...I woke up this morning, a rainbow filled the sky
That was God tellin' me, Everything's gonna be alright ....J.J./G.L.
This week pushed me to my limits. It wasn't that I was overworked, too stressed or angry - it was just that I needed to breathe... the kind of air you just can't find when you live nestled between three major highways in North San Diego County. Ordinarily, saltwater flows heavily through my veins and encourages me never to stray too far from water - so my wife was quite surprised when I told her I wanted to go to the desert.
"Why do you want to go to the Desert?"
"To see a mammoth."
"Maybe we should schedule a trip to the doctor first."
So that weekend, we grabbed some food, threw it in a bag and made for the Sportsmobile. I looked back in the garage to see if I missed anything and I caught a glimpse of a fly rod reflecting some light from a vent in the wall. I was going to the desert I thought. I won't need it. But I grabbed a couple anyway.
Lots of my friends LOVE the desert. They flock there year after year with their travel trailers and toy haulers stocked with ATVs, motorcycles, & dune buggies. Like nomads traveling along a shifting path, you'll spot these modern day caravans with their encircled camp rv's guarding their young. The sound of the little 50cc motors whining in the background. Although we'd drive by this scene on our way to and from -- this wasn't the desert we would experience.
As we rolled through Borrego Springs, we noticed the iron guardians watching over the desert treasure that we'd often heard of, but yet have never seen. A couple coyote's watched us from the distance and eventually ran away disinterested.
We stopped to eat at a little Mexican restaurant. The food was good, but nothing special. Same with the Margaritas - but its really hard to go wrong with mexican food.
You read time and time again, that the desert is unforgiving - so feeling a bit more cautious than normal (and coupled with the fact, we've never really been to the desert), we decided to follow the Arroyo Salado, a rather easy established trail in the Anza Borrego Badlands. Anza Borrego is California's largest state park with over 500 miles of dirt roads. And if you like free and primative, It also is one of the best places in California to camp as you are allowed to camp in nearly all of the areas in the park - developed or not.
Midway, a short little trail leads you to a small mailbox that houses a little guest book nestled among 17 palms. In years past, getting water from the spring was never really reliable, so the travelers would leave extra water in glass jars hidden underneath the palm trees. Maybe they felt this would give em Karma points - just in case. Nicole just hoped that if we got stuck, someone else would be driving through to help out. I wondered how I ranked with Karma.
We camped along the Arroyo Salado wash. There was several nice pullouts that left you feeling isolated.
The rest of the afternoon through the evening, we played outside, played guitar and breathed the desert air. We even pulled out that fly rod and practiced casting a piece of orange yarn at different rocks along the ground. That evening we listened to the coyotes singing in the distance. Noah wasn't a big fan of them, but I told em that his dog, Dexter was far bigger than those dogs. I didn't need (or want) to expand any further as that sufficed for him.
Camping is always fun, but we didn't get a chance to see the sights that many more knowledgeable desert explorers have seen. In the future, we'd like to see some slot canyons and hike a bit on foot. We'll have to tag along with someone who has a more intimate knowledge of the desert and its secrets. So for now, I still don't understand the desert, but like every good explorer out there, I know the answer to that question is out here somewhere. I just need to listen.