24 August 2013

Hiking on Anza-Borrego Desert

June 2013

Never been to desert, not to mention hiking on there. As there's a desert near by, decided to give a try, i.e what's it like to hike on a desert on a hot day.  Bit a of crazy idea though.

Less than two hours drive from San Diego, there's an Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. A short study of its map revealed there were multiple hiking paths on there. Even the Pacific Crest Trail crossed it.  On the edge of its boundaries there was something interesting, a palm oasis. A trail to it seemed to be short enough. Even the park Visitor Center was near by it. Target was set.

A road ascended via Julian, crossed mountains and started to descend on a plain of the desert. There were villages here and there. Wasn't so easy to imagine people used to live there.

Temperature showed +43C, like a hairdryer blowing towards your face from 30cm distance. There was no shade. Nowhere. Took the road towards Borrego Springs, a small census on the desert. There were some palm trees, a shopping mall, a golf course, hotels. Internet search told the city to be art oriented. Could come there at winter time. I bet night sky on there would be spectacular.

Arrived at the State Park Visitor Center. Stepping out from a car was already an experience. Noticed that the idea hiking there was more than crazy, even life dangerous.

Went quickly into a cool showroom. Chatted a while with really friendly staff and watched an introduction film about the desert state park around the year. Amazingly there used to snow at winter time. Staff told me it wasn't the hottest season yet, so more was to come. The film was very interesting, showing such a versatile life of animals and nature there through all seasons.

From the Visitor Center took a short drive to a Camping area, where the trail started. The trail was called Palm Canyon Trail.  It was a short loop to an oasis of palm trees with a small waterfall. At least so a brochure explain it.  The trail was not on a desert plain but started to ascend to the canyon within near naked and rocky mountains. Heat was evident, you couldn't escape it.

Brochure explained bighorn sheep used to live there. Disappointingly didn't see any of them, though 'believed' they were watching you all the time.

After an hour and a half hike started to see palm trees, like a small forest down in the canyon. Green colour and even some traces of water felt strange. Wondered the palm oasis a while. Pretty impressive trees, a small waterfall looked really nice in a naked and rocky canyon.

Drank more and more water. Exhausted feeling after such a short hike. Now it was descending trail back. Absolutely maximum distance to do in such a heat.

Surprisingly there were many species of birds flying around you. Possibly something to eat then, too.

After arriving back to the car, felt really tired.  A short hike on a desert was done.


Anza-Borrego desert

Straight on


Visitor Center

Starting point of the Palm Oasis Trail

A massive flood few years ago destroyed most of the palm trees 


Odd view, some green

More green, what on earth?

Palm oasis, in the middle of a naked canyon


A closer look at a palm tree

Fur of the palm trees

An odd view

There might be water, sometimes

Many plants on a desert looked nice

Camping ground, anyone wants to setup a fire on a grill?

12 August 2013


August 2013

Since moved from Finland to California, have learnt that cycling culture was quite different that I'd accustomed to. San Diego being called a cycling friendly city, meaning cyclists are acknowledged in streets and local roads. There are bicycle lanes all over the county. However, to me getting accustomed for a cycling since a kid, local cycling culture has still been a slight disappointment to me. Mainly, missing an ordinary cycling, bicycling to shop, cafes etc and not just enjoying it as a training exercise.

Read sometime ago about a local cycling event called CicloSDias. Inherited from LA's CicLAvia, and the mother of all these cycling events done in Bogota Columbia, San Diego active communities had decided to promote alternative commuting methods for daily life. Four near-downtown-communites among some cycling, walking and other activity groups had setup a car-free day for their streets.  One of the key streets for the event, 30th street, was also referred to the city's brewery street. Thus, there were lots of reasons to spend a lazy Sunday among other cycling enthusiasts on the CicloSDias event.

It was a good reason to get to used to neighborhoods one wouldn't necessary to see so often. To me, South Park looked really nice with tree shadowed streets, local pubs, shops and bookstores. Few local bicycle shops were fantastic, boy I did like them. Event itself was nice, too. Artists playing music, pubs offering fancy local food and drinks. Got proper espresso and italian ice cream after  long time.

Enjoyed seeing beautiful bicycles, fixies etc, you named them and there they were. However, it's really people who made atmosphere there. Happy faces cycling, walking on car-free streets.


CicloSDias on the 30th street


Dog's life

In the shadows


Keith Haring's been on town?

Ain't she a real beauty?

A local bicycle shop, just fantastic!

As it all started some time ago

Cinderellas wear umbrellas

A Siesta



As cyclists go by

A glimpse of future


Street Art

Purple Haze and a local Police

A Lady reviews washing machines, chaps don't ...

On a rocket speed

Oh gosh, gym equipment have found their way on to streets

Play it again, Sam