Escaping the Furnace

Poor Borrego Springs is suppose to hit 122 degrees today. As I write, it is 121 out. Oh the poor creatures that I love so much in Anza Borrego. How can they possibly survive? Our dear friend, Salvador keeps an eye on our house and plants while we are away, but what about him? How does he manage? Thank you Salvador for all your hard work and you do it with such grace and dignity. We appreciate you so much.

Here at Silver Lake at the series of lakes called: June Lake, it is 83 outside and Callie thinks it is way too warm and she can hardly open her eyes and move about. She is hanging out on the top loft but we have the air conditioning on and she is still being lazy. Thunder and lightening storms are expected on Thursday and it should be quite exciting hanging out in the RV. Callie isn’t afraid of thunder and lightening like our jack russel dog, Addy was. Thunder and lightening would send Addy into my closet and she would bury herself under any discarded clothing or pile of shoes she was fortunate enough to find. She would cower and shake and shiver until the storm would pass. Attacking a coyote was nothing for Addy, but thunder and lightening did her in.

We are having a fabulous time in the RV and it is another beautiful day. I suppose it is cooler for those that don’t wear fur coats!

From Dawn to Dusk

The morning started out bright and early with Callie once again expecting me to get up and serve breakfast so that she and Michael could go back to sleep for a couple of hours. It is rather funny and because I am a morning person, it is no big deal. As soon as I fed Callie, Michael was already sleeping and Callie tucked herself into the tent I created for her on the sofa. It is chilly at night but today it reached 85 and it felt warm to me. It is nothing compared to Anza Borrego though, which will hit a high of 121 on Tuesday. Those kinds of temperatures are a killer for birds and mammals and plants. It is so hot that when you take in a deep breath, your lungs feel scorched.

Michael and I went on a fabulous off road bike ride again this morning and because it was so difficult, I am considering packing a first aid kit. I wear a scarf around my neck in case I will ever need a tourniquet, but can see the use of bandages and wraps for all kinds of injuries. You can’t see the deep sand in the shadows when it is mixed with dappled light and the ruts in the trails trap you before stopping you in your tracks. I had air put in my tires this morning and I think the added pressure made for a much more difficult ride. We made it back to the RV in one piece though and felt the zen of having a strenuous workout roll over our shoulders all day today. 

Fred decided to head back home this morning so Michael, Callie and I have the rest of the vacation to ourselves. I will be able to celebrate Father’s Day and not worry about Fred anymore. He blew a tire heading home and is waiting for a tow service as I write. The same right back tire that we had a flat fire with! RV’s sit a lot and the tires are the first to show wear and tear. He has a long way to go yet to get home, I wish him the best.

Callie got a morning walk and was able to hang out on the picnic table most of the day while Michael worked on the bikes. She is getting more than her fair share of excitement and the strain is starting to show. When I find her up in the loft in between the rungs of the step up ladder to the loft bed, I know I have sufficiently worn her out from dawn to dusk. Wearing out a cat is always a good thing!

Henderson Canyon-ABDSP

Michael and I had a fabulous bike ride to Henderson Canyon this morning. The weather has cooled off and that is always a nice surprise. We didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn and when we got to Henderson Canyon, we noticed that a new sign had been posted that read- Anza Borrego Desert State Park. I am so happy to see that the park has expanded and that this favorite bike ride of ours will be protected. This canyon is where I take photographs every springtime for the spectacular desert wildflower bloom. This particular spring we had a super bloom! It is famous world wide for sand verbena, dune primrose and sunflowers. Today I took photographs of a few stragglers that had found reason to bloom because of a storm that passed through last week; but these will be the last of the flowers until next spring. I am so heartened to see that this valley will remain wild and that no developement will destroy the beauty of the place. * 

* super bloom- be sure to check out stories and photos I uploaded during the super bloom as a comparison to now!

Off Road Biking in Coyote Canyon

It doesn’t get any better than this. After dropping Callie off to continue biking, we headed to Coyote Canyon which is something we have only done with a 4 wheel drive car. Riding the sandy trail with bikes was as close as it gets to riding a horse; which is my all time favorite thing to do with my sister Gayle. The day was gorgeous and still cool enough to enjoy exerting oneself under the sun.

When we got about half way to our finish line, I noticed one Hawk-moth pollinating a lovely scented Desert Willow tree. We had just passed through the second wash of deep sand, and I was getting use to biking off road. The tree was covered with bees buzzing all around it and I just happened to see the one moth. I raced over and was able to get a couple shots of it before it headed out into the vast desert. I was just writing about this moth yesterday when I posted about the Sacred Datura and how it depends on this type of moth to help pollinate it. They look just like hummingbirds in flight and their size is somewhat off putting because they are so large. 

The bike ride was fabulous and I love off road biking. There is a trick to driving over soft sand but I got the hang of it right away and feel like a natural. I can’t wait to take the bikes to Mount Laguna. When we hiked there in early March, the trails were perfect for biking. Not too steep and rocky and wide enough to guide yourself around obstacles. What a fun day so far. Callie is resting and I was able to do the photography that I so much wanted to do. A Hawk-moth in flight in the middle of the desert. You cannot ask for more!

Hiking Borrego Palm Canyon with Lara

My daughter Lara is visiting and taking a break from working on her dissertation and PhD program in physiology to play with me for several days. We got up at the crack of dawn and were the first car signing in to hike Borrego Palm Canyon. The sun was just starting to rise as the moon set in the west. You would not believe what a week makes in terms of the brittle brush and other blooming plants.  It appears that most every plant is blooming now and I have never seen so many visitors to Anza Borrego Desert State Park. I am proud of where I live. Park Rangers are assisting the crowds of people that have descended on our tiny community and helping them to experience optimal fun while enjoying the desert safely.  Lara and I had a wonderful hike and made it to the oasis. The temperature was mild and the lower portion of the hike shaded from the sun. We did not see any sheep on this hike but I know they were all around enjoying the beautiful day.

The Slot- Anza Borrego Desert State Park & Hawk Canyon

Michael, Fred and I got up at dawn to hike The Slot, a narrow siltstone canyon hiking trail before the day got too hot. You can locate the marker on Route 78 East if you are driving from Christmas Circle in Borrego Springs and turn left or (north) on a road marked Buttes Pass. It is a well maintained dirt road leading to the parking lot. The winding trail descends into the canyon below and as the trail gets narrower, the cliffs get taller. There are times along the trail where you have to turn sideways in order to squeeze through, hence the name, and it is a lovely, easy hike to the bottom. When we reached the canyon below, we saw wildflowers everywhere because of the recent rains and the Anza Borrego super-bloom and the view of the valley was quite spectacular. Heading back home along the dirt road, we sidetracked to Hawk Canyon and were not disappointed. Wildflowers were everywhere and it is a place that people can camp overnight. 

A Chance Visit

My husband and I were sipping tea and coffee outside after our morning  bike ride when who should come to visit, but Mr. Roadrunner, and this time he brought his mate. The male has a beautiful headdress of red, black and white that flashes brilliantly when he stops to stare at me. He is really quite stunning and seems to know it! He runs very fast with a burst of energy for a short distance, and then stops abruptly and bobs his head. The female is more subdued in color but just as beautiful, and takes her cue from him. When he starts to run, she shadows him and I can only imagine what would happen when they come across a snake. It appears that they work as a team when hunting, and they are not afraid of Callie at all. If I had stayed perfectly still, they would have come into the backyard.  I wanted to take photographs though, so it forced them to stay on the wall.  To my surprise, they are eating the black olives from the olive tree and that is why I am seeing them more often. It has become an everyday experience to see at least one of the roadrunners careening through the backyard.  They zip back and forth and act like they own the place, and would  love to see Callie challenge them to a dual. Callie on the other hand thinks “not a chance” and acts brave but stays close to me and just makes funny little facial expressions and clucks to herself. When they flew back over the fence and into the desert, Callie raced up the olive tree to get a better look, and watched them with intensity as they ran along with their funny lope, back into the wilderness. What a wonderful way to start the day.

Look what the Storm blew in…

Anza Borrego Desert experiences incredible windstorms whenever there is storm inland, and I have never experienced wind like I do in the desert.  These storms blow in with very little advance notice and I can only imagine the havoc it plays on the wildlife. Coyotes don’t have the luxury of saying, “Eh, it is too windy today to hunt, let’s take the day off and eat tomorrow!” The wind blows so hard that animals cannot eat nor can they hunt or even rest properly. The sand is everywhere and it gets in your eyes and nose and mouth and there is no escape for those that live outdoors. We humans at least have the luxury of seeking shelter indoors. I have given up caring about the sand in the house, but with animals, it is an everyday occurrence and acceptance must be the norm. One day, while the wind blew so hard that it kept me indoors, I watched this beautiful great white egret make a landing in our backyard. What a graceful bird… It took the power of its large wingspan to make a safe landing. It sought shelter from the storm and I was careful not to bother it while it rested. When the winds died down, this beautiful bird that in 1953, became the symbol of the National Audubon Society, in part, to prevent the killing of birds for their feathers, flew off in search of new territory. It left me feeling awed at the beauty of this bird and that we could be for once, a part of the solution instead of being the problem. This egret sought a safe haven in the middle of a sand and windstorm and I was able for a change, to provide a safe place for it to ride out the storm.