Desert Holidays, Part 1

We ventured in between winter storms to another fun location in the Anza-Borrego Desert, this time to Borrego Springs.  After three years of going up and over our local mountains, both the hard way with many switchbacks, and the magical way using the flux capacitor, we have found that it is more pleasant and easier to go around them (and circumvent Julian) by traveling north on California State Route 79 and taking County Highway S2 down to Scissors Crossing and then 78 and Yaqui Pass to Borrego Springs.  Going this way we avoided potential patches of black ice and snow seen in the Volcan Mountains from San Felipe Valley along S2.


Our mountains usually hold back rain clouds from the desert…


Resulting in mostly sunny days that we enjoyed by hiking and visiting the local farmers’ market and Gomphotherium and other free-standing art structures (such as the tall cactus below) created by artist/welder, Ricardo Breceda, at Galleta Meadows. (More about this in subsequent parts of this article.)


When we drove into Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, we saw another Airstream and someone cheerfully waving to us.  It was Mark and his wife, Mary, who had arrived earlier and were just finishing setting up camp directly across the road from our reserved site.


The following day I joined Mark and Mary on a hike up Palm Canyon (shown above) as Larry and the dogs relaxed at the campsite.  (Dogs are not permitted on the trails.)


Mark and Mary have a 2010 Classic Limited FB (with two solar panels) pulled by a 2008 GMC HD bright red diesel truck with a 52 gallon Titan fuel tank.

They are from Cape Cod and have spent the past two months on the road and have put over 6000 miles on their new trailer.

On the trail they marveled at the size of the palm trees and large boulders that had been washed down the canyon during the 100-year flash flood of 2004.

After hiking one and one half miles up the canyon, we reached a lush oasis of California fan palms supplied by a trickling stream.


(Above photo credit: Mary and Mark)

Over the next few days we enjoyed lively conversation and shared good food as we celebrated this festive season.


On the holiday dinner table below are Larry’s deep-fried potato pierogies, homemade banana-walnut bread, and sun-dried tomato-cilantro hummus.  Mary provided a couscous dish and sliced baguette, Brie cheese, exceptionally sweet strawberries and Medjool dates from the local farmers’ market.


Holiday cheers! Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!

(Above photo credit: Mary and Mark)


  1. insightout says

    Really enjoyed your holiday greeting, part I, and anxiously await the sequel, torn between urges:

    1) taking a hike with a two liter canister of oxygen


    2) Initiating appetite suppressant therapy

    Christmas cheer from balmy northern Indiana.

  2. Mark & Mary says

    What fun we had, good conversation, food, and adventure. Thank you for sharing your weekend with us and your tips on exploring the area. Had a great drive east through the badlands on our way to Yuma.

    Hiked to the saddle of Picacho Peak today, Mary balked about going up to the peak. It was a little more difficult than our canyon hike.

    Cheers and good wishes for the New Year.