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December 10, 2018

Borrego Springs - a new library, under a new moon

Borrego Springs was the first Dark Sky Community designated in California.  There is always a Star Party when on the New Moon. But with the New Moon on the weekend there will be TWO star party gatherings to choose from, plus the opening of the new San Diego County Borrego Springs Library, and the adjacent public park.
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Several offerings to choose from on Saturday:
9 AM – 4 PM  – Ocotillo Wells wildflower ranger walk
1 PM – Borrego Springs Library opening w/ music and munchies
5 PM – Ocotillo Wells star party
7:30 PM – Borrego Springs star party

I picked up Marty, my younger brother – going from Mazatlan to Tacoma – at the Cross Border Express on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning we headed toward Borrego Springs.  We found a nice spot just off Main Street in Ocotillo Wells.
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I set up my little Celestron telescope for a chance to view some of the evening objects and we were also able to catch a glimpse of the comet 46P/Wirtanen
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Saturday we learned the OW Star Party had to be cancelled.  Arg, but the wildflower walk was not.  By 9 AM we were at the Discovery Center to discover which flowers were blooming this early in the season.

Ocotillo are deciduous year round, dropping both flowers and leaves as necessary and reviving with the first rain, regardless of the season or temperature.
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Spanish Needles look like a single blossom, but a closer look reveals the ‘blossom’ is a bundle of individual flowers.
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I’ve always liked the long red blossoms of the chuparosa, our dad liked the brittlebush.
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The deep purple of the indigo bush is unmistakable, the soft blossom of the fairy duster offers a delicate flower in a harsh environment.
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Looking east from our site on a cool, clear morning the inversion layer over the Salton Sea and its geothermal activity was obvious.  We packed up and headed over to Clark Lake on Saturday morning.  I was a bit surprised to see a dusting of snow on the tip of the Santa Rosa mountains.

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Leaving the RV at Clark Lake we made the short drive out to Fonts Point.  Last time Marty was here was with dad.  Fond memories as Marty sits on dad’s favorite rock.
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That’s Marty up on Fonts point and me below where Last Days in the Desert was filmed.
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After enjoying Fonts Point we return to town where it looks like all 3500 residents turned out for the Library ribbon cutting.
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The new park is nice, but lacks my suggestion of citrus trees – it was met with an unconditional “NO! they require too much water” at the public input session last year.  There was no response to my suggestion of a backboard at the tennis court.  But alas there is not one.  However the court is marked out for two pickleball courts, or one tennis court.
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A large play area under shade next to an adult exercise area with some fun looking equipment.  There’s also Bocce ball and sand volleyball available.
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No trip to Borrego Springs is complete without a visit to view some of the Galleta Meadows Sculptures.

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or the Great Snake of Clark Lake.
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We returned for the Star Party where we were able to view the comet through an 11” telescope.  In this case I think my little scope or even the binoculars provide a better idea of it.

That’s pretty much the highlights of our little mini-vacation and a bit of brother bonding.
Absolutely No Bad Days!