Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Dark and Stormy Day

From the desert just a couple of days ago, now back home to the land of water.

A brief ocean "fix" between Arcata and Crescent City.

Elk graze along the road just outside of Crescent City. 

 The Smith River was as wild as we have ever seen it, swollen with run-off from recent snow.
 Please pardon the reflections.  We were too much in a hurry to get back to work today to stop for pictures.

 What does that sign say?

 Outside of Cave Junction.
Pretty.  But cold.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunrise, Sunset. And rocks.

At Borrego Springs this morning.

And at Orange Grove RV park near Bakersfield.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

We were musing over why we never came here back when we lived in Fallbrook.  Then we realized: perhaps it's because when we moved there we had a three-year-old and were expecting in two moths, and when we left we had a three-year-old and a six-year-old.  Not exactly conducive to desert camping.

 The visitors' center is accessible from the campground via a .6 mile trail.  It's in an earth-sheltered building which at first we did not realize we were standing atop.

Most of the cool places to visit are either 1) dirt roads, 2) jeep trails, or 3) only accessible by foot.  We decided we could give the Element a try on a couple that were marked as not quite as rugged.

 Crossing Coyote Creek.
 Note tracks:  truly "Coyote" Creek.  A coyote which looked to be the size of a German Shepherd crossed the road in front of us before we even got this far.

Ocotillo at Ocotillo Flats.

Good little Element.  Though seriously we are considering a jeep as a toad. 

 Rocks on side of Coyote Mountain.  Gary and Louise: I thought of you!

After proving we could do Coyote Canyon, we decided to try the four-mile track out to Font's Point. When we arrived and walked the last yards up to the far point  . . .

. . . we were surprised with:


You can see trusty Element below us at the right side of this picture. 

More and longer visits are ahead of us.  And I think we may even get brave enough to boondock.

Link to park map.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Revisiting Saguaro National Park

Young Saguaro are shielded by palo verde trees.  We learned a few things today that we had missed on our first trip.  There are less mature Saguaro in the national park than there were in the 1930's.   They are killed if temperatures stay below freezing for 20 hours and a series of harsh winters killed many.  With milder winters and now protected by eliminating cattle grazing from the park, they are making a comeback.

A bright and sunny day, though not particularly warm.  A winter storm blew through last night, but it was the best kind of storm: it started after bedtime and was over before dawn.

Snow-capped peaks in the background.

A trio of barrel cacti

Sometimes you can see things in the crook of the "arms". 

In this cactus multiple birds had made nests. 

We were really being cussed at for being there.

A closeup of mom.  Or dad.  Birds don't nest in December at home in Oregon.

The red-purple plant at the near right is a stagshead cholla.  At some point I accidentally brushed against one.  I did not realize it until many hours later when the needles worked through my jeans and touched my left shin.  Intense pain ensued!   Tomorrow morning in the light I will be working to remove the needles from my pant leg one-by-one. 

Another avian resident on the left.  Woodpecker?

At Javelina Rocks.

Tom photographing me photographing Tom . . .

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Catalina State Park

This is one park I would come back to yearly.  There are a group from the RV Forum that Tom is on who spends every New Year's Eve here.  I could see doing that. We're just a little early for the party this year.

The view from our dinette after we set up camp yesterday.

Kady approves.

For comparison: a view from our home webcam this morning.  (Shiver.)

This evening some clouds are coming in.  There is more snow expected on the peaks behind us.

There is nothing like a sunset in the desert.

Our camp for the next couple of days: complete with Christmas Lights on the little dog yard.