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Old 02-06-2010, 02:01 AM   #1
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Fish out of Water

...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.


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Old 02-06-2010, 06:20 AM   #2
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Re: Fish out of Water

Thanks for the great desert pics!

I am so bored with winter that we have been pretending we are camping by grilling out back on the snow-covered patio and huddling around the log fire. Present weather conditions: freezing fog stagnant air advisory, 14degrees F and no wind.

We are headed down to Anza Borrego State Park in four weeks (only 2,000 miles one way), and I have been following the wildflower bloom at this great web site:
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Old 02-06-2010, 07:05 AM   #3
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Re: Fish out of Water

Thanks for posting up. What a great way to start my day. If you like the desert and haven't already been, you may want to try Death Valley for your next desert trip. I was there last week and it is awesome. I try to go every winter to both Panamint Valley and Death Valley.

I have yet to go to AB, but plan to even more, after reading your write up. Thanks bro.

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Old 02-06-2010, 07:21 AM   #4
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Re: Fish out of Water

very cool buddy
we were going to AB this weekend on our second trip but too much going on
will hit next week
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Old 02-06-2010, 08:27 AM   #5
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Re: Fish out of Water

Lets just keep this desert thing our little secret..........

Nice trip.....nice pics.

Pic of your son with the dog made me smile

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Old 02-06-2010, 09:40 AM   #6
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Re: Fish out of Water

Nice report! Your descriptive writing is good too, you sure you're a fireman?
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Old 02-06-2010, 10:12 AM   #7
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Re: Fish out of Water

Well, that pays the bills. But just like many other people here: I'm a professional fly fishing guide, traveler, wanderer, a writer, a photographer, explorer, etc.etc.etc But thanks for the kind words.
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Old 02-07-2010, 09:55 PM   #8
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Re: Fish out of Water

love the pictures there is 3feet of snow in my front yard. maybe its time for a run south.

Going where most dont
"one day at a time"
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Old 04-02-2010, 10:07 PM   #9
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Re: Fish out of Water

My girlfriend and I are avid Anza lovers, and have logged hundreds of miles there. We live in Carlsbad right near you, and are getting ready to buy an SMB. Perhaps we can hook up out in Anza sometime and show you some of the amazing sites of the zillions there. (We'd also love to see your rig and hear your thoughts on evil or angelic layouts, accessories, etc.)

We are going to attend the Overland Expo in AZ in a couple of weeks, so look for us if you go. I'm the middle aged bald guy in the silver F250, with the gorgeous companion.

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Old 04-03-2010, 12:17 PM   #10
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Re: Fish out of Water

Love the pics of your son on the guitar. He looks like a natural.
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