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Off the Beaten Path

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This winter has been one of the worst for surf in recent memory.
So rather than sit around and moan and groan, we switch gears and enjoy some of the other amazing
places in our region .

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East of San Diego there are some wild desert lands that are always a pleasure to explore in the Spring.
So we left the surfboards in the garage and piled into the 4 X 4 for a different type of adventure.

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Just 5 short hours from Goleta is a whole different world with a whole different climate.

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And getting there is half the fun!

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Lots of folks have four wheel drive, but how many actually use it?
Well you should, cuz it’s fun!

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We’ve been coming out to the Anza Borrego State Park almost every spring for over 30 years.
My brother turned me onto it on this trip in 1984.
He got turned onto it by his SBCC botany class back in the 1970’s…

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Since then, it’s been an annual event for our family. All three of our adult children have grown up with a
springtime desert trip on their calendar almost every year. The great thing is, they still love it!

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Now it’s getting even better because their friends have started joining us,
making for an even more memorable journey.

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Through the years, the Anza Borrego area has  become a little more of a tourist destination, with
strange attractions popping up here and there. But for the most part, it’s still a big empty desert.

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This year, the weather was perfect. Storms along the coast gave us some partly cloudy skies.

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That gave us some interesting lighting, a little rain and some amazing backdrops.

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And the cloud cover made the weather ideal for hiking and exploring new places.

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With the minimal amount of rainfall this year, they didn’t have the “Super Bloom” like last year.

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But they also didn’t have the crowds like last year, and the plants still were showing some color,
sublime as it was….

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We’re always amazed by how much life there really is hiding in the desert.

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This year we had a special treat and spotted some elusive Desert Bighorn Sheep.
Of all the times we’ve been out there, we’ve only seen them once before. What a treat…

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We were stoked to get our favorite campsite again this year.

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And the site next door, for all our friends!

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We did most of our annual traditions, like a happy hour overlooking the Badlands…

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Getting rinsed clean in the chilly spring water…

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And of course, Menudo for breakfast one morning, mmmm…

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But this year we added a new trail to our agenda; a short hike in The Slot.
A canyon that gets narrower as you go….

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Pretty amazing little walk…

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After all these years, there’s still a lot of places in the park we haven’t seen.
It’s a big park with miles of roads and trails. Just make sure you bring lots of water..

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And if you get lost, be careful who you ask for directions…

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California has a lot of natural wonders to discover and explore, and we have only just begun….

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But just that quickly, this trip came to an end, and it was back to the reality of Southern California.

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Here’s a link to a video my son made about our annual trip.