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Monday, December 30, 2013

Anza Borrego - 2nd Shift w/Clark and Jo Ann - "walls of the canyon got narrower"

 We met the "Second Shift," Clark and Jo Ann, at Split Mountain Road in Ocotillo Wells. Then we drove SW on Fish Creek Wash through the Split Mountain Gorge.
 Continuing our drive SW through Split Mountain Gorge.
 We turned right into North Fish Creek and explored Oyster Shell Wash.
 The sun was beginning to set when we returned to Fish Creek and began driving up Loop Wash looking for a campsite.
As we sat in our camp chairs after dinner, talking and watching for shooting stars I inadvertently painted with light. The coolest event of the night was when Jo Ann said that she wanted to see a shooting star and just as she was finishing her sentence a bright long lasting meteor blazed across the sky.
 Dawn at our Loop Wash Camp.
Seems like the temperature dropped below freezing during the night. I was thinking that Clark and Jo Ann were pleased that they brought winter bags.
 After breakfast we drove to another location and went looking for petrified wood. Clark and I walked for hundreds of yards and found nothing.
 Except a small can about half the size of a tuna tin.
 Jo Ann and Jan quickly found a few specimens.
 Sal and Debra stopped by and joined us on our quest for petrified wood.
 Soon we found larger pieces.
 The farther we walked from the road the more we discovered and all of it is still where we found it.
 Our next destination was Sandstone Canyon but upon seeing a group of vehicles enter the canyon we decided to avoid a certain traffic jam and drove on to Olla Wash.
 A closer view of the Mud Palisades of Olla Wash.
 After exploring more of Fish Creek Wash we returned to Sandstone Canyon.
 The walls of the canyon got higher.
 The walls of the canyon got narrower.
Until we reached the end of the road at a large rockfall.
Looks like others have pushed past the rock fall but we aren't going any farther without a Unimog.
At one of the narrow sections Jan remarked that it was good that we were driving a FWC instead of a large truck camper. I answered that passing through the overhanging walls would be difficult with a large hardside camper but it would make for some great photographs.
 Clark and Jo Ann heading out of the canyon.
 Layer Cake Rock.
 At our campsite I attempted to create some of Ron's light painting wizardry. Thank you Clark for patiently lighting your tent during the 30 second exposure.
 The dawn of the new day breaks over the horizon bathing the hills behind our camp with color.
 The instant the sun hits camp Clark can be seen warming himself in its rays.
 Soon we are all out in the sun eating breakfast and reading. I found it somewhat comical that four people who many times in their pasts have risen well before dawn to climb high mountains* now sit in the sun for several hours reading.  But, the warm sun felt so good on my old, cold bones. *(To explain: Clark has been on the summit of Mt. Whitney at least seven times (he said it would be nine but didn't know if landing by helicopter as part of SAR missions should count) and on the top of numerous other Sierra/Cascade peaks including multiple summits of Rainer, Jan has five 14'ers and many 13'ers in her list of more than 150 mountains in California and Colorado, and Jo Ann has climbed many peaks in California and Nevada including Mt. Whitney. Jo Ann would have made Whitney a second time when hiking the JMT but was driven back from the summit by a severe lightning storm. I have strolled to the airy summit of  Obsidian Butte near the Salton Sea which towers over the surrounding landscape at an elevation of 130 feet below sea level.)
 Around 11 AM we packed up camp and began our drive out of Fish Creek Wash.
 We noticed how high the flood waters of the last flash flood left debris in the trees. The high point of the water was above the top of our truck.
 One on many signs in the park almost buried by the numerous flash floods.
 The Split Mountain Gorge Anticline. The upside down U makes it an anti, if it was right side up it would be a syncline. I know this because when a teenager in the 1960's drilling rigs appeared on several farms north of my father's parents place. Several of the farms sat on top of a large anticline that contained oil. No such geologic feature under my grandfather's farm. The neighbors became wealthy and purchased new cars for the grandchildren. I was asked if I wanted the old Dodge that was rusting away behind the barn and was told, "if you can get it running it's yours." Anticline! I haven't forgotten.
Panorama of Split Mountain Gorge.
One last photograph of the second shift crew driving through Split Mountain Gorge. Clark and Jo Ann were headed west to the Slot and Jan and I were headed east to Westmorland.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Anza Borrego - 1st Shift w/Ron - "creature that was threatening Jan"

We met Ron at the Anza Borrego Visitor Center and then drove to the Galleta Meadows Sculptures.
A close up of the creature that was threatening Jan.
 Photo Credit: Ron Pinkerton
After visiting many of the amazing sculptures we drove on to Fonts Points.
 The air was very hazy preventing a good photograph of the vast badlands of Anza Borrego. After a short hike over to Inspiration Point we drove on to Short Wash.
On our way to Vista del Malpais via Short Wash.
Sunset at Vista del Malpais.
Driving down Fault Wash searching for a place to camp.
Sunset at our Fault Wash camp.
Photo Credit: Ron Pinkerton
Ron braved the chilly nighttime temperatures to create a stunning view of our truck and camper.
Photo Credit: Ron Pinkerton
And another of his vehicle. Ron's license plate reveals the purpose of his truck.
13 hours later the sun rose and warmth returned to the desert.
 Panoramic view of Fault Wash.
Driving the Cut Across Trail.
Exiting the narrowest portion of Basin Wash.
Approaching the Pumpkin Patch. A crazy number of off-road vehicles were coming and going from the parking area.
Close up of the pumpkin-like globular sandstone concretions.
After our visit to the Patch we turned west, drove up Tule Wash and visited Five Palms.
Then it was on to Seventeen Palms.
After sighting Una Palma high above the road we all decided that there wasn't a great need for us to visit yet another palm tree.
We returned to the Cut Across Trail and drove southwest to Borrego Mountain Wash.
Ron approaches one of the minor obstacles on the drive to our next camp.
While relaxing in the darkness after dinner a fox circled our camp. The two glowing spots near our spare gas revealed the presence of our nocturnal visitor.
Photo Credit: Ron Pinkerton
Once again Ron painted with light and a long exposure to make an old FWC and an even older Tacoma look spectacular.
The next morning Ron and I hiked to a location above the Wind Caves to watch the sun break over the badlands.
Fonts Point highlighted by the morning sun.
Discovered this arch near the top of the Wind Caves.
Panoramic photo of our camp in Borrego Mountain Wash.
After breakfast we walked up the wash to visit "The Slot."
Photo Credit: Ron Pinkerton
While standing in the slot it dawned on me that I had forgotten to bring the iPad.
Photo Credit: Ron Pinkerton
That meant that there would be no panorama photos inside The Slot. Fortunately, Ron was able to record how awesome this canyon was to explore.
Working our way out of Borrego Mountain Wash.
This section of the canyon reminded me of Moab.
It was time for Ron to return home and for us to meet the "second shift" of Anza Explorers at Split Mountain Road. We used the expression of "shifts" because when Jo Ann and Clark rendezvoused with us Ron greeted them by saying, "the second shift has arrived."