting away from us, and we kept following.
I could imagine we were bothering them, and that they were yelling back and forth, "What is up with these people? Why do they keep following us?"
Finally, the road came to an end, and we found the trailhead.
The trail book promised us a good look at some pictographs from the Kumeyaay tribe that still lives in the area, although the pictographs are approximately 200-300 years old. They were rendered with paints made from ground minerals that endure constant natural erosion from the elements (wind, sun, and rain). Here's the sign at the trailhead.
Beyond the pictographs we were told we would get an expansive view of the Vallecitos Valley. As we headed down the trail, I turned for one last look at civilization...primitive though it was.
There wasn't a lot of vegetation in this sun-parched area, but we did see a lot of yuccas and bloomed out stalks of century plants.
Also, Ocotillos and hunky men.
Two-thirds of the way out, we came across the huge boulder that displayed the pictographs.
The chain of diamonds is fairly typical of the pictographs in this area of the world.
I took a picture of this motley crew to give you some scale.
Mike and I planned our wardrobe choices poorly. It was warm enough to be out in short sleeves at the RV park, but the hike was at a higher elevation, and we were just barely warm enough as long as we kept moving and stayed in the sun. In fact, there was snow all along the trail in the shaded areas.
Tom used the opportunity to sun himself like a lizard on a flat rock. The sun was warm. The rock was cold.
True to its word, the hiking book informed us that if we continued on the trail after the pictographs, we would approach what appeared to be a ridge blocking the way, but that if we continued, we would find a split where we could pass through to see the valley below. We were walking in a wash, and the split is where the water falls to the valley 100-200 feet below.
There were a few other hikers out on the trail, and I took this picture of one of them for scale.
We kept going, and eventually, the split revealed itself.
And there it is...the Vallecitos Valley. You can see where the wash continues on below.
Deb and Mike climbed up on some rocks for a better view. I stayed below, trying to give my knee a break.
When we're out on these desert hikes, we almost always see crows, stalking us as we go. Yesterday was no different.
After that, it was turn around and head back the way we came. As we headed back, I took this opportunity to get a picture of the valley where Borrego Springs lies.
The kitties are doing a little better each day. We've been able to sleep most of the night for the last three nights. Prior to that, we were breaking up a cat fight every few hours. For now, Maggie is holding her own, and she's letting Smitty know that she'll pull his tail up around his ears if he isn't careful. This is their usual MO...Maggie hiding, or else being very bold...Smitty keeping an eagle eye on her at all times.
As I said in an earlier post, it's doubtful that I'll have internet in the national park, but things are always changing. If I can get a cell signal, I can get internet. If not, then you won't hear from me for a day or two.