Borrego Badness, Big Snakes, And Snow!!
As we enter our third week of Borrego boondocking, I reflect back on the many things I’ve seen and done here. Now admittedly I’ve spent most of my time vegging out, and with the kind of spot I’ve got you can’t exactly blame me. Plus I’ve been many times to Borrego before so I don’t feel the same need to speed out and see stuff. But I’ve not been idle, far from it. Our socializing bonanza has continued, as well as a few select hikes & outings in the “badder” side of the park. In addition we’ve wrangled enormous snakes and been through a rare arctic blast, which I blame on our Canadian buddies, that brought several days of below-freezing temps and even a rather dramatic layer of snow. Hopefully this’ll bring ya up to date:
I guess it must be our animal (blog?) magnetism, but we’ve just been going social crazy these past few weeks. Following the big get-together in my last post we invited the “neighborhood” to a casual gathering at our spot which brought many of the “usual suspects” from our last meet as well as a few new entries including Deb&Jeff and none other than the famous (infamous?) Bayfield Bunch. Now, if you’re coming to the SW and have never read Bayfield Bunch, you’re missing out. Al & Kelly’s blog is my “go to” for ideas especially around Borrego Springs, Quartzsite, KOFA, and Yuma areas, amongst others. I’m waiting for their travel guide book to come out (hint, hint), but in the meantime I just search their blog for goodies and inspiration whenever I need it.
New Year’s Eve we continued the fun with a small nomadic get-together with our buddies Technomadia and @asolojourner who’d rolled into town the night before. Fajitas, margaritas, sazeracs, a little head-banging and a game of headbands got us into the New Year with a good buzz and a fair few laughs.
Mere days later the “Airstream gang” started to assemble due north of us with lots of notable Instagram & Blogger types including @MaliMish_airstream, @rosiestreams, @shopthelivingroom, @kmpuccio, @journeywithhappiness, @toddmb, Aluminarium, VanTramp and more (who did I miss??). We went from being some of the youngest cats in our crowd to being some of the oldest and arguably not nearly as cool, but we managed to sneak in and crash a few happy hours nonetheless. We’re versatile types, after all.
The Biggest Snake In The Desert
It’s a well-known fact that most desert snakes hibernate in winter, so when there’s a big live one out there word travels fast via the boondocker grapevine. This particular snake has been around Borrego for years and most of the locals will understand what you mean if you say you’re “off to feed the snake”. In fact seeing this slithering gargantuan is a bit of a passage of rites here in Borrego if you will. If you make it up there and the snake allows you to live you get to stay. Fair and easy enough, right?
Last week, after our Christmas food excesses I enticed Chris & Cherie to make the pilgrimage and put themselves to the test. Together with doggie we trekked across the desert plains, up the rocky ridge and over the hill. Al (Bayfield Bunch) caught us half-way and tried to avert the madness, but didn’t quite manage to stop us. In the end he sacrificed his morning cereal to scramble up with Pheebs and help us wrangle the 30-foot long monster on the hill. We made it to the clearing, tested ourselves against the jaws of the savage and survived. I guess we get to stay after all 🙂
P.S. For those wishing to test their own wits against the monster approx. coordinates are 33.300654, -116.293109. Go at your own peril.
Some things are so bad, they’re just too good to miss and the Borrego Badlands are one of those things. Badlands, from the French term les mauvaises terres are basically dry areas where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water. The results are a deeply intricate series of ancient folds and curves that create a stunning visual palette unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Many of these exist in the western deserts, but the one at Font’s Point is particularly well-known for it’s spectacular sunsets.
It takes 4 miles of rather sandy driving to get there, so we usually don’t go unless we can hitch a ride with a 4WD. Last year, Ivan took us out and this year another kind year blog reader, Russell offered to take us along in his super-duper souped up go-everywhere rig. We got there right when the sun was turning the hills golden and captured the very last of its rays illuminating the 4 million year old hills. Pretty darn cool!
The Arctic Blast
Our Canadian friends to the north are generally a very likable and relaxed lot, but every now and then they do like to sneak up and kick us in the butt, and it’s a chilly experience when they do. Over New Year’s Eve they decided to make their presence known by sending an arctic blast down from the coldest nether-regions to the south. We went from pleasant, sunny 70-degree days to cloudy skies, below freezing temps and snow-levels that dropped to 1500 feet.
And it was quite the Oscar-worthy show too.
Dust and clouds rolled in during the afternoon sending plays and rays of light and fire dancing across the desert floor. Once the sun set, temps started to plummet and the rain engaged, first as soft drops followed by pelting sleet. The desert floor, normally a rock-solid ground transformed itself alarmingly fast, turning into flowing rivers of sticky, thick, impenetrable mud (good thing we parked on a ridge, I tell you). The tempest continued through the night on and off, edging off in the early hours to a deafening silence.
What an aftermath!
The morning dawned bitingly sharp and speckled with sun, illuminating the surrounding mountains in pure, glistening white. We were surrounded by a winter wonderland and despite the numbing cold I couldn’t help but go out to click away and soak it all in. The blast lingered but a few days and then ebbed away, but it was beautiful while it lasted. I guess I can’t be too upset with our northern friends 🙂
That finally brings you up to date, my friends. Paul is home (yeah!), we’re nearing the end of our tanks and thus also approaching the end of our time here. Given the social madness of the last few weeks we’re looking for some solitude and may well go and hide out in the remote desert for a while until we can recharge. No idea where we’ll end up, but I’ll let you know when we do….