So what if there has only been 0.75 inches of rain in the past year at the Anza Borrego Desert State Park. Maybe it meant that hardly any desert flora was blooming, but a big reason to make the day trip out here from San Diego is just for the drive.
At one point in the two hour drive when Ryan reached into a bag to find something, I said, "Look. It just changed." In that one moment he was looking in the bag, we came over a hill and it went from lush, green mountainous landscape to tall yellow grasses and vast open spaces. We saw burnt hillsides from all those southern California wildfires you hear about, enormous boulders sprinkled on green mountains, people wearing shorts, people wearing parkas, the ocean, a desert, and an oasis. Actually we've made some of this drive before...I have some blogging to catch up on (note to self: Rose Canyon, Temecula, Big Bear Mountain/Lake). But each time we've done it, I'm always struck by the changing landscape.
The very tiny slice of Anza Borrego that we explored was awesome. I can only imagine what 500 more miles of dirt road has to offer. We drove in the Borrego Springs entrance and paid $6 to enter a campsite (even though we weren't staying) to hike the Palm Canyon trail. They call this a "moderate" 1.5 mile trail. At first I was thinking that the trail was too short. We drove two hours, dammit. I wanted to HIKE. But "moderate" definitely involved some scaling of rocks and situations where I genuinely had to consider how I was going to make my next step without injuring myself. I jumped off boulders A) because I'm fun like that and B) because I didn't really know any other way to proceed. Point is, "moderate" probably isn't for your parents. Overall, I think the hike up the desert valley to the oasis and back took us over two hours. It wound up being a perfect little trip that cleared up any guilt we had over the Mexican at Ponce's we ate the night before. And the oasis was cool. I don't know why but I guess I didn't really think that oases were real. I found myself wondering if they had planted the palm trees there because when you're hiking for an hour where everything's dead, it just doesn't make sense to come up on this thriving little tree house area, complete with running water. Anyway I recommend it. Bring water. Wear shoes (so many people were wearing flip flops?)
We saw real roadrunners on the way home. Turns out they look NOTHING like the cartoon version. They're not as big as a wolf, first of all. They're tiny. And frankly I think the cartoon would have been more interesting if this tiny ass bird had always been getting the best of Wile E. Coyote. They weren't blue. They didn't "beep" nor did they hold up signs to communicate to us. And they were kind of slow.
More pictures of the Anza Borrego adventure are up on my flickr account.