South Anza Borrego – Badlands, Box Canyons and Blossoms

by on April 7, 2011 · 10 comments

in California, Environment, Popular

Editor: Part of our efforts to get people near the coast to get out to the deserts …

Originally published on April 7, 2011.

Sometimes you’ve just gotta, gotta, gotta to get away…

We’d been meaning to get to the desert to see the flowers and both our schedules and the weather cooperated nicely today. After a light breakfast and our morning work on the Rag, we piled our provisions in the car and headed east. We took I-8 through the mountains and into the desert and under a sky peppered with high clouds we headed north on S-2.

Not far along on S-2 we encountered folks on bikes. Lots of them. Then RV’s with “5th Graders Ride Across California” written on the back windows. I was able to find out that the Rancho Family YMCA in Rancho Penasquitos sponsors this ride every year. This month, from the 3rd to the 9th, these kids and parents will ride from Yuma to San Diego, over the Banner Grade! Wow! From their website it looks like they ride over the mountains, through Escondido and end their ride at South Carlsbad State Beach. 267 miles. I’m impressed.

Carrizo Creek Trail

As we continued on S-2, steering clear of the bicyclists, seeing the purple Lupine that lined both sides of the road had me looking forward to the sights to come. We turned off the paved road and headed down the sandy trail to the Carrizo Badlands Overlook.

We took a little walk, me snapping pictures and Frank up ahead scoping out the terrain. We continued on to another sandy trail, the sign marked it as the route to Carrizo Creek. The good ole PT Cruiser did fine but the washboard  terrain made me think the fillings would fall outta my teeth… We didn’t make it to the Creek as the trail was getting to soft to continue so we pulled over on a hard patch of ground and got out to investigate.

At first glance I didn’t see much color, but as I looked closer I could see blossoms everywhere. Some of them are so small it made me conscious of every step I took, not wanting to trample any of the little plants. The photos here are also in the gallery below, so click on them to see larger images with descriptions.

Box Canyon

Back on S-2 we headed north to the Box Canyon, a place Frank had been before. We parked and ate our sandwiches sitting on a rock wall at the entrance to the historic site, then grabbed the camera and headed down the canyon.

We climbed down the side of the hill, in places the rocks made a staircase that seemed almost man-made. As we came around a bend in the trail we startled a crow (and it startled us) from its perch in the canyon and it scolded us, then kept an eye on us almost the whole time we were in the canyon. I’m pretty sure I spotted its nest on the way out but didn’t see any chicks in it. Are baby crows called chicks? Anyway, I realized right then that I had never before seen a crow’s nest…

It was a glorious day, warm in the desert, cool and drizzly in the mountains where we stopped for coffee. It rained on I-8 but we could see the sun in the west as we drove home.

Most of the photos in the gallery below were taken either at Carrizo Creek Trail or Box Canyon. I’ve listed the names of the flowers I could identify. If you can, help me to identify the rest. Enjoy!


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Allen Lewis April 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Thank you very much for bring back so many great memories, my grandpa would take me to the Borrego area for our time together. The first place I moved when I left OB was to the dessert.


annagrace April 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Patty- the photos are wonderful. I’ve spent the better part of the afternoon looking at them. Springtime in the desert is unforgettable. Thanks!


Rick Ward aka mr.rick April 7, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Ditto on the dynamite photos. For an abundance of ” Crow’s Nests” I would recommend Shelter Island.


thinking out loud April 8, 2011 at 7:44 am

Beautiful shots…..we have been planning a trip out !! thanks ..


Outlaw April 8, 2011 at 8:22 am

I lived in Aguanga for nine years. You’ll probibally never find a more quiet and peaceful place than out there, Anza, Warner Springs.


Patty Jones April 8, 2011 at 8:48 am

Thanks everybody. I really, really enjoyed myself.


Frank Gormlie April 8, 2011 at 9:54 am

… and you should thank your partner for dragging you away from the house …


genie April 8, 2011 at 9:14 am

So so nice.. thanks Patty.


Nancy April 10, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Glad to read about your trip and the neat pictures, Patty, esp. after reading Anna’s article about that horrible FL guv cranking up the peepushers in his family.

Thanks for bringing me back to nature’s sanity.


Debbie March 11, 2016 at 4:32 pm

Lovely photos! Looks like you two had a great day.


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