Friday, December 27, 2013

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

After we were done with all the Christmas festivities, John and I were ready to do some serious sight seeing with our son Dan and his wife Amanda.  They flew in Christmas Eve to spend the holidays with us and our other son Mike.  Dan was anxious to get out into the wilderness and do some hiking, so on Thursday we drove southeast to the desert.  We all were thinking that, given we would be hiking in the desert and the fact that the temperatures lately have been around eighty degrees here in Vista, it would only make sense to wear shorts and tee shirts.  We did not take into consideration that we first would be driving through mountains before arriving at our destination.  Our first stop was in Julian, a picturesque old gold mining town famous for its apple pies.  Leave it to John to discover that important piece of information about the town!  We stopped there for lunch, and after course, apple pie.  Every cafe and restaurant in Julian advertises that it has apple pie to offer.  We did not spend much time touring the town as it was quite cold when we stepped out of the car.  All we wanted was some hot drinks, apple pie and maybe some lunch.  The apple pie we had was delicious with a very flaky crust.   It has been said that there is not one bad apple pie in Julian.
The town of Julian is at an elevation of 4,220 feet, and what a difference in scenery as we descended down into the desert after leaving the town!  We rapidly went from pine-studded mountains to the shrub and tumbles weeds of  Anza State Park.  The landscape also looked a bit like the Badlands with rugged canyons and eroded gullies  We were still at about 1,000 feet elevation when we stopped at Yaqui Pass.  We took a short hike to view Sunset Mountain and the surrounding desert valley.  From this viewpoint we could see Salton Sea off in the distance.  It is one of the world's largest inland bodies of saltwater.
To get more information regarding the park we stopped at Tamarisk Grove Campground.  It was quite unusual to see a grove of trees in this desert landscape.  They are an old world tree, and had been planted in 1930 to shade a prison camp.  They are referenced in Genesis 21:33.
At this campground is the headquarters for the southern end of the park.  Anza-Boreggo Park covers 634,000 acres, more than half of the real estate of the entire California state parks, of which there are 279.  What we enjoyed about the park was the wide variety of cactus which we saw while hiking.
The cactus which we saw in the park, and were able to identify, were: ocotillo, agave, barrel cactus, and the cholla..  The latter cactus had an interesting glow around it as the sun set lower in the sky.
It was one of the more interesting desert hikes which John and I have ever taken, because of the presence of a wide variety of vegetation.  And we did see some wildlife, a black-tailed jackrabbit.  It was certainly a big rabbit and he impressed me with the high leaps he took to flee from us!

No comments:

Post a Comment