Oriflamme Canyon and Borrego Wildflower Viewing

Borrego Springs provide wild flowers and wilder drunks

Trip Report 20090306-08

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California Poppy in Henderson Canyon near Borrego Springs.

The Experience

A group of ex-Musicmatch employees organized a 2 night camping trip to a riparian area in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (ABDSP). We joined the group for several nights of alcohol therapy and then headed to the area around Borrego Springs, CA to view some of the wild flowers that were in bloom.

The photos below are what we saw.

The weather was windy, but reasonably clear. The lower end of Oriflamme Canyon is flanked by good-sized hills.

The canyon entrance, looking to the west.

It was only a short off road drive and the trail was easy. The camping area we chose is one of the few in the county that is close to an actual running stream. The stream was surrounded by old cottonwood trees and plenty of brush.

Granite Mountain was to the northeast of our position. Above, a dead yucca stalk and a juniper frame Granite Mountain.

This area had been the site of a ranch house and we intended to use the slab as our dance floor in the evening.

The stream is small, but it made a nice sound and it runs most of the year.

This large cottonwood had fallen over and bridged the creek.

Because of the persistent water supply, this are a has been inhabited for thousands of years. There were a number of indian grinding stones ("morteros") in the area close to the stream. Note the size of the hole based on the size of my knife.

This stone had a number of grinding sites, at least 4 are visible in the photo above.

This mortero was quite deep.

These were quite deep as well and filled with smelly muck.

The writing on the rock shows "1906" or "1976" depending on your perspective.

Close to the camp were these steps that went to an abandoned ranch.

Nature time is officially over now, the boys are here with the equipment. 3 KW generator, stereo, speakers, lights and a laptop with the music.

The group assembles the camp site equipment.

We were visited by a group of bird watchers who were pretty upset that we were right where they wanted to be. All legal, of course, but they were sufficiently angry to call the sheriff. The basis of their complaint was unknown, but we did get a visit later in the evening by 3 vehicles and 6 uniforms. They found nothing wrong and left without incident. The only thing that is worse than not partying is watching somebody else party and not being invited.

Might as well have a cocktail.

The bottle of J.B. and coke pretty much tells the story.

Laptop with stereo and birthday cake.

No outback dance floor is complete without a disco ball.

They are getting loose now.

Note the spilled drinks on the floor.

The camp scene the following morning was quite a different story. While there were a few smiling faces, most of the party people were a bit ragged. One of the guys left early with his wife lying down in the back seat of the truck saying "I have to take her home.".

As the balance of the group cleaned up their camp debris from the previous night, I managed to get a couple of photos of the lush desert flora.

A view up Oriflamme Canyon from our camp. The western access road is partially visible on the far hills.

We left Oriflamme Canyon and headed into the Borrego Springs, CA area via Yaqui Pass. From there, we headed north to the Henderson Canyon area. Above is a view of a field covered in wildflowers to the west of Borrego Valley Road.

A view north from Henderson Canyon Road into Coyote Canyon.

Viewing the flowers is always a big thing with the REI crowd, so there were many spectators along the road.

The Henderson Canyon valley area was heavily covered with flowers, but not as many as 2008.

The yellow poppies look nice.

This is some type of white lilly.

Purple verbena was reasonably prevalent in the area.

When we finished at Henderson Canyon, we headed over to a buddy's place in Borrego Springs. We were going to invite he and his wife for lunch in the village, but they were just on their way out to the hills for a picnic, so we joined the crew on a short trail run on the Jasper Trail. The trail was not hard, but it sure was hard on my paint. The narrow sections of the trail were covered in robust brush and the branches gouged the paint on the side of the truck. Above is a view of a nice stand of cholla cactus near the mid-point of the trail.

When we reached Ranchita, the group separated and we went back to San Diego. On the way, we did a rest stop at Dudley's Bakery (a hot spot for weekend road trippers) and saw this nice restored Corvette in the parking lot.

Close by, I also spotted this very clean antique that has been restored. It seems that the owner and I have a friend in common from years in the past. Small world.

We had a great time in Borrego. But then, we always do. Camping was fun, but it would have been a bit nicer if the wind had been calmer. The good news was that we were in the camper and not in a tent! The wildflowers were spectacular and will likely be blooming for a few more weeks.

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