Saturday, April 2, 2011

A welcome visit

I was out in the Anza Borrego Desert area about one week when my youngest daughter called to say that since she had some time available before starting her new job, she and Havana (her black lab mix dog) would come down for a visit. It was a 10 hour drive for her (coming from the Napa area) and she arrived at about 1:00 am on a Friday.  After sleeping in a little that morning, we got ready and set out to find a place to go for a hike where we would be able to bring Havana with us. Nancy had done some research and found that, while the state park system doesn’t allow dogs on their trails, the county park systems do. With that in mind, drove down the road to Agua Caliente County Park.  I was delighted about that because there is an rv park there also and I wanted to have a look at it.  We were stopped short when the ranger at the gatehouse told us that dogs were not allowed on the trails in/around their park because it was part of the Anza Borrego Desert.  We were sorely disappointed but did take a few minutes to walk around the rv park and read some of the info on the kiosk near the little amphitheater they have there. I like the park and would definitely stop there for a stay if I’m in that area again.  The ranger was nice enough to call over to a regional park in Julian and verified that we could take Havana with us on a hike over there.  We decided to do that hike but on the way back up the road, we diverted off onto one of the many pull offs because we noticed that there were dirt/sand roadways leading into various hiking trails. The ranger back at Agua Caliente did say that Havana could be walked (on leash) on those roads. It wasn’t as exciting as hiking into the hills but we got a good 4.5 to 5 mile walk in doing that.

The next day, my other daughter (the east coast gal working on an assignment in Glendale, CA), picked up a rental car and drove down to spend an overnight with us.   She arrived around 10:30 – 11:00 Sat. and we readied ourselves to head over to do a hike on the Oasis Loop in the Anza-Borrego Desert S.P.  Apparently, we parked the car in the back end of the lot – near the section of the hiking path that is more difficult?  It was labeled alternative path or loop.   I started back down the parking lot to ask the ranger at the booth where the start to the Oasis loop was but the girls kept calling me back saying we could just go the alternative path.  So-o-o-o off we went!! 

Up, up, up over rocks and in between boulders. I was very thankful for the many hikers coming down this path  
(he-e-ey.... wait a minute here; how
come everyone else is coming down this path?!?)   Never mind. . . . at least it’s giving me time to catch my breath and gulp down some water!  Of course, I had to stop to check out the few (very few) wildflowers that we found along the way.  It was disappointing that the
floral display was so dismal – I had hoped to see the desert in full bloom but that was not to be this year.  We made the climb up to the Oasis and while Dianne and I stayed on the east side of the running brook, Nancy took my camera and made her way up into the Oasis itself. It does look like a
 refreshing place to be and I could imagine that the folks living in this area all those years ago made good use of this respite from the summer heat. 
It was an  easier walk down --following a brook and the grade   was more of a slight slope. We were stopping along the way to enjoy the setting and still searching for any signs of spring wildflowers.

After snapping a few more photos (that's me peeking throught the palm leaves in the photo on the right), I was looking up into the hillside surrounding  this area to see if I could spot any  Borrego (Sheep) up on the rocks/cliffs.   Next thing I knew, my left foot tripped on a rock in the pathway and smash I’m flat out on the ground – took the wind right out of me!!   We took a minute to assess what if any damage I had done.  Bad scraping with a little bit of bleeding on the left leg/knee area; both elbows scraped; left wrist/hand bruised where I tried to break my fall.  The most uncomfortable area, however, was my left side breastbone/rib area.  I must have hit the heaviest on that area – it’s taking the longest to heal.   No visible signs of bruising in that area – it’s all inside!!

We finished off the walk with me repeating the mantra – keep your eyes on the pathway; don’t be looking up and around!! 
Back at the rv the girls got a campfire going while I made dinner for us to share out around fire. It was a mild evening and we stayed out there chatting until the fire died down and then went in to cleanup the kitchen, etc. 


We had a nice morning together and before we knew it, it was time for Dianne (on the right in this photo) to head back up to Glendale.   

Good thing I have a long snout!

Nancy, Havana and I decided to head back over to do one of the hikes that we noticed when we were on the dirt/sand roadways a couple of days ago up to some Pictographs. It was a relatively easy trek and we continued on past the Pictograph rock where we found  a lovely narrow little canyon-like setting. At the end of this, the walk ended with a very steep cliff and lovely panoramic view of the valley below.

After resting here for awhile and taking a few photos, we started our walk back to check out the Pictographs – pondered what story these drawings were telling and then followed the path back out to the truck. 

On our walk out, Nancy mentioned that she had the feeling she might be getting sick. She had noticed that, since arriving down in the area, she thought her mild allergies were starting up – thinking that it was something blooming down there. But, now she thought it was more than that. Sure enough, she woke up Monday with whatever it is that is going around – a bad cold or some sort of flu with a cough that just won’t go away. She was down for the count that day and Havana and I only stepped outside long enough to let her do her business because there was a really nasty windstorm blowing through. 
Thankfully, the wind blew itself out of the area at some pont durng the night. We spent a good part of the next day sitting out in the sun and throwing ball for Havana so that at least she’d get her exercise for the day! And, yes, Dianne came down with whatever it was that Nancy had within a few days. For each of them, the nagging cough has lingered on.  I escaped with just a mildly scratchy throat and feeling extra tired for a day or two!!

Nancy drove back up to her place toward the end of the day on Wednesday. She left here around 5:00 pm and stopped in Temecula at a couple of stores before getting on I 15 around 7:30. By that time of night, most of the commuter traffic was gone so she got through the LA area without any delays. The rest of the way she said she pretty much had the road to herself. The best part though, was that when darkness falls, Havana finally settles down and will be content to gnaw away on a big rawhide type bone before falling asleep. Much as we love Havae, she’s a terrible traveler – whining and howling and spinning around in the way-back of the SUV.

 When I arrived out in that more remote off the grid area, I had discovered that I could send a text message via my Yahoo email account – through the chat and im tool.  I had tested it the week before Nancy came down and she was able to reply with a text and it came right through to the im window on my email account!!   So, that was the communication tool we were using on her drive down and back. I woke up around 3:30 am Thurs. and checked to see if she had sent a text message. I didn’t find one so I sent one to her. While I was waiting for her to reply, I clicked the refresh button and found an email from her saying that she had gotten home around 2:30 and she was sending the email before heading to bed. She cut a few hours off her drive by leaving late in the day and driving at night. I was happy that she was at home and in her own bed, etc. It’s so hard to be sick and away from home!

All in all, I enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere out in the Anza Borrego Desert area and it was a wonderful treat to have both of my daughters and my ‘gran-puppy’ come for a visit! After almost three weeks out in the Anza Borrego Desert area, it was time for me to move along . The truck needs a service visit and the rv is going in to V.I.P. in San Bernardino for a good exterior cleaning/waxing, etc.  (found thanks to Laurie and Odel's very positive recomendation last December). 

No comments: