We were even treated to gorgeous displays of desert wildflowers, along with several up-close encounters with the normally elusive desert bighorn sheep.
The Grand Finale Of Our Caravanning Adventure
This week was the grand finale of our exceptional two-month caravanning adventure with Ted and Katherine. Our next-door neighbors in the campground were more Rogue Valley friends and fellow musicians Cynthia and Kyle, who greeted us with open arms and soothed our ruffled feathers from our crash landing in the park. We enjoyed dinners together and music around the campfire when we weren’t blown indoors by high winds sweeping through the canyon.
And we were delighted to meet up with fellow full-time RV’ers and bloggers LuAnn and Terry (Paint Your Landscape). We felt an immediate camaraderie with them, and enjoyed hiking together, potluck dinners at camp, and great conversation. Once again, we were reminded of just how fortunate we are to have such loving, generous, fun, and supportive friends. They make everything in life better, enhancing the good times and easing the rough times.
Anza Borrego Desert State Park is the largest state park in California—and it’s also one of the most remote. There’s a rugged beauty here that’s called us back several times over the past decade. We’ve hiked many trails in the park, biked the little town of Borrego Springs and the backcountry, and gone on far-flung expeditions to distant regions of the park. This time, we kept things pretty simple (although we did have one unique all-day adventure; coming up in the next post).
Here, in addition to lots of socializing and planning trailer repairs, are our adventures in Anza Borrego this trip:
Hiking In The Park
Located within the campground, the Borrego Palm Canyon trail is one of our favorites. At just over 3 miles round-trip, it leads through a beautiful landscape of boulders and spring flowering desert shrubs to the third largest palm oasis in California.
Not only is the trail convenient, it’s also a good place for wildflowers, so we hiked the trail on several different days. The trail is also one of the best places to see the endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep, and we were fortunate to encounter them on three separate occasions.
Hiking With A Naturalist
The terrific Anza Borrego Foundation offers a variety of guided hikes for a minimal cost. We joined a naturalist for a hike in Cool Canyon, where we learned more about the desert plants than we could possibly remember.
More than 140 animals, historical characters, and fanciful creatures (including a 350-foot-long serpent) are scattered across the picturesque desert landscape in Borrego Springs.
The enormous metal sculptures are a gift to the public from philanthropist David Avery and are the work of artist Ricardo Breceda, who has taken the art of welding to creative new heights. You can pick up a map from the Anza Borrego Desert Natural History Association and explore at your leisure.
About The Campground
Despite that big bad boulder and the tight turns in the campground, we love staying in Borrego Palm Canyon campground in Anza Borrego. Although full-hookup sites are available, we always choose a no hook-up site because they’re more spacious and prettier. Our favorites are those that back up to the canyon wall—this is also where the mountain sheep might cruise through your campsite. Water faucets are located throughout the campground, there’s plenty of sunshine for our solar panels, and there are very nice bathrooms and private showers in the campground. Most of the campsites have a fire pit, picnic table, and shade structure, and some even have their own CCC-built stone ramada and fireplace.
The excellent visitor center is biking distance from the campground. The films and exhibits about the desert are well done, and the staff provides up-to-date tips on the best hikes and where to find the most prolific wildflower blooms.
My oh my, the flowers are amazing in the desert this year! And those sheep…what a sight, and so close! Your photos are gorgeous!
Thanks, Lisa. We definitely hit the wildflowers at the right time, and we were SO lucky to have such close encounters with the sheep.
You were there at a great time of year to capture all the flowers – and a Spring lamb! The crown of blooms on the barrel cactus and the quail bring back great memories of living in the desert. So glad the mishap didn’t mar your time in AB. Visiting with friends always helps! Love the balancing raven :-)
Jodee, we were so fortunate to have friends around. It definitely helped us put things in perspective and gave us something to focus on other than our poor trailer.
I can’t believe how close you got to the Bighorn. They are magnificent. I’m hoping to get to Anza Borrego next winter to explore (providing I don’t have to go to TX) The special friendships forged along our journey add to the overall joy and beauty of the adventure.
Ingrid, this was by far the closest we’ve ever been to the wild sheep — we weren’t deliberately trying to get close, the sheep would just suddenly appear in front of us when we were on the trail. You’ll love Anza Borrego.
Awesome pics of the sheep. I couldn’t believe the pic of Eric taking pictures. He must have been only 6 ft away! Love that park.
Jo, you’re right, Eric was only about 6 feet away — the sheep bounded up next to us on the trail, and we just stopped and enjoyed the show.
So good to hear that your visit to Anza Borrego wasn’t ruined by your arrival:) Good that you had so many friends around to keep your spirits lifted:) Your sheep encounter was fabulous!! I assume that was on the Borrego Springs hike!? I do believe the sheep are getting quite tame in the canyon. You certainly saw a ton of them. Very cool!! So glad you got to spend time with Terry and LuAnn. Aren’t they great!
Pam, the sheep were all on the Palm Canyon trail or heading up the canyon wall right next to our campsite. In our previous visits to AB, we’ve only ever seen a couple of sheep. I think we just happened to in the right place at the right time, because many other people didn’t see them. And yes, we had a great time with Terry and LuAnn!
Wow, those big horns are show offs! And another wow for those desert blooms!
Looked like you had wonderful time with Terry and LuAnn. Surrounded by friends to cheer you up, it’s easy to dust off temporarily the “event” and join in the laughter and friendships.
ML, you are so right — friends really cheered us up — we had lots of laughs together (including about the big bad boulder). We consider ourselves very lucky to have seen the wildflowers in peak bloom and to have had close encounters with dozens of sheep.
Beautiful pics, and what looks like a graceful (and grateful) recovery from the attack of the wild boulder. You guys are so good at this life!
Thanks, Kim. If nothing else, this traveling life calls us to be flexible and adaptable. Of course, that’s true of life in general, but it’s certainly intensified on the road!
WOW the park sure paid you back for your troubles. So wonderful that your friends all came to pick up your spirits and you got to spend time with Terry and LuAnn. We spent a short time with them in the east and really enjoyed their company. As ALWAYS your pictures are fantastic. I just cannot believe you were that close to those bighorns. What a thrill! Those pictures are amazing. And the wildflowers. I am just so envious. Is that one of those mortal sins? If so, I’m done for.
Sherry, you are hilarious! Definitely not a mortal sin. :-) We were thrilled to be so close to the bighorns. It wasn’t intentional, because we always give wildlife wide berth. But they bounded right up to us, so we just came to a halt and observed them going about their lives. It was wonderful.
Hi you two! I love your portrait!
AND…OMG! Babies….OH. I can’t believe how much more bloom there was in just such a short time! Such a beautiful place. Hey.. I have a picture of you taking a picture of the barrel cactus!
It was so great to spend a few days with you four travelers, even with wind, pets, dents, breakdowns, burnouts and whatever.
Looking forward to playing more music with you soon in Ashland!
Cyn, I wish you guys had been there with us to see the babies! I’m glad you had the sheep coming right through your camp, though. It was wonderful spending time with you in beautiful Anza Borrego. And we can’t wait to see you in Ashland!
You took us back there with your beautiful photos Laurel. How close did you get to the bighorns? What a treat. When we did the Palm Canyon hike a few weeks later with other friends, we still only saw one ram. I guess we are just going to have to camp back in the canyon like the two of you. Looking forward to having more adventures with the two of you soon.
LuAnn, we were about 6 feet from the sheep on one occasion. They appeared on the trail next to us, and we just stopped to watch them. Camping back in the canyon is wonderful — just watch out for those boulders. :-)
We have often talked about stopping at Anza Borrego…thanks for the push! We’ll make it there one of these days…in spring, as you did. (Can’t imagine it in August!)
Gretchen, I can’t imagine being there beyond April. But the winter and spring are wonderful!
Pleased to hear you got over you last ‘adventure.’ You’ve got great photos of the landscape and its wildlife (including people!)
Thanks, Carol. It definitely helped that we were surrounded by great friends and so much beauty!