New Year’s under the blue moon

We celebrated New Year’s in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park under the light of the blue moon.  A blue moon is the “extra” full moon in years that have thirteen full moons and occurs every two to three years.  In early English usage, some interpret this “blue moon” as relating to absurdities and impossibilities.


For us, it was a time to relax and enjoy the ambiance of this peaceful and beautiful desert setting.


Larry brought along a juniper wreath made from the Hollywood junipers from our home, which looked quite festive as it held a candle lantern on our picnic table (seen above).  He also brought two delicious homemade artisan sourdough bread rounds, made using the “No Knead Bread Baking Method” (seen below).


I joined Charon and Alex, Rich, and Bert on a hike up Hellhole Canyon.


dsc_0057-hellhole-canyon.jpgHellhole Canyon hike is a popular introductory backpack trip for many youth groups.  It is located south and west of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center that climbs up toward Culp Valley.  According to Diana Lindsay in her book, Anza-Borrego A to Z: People, Places, and Things, 2001, Sunbelt Publications, this canyon was named by William Johnston “Wid” Helm, who used the canyon to move his cattle on and off the desert for winter grazing.  He reportedly said that this canyon was “one hell of a hole to get cattle out of”.

A sign at the beginning of the trail alerted us that mountain lions have been sighted in the area.

Bands of ancient metamorphosed sea beds can be seen on the north canyon wall.

Indeed, we found a marine shell here (as seen below, held by Rich).


Also along this canyon we saw new growth (due to recent rains) of lush, green ovate leaves and bright red flowers of the Ocotillo.  This provided an opportunity for Bert to use his photographic skills and capture a stunning image of the blossoms.



Bert wrote in his recent post, “Hellhole Canyon — Or What’s In A Name?“, “To dramatize the flowers I needed two strobes, which I always carry. I then set the  camera to manual mode, enabling me to overpower the light from the sun. To do that I set the shutter speed to 250th of a second and the aperture to f-22 or less.  Look through the view finder of your camera and you’ll see the dial (at least on the Nikon D300) shows an under exposure of about three stops. Without the strobes your picture would be mighty black, but the strobes are set correctly, and they illuminate the subject. However, you’ll need an additional set of hands to hold one of the strobes.”

I gladly became the additional set of hands, while picking up photography tips from an expert!

My next article will cover what Bert and I experienced and photographed during an evening hike up Ghost Mountain.

Meanwhile, I’ll relax to the music of Blue Moon, accompanied by ukulele.


  1. insightout says

    Was there a rendition of “Blue Moon”, lead singer Charon, accompanied by a background chorus of ukeleles ? Was alcohol ever a factor ?

    Where are the representatives of Nikon, National Geographic, and NBC ? This is the perfect casting for the long anticipated remake of the “A-TEAM”. If only the late Brandon Tartikoff was still available to produce.

    thought of as mercenaries by the other characters, the A-Team always acted on the side of good and helped the oppressed vintage trailer travelers, photogs, and hikers

    Some of the above may include inaccuracies.

    Looks like good times. Greetings from Patagonia~70 F, and sunny.

  2. Bill D. says

    Thanks, Dr. C (insightout), for the inspiration to add a link to the classic popular song, Blue Moon, written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1934…

    And of course, accompanied by ukulele.

    Best wishes and Happy New Year!