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March 21, 2016

Borrego Springs–Post Bloom

The desert blooms in phases bottom to top, flowers to cactus.  I was hoping the week past ‘primetime’ would provide some flowers, more cactus and smaller crowds.  As Meat Loaf song says – Two Outa Three Ain’t Bad!  And a shy coyote is fine too.
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First the good news, some flowers, lots of cactus, but lots of guests!  Most Ever!  EVER! Some tour outfit in the Far East has Borrego Springs on its radar, and bucket list!  There were 4 tour buses and 8 translators at the Visitor’s Center making literally unusable, and it’s Spring Break, too – so town is packed.  Not sure when BS became a destination for the Spring Break crowd nor the foreign tour groups, but it can’t hurt the economy – just plan accordingly.

But it’s not bad for us, we’re one of a dozen hanging out at Clark Lake.  So first let’s be absolutely clear – Neither Pegleg Smith nor Clark Lake are ‘closed’ to boondocking.  Yes they are now part of the Anza Borrego Desert State Park and subject to the same rules.   But boondocking is welcome under park rules – the gotchya for snowbirds specifically is 30 days in a calendar year, no ground fires, dogs on leash.  The changes are on the website here.
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So to be sure I understood the new rules I asked ‘ranger-rick’ and I was assured the same rules apply throughout the park.  So if you want a spot for 30 days or less, it’s wide open.  Just leave on the 31st day.  Need a spot longer than that?, there are places in town or outside the park boundaries.

Having read so much on the Great Snake of Clark Lake, it was my turn to see it for myself.  My next query was on the history of The Snake.  Altho it is not known with certainty, The Snake was most likely created by the Pegleg Smith crowd perhaps a decade ago.  No more is known by the park service.  In fact ranger-rick first heard of The Snake in 2012 after Nina of Wheelingit published it’s GPS location, which returns:
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Yup – if Google can find it so can you!

We are set up just below the trailhead to The Snake, and after the drive we are up for an evening hike up the short at times steep trail.  This is no longer an unknown destination, word has spread!  The trail from Clark Lake is marked with cairns, and The Snake has some more company. 
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We’re here for the blooms and to visit Daddy Dearest.  DD loved Font’s Point and chose it as his final home.  A bit of a Big Lebowski moment back in 2004 it was my privilege to make his desire in death come to life.  We have much better conversations at Font’s Point now Smile.
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Our before and after Kodak Moments:
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The warm weather has wilted all but the heartiest of the wild flowers through Henderson Valley – but the grapefruit superb!
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Need some citrus?  Not just ‘on your honor’, it’s also ‘try-before-you-buy’and the best on the planet!  Stop at Seley Ranches for their in season organic selections.
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The blooms in Borrego are staggered, as the wildflowers work their way up from the valley floor the cactus come into their own.  We decided to try Coyote Canyon at least as far as Desert Gardens, to check out the cactus and what might remain of the flowers.
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The birdwatchers were out watching the hawks hunting the White Striped Sphinx Moth.  These are fair sized caterpillars and seen everywhere along Coyote Creek.
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After we skipped the overcrowed VC  it was time for a favorite favorite stop – Carlees! and their jerked chicken salad.  It too was packed, so skipped the hour wait for a ToGo version.
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I’ve suggested Painted Canyon to a couple blogs I follow, but no takers.  So tomorrow guess we’ll have to do it!  This is my ‘Shoots’n’Ladders’ hike.  Depending on the conditions I’m OK with this being a ‘shoot!’ morning …  The wild flowers in Joshua Tree should be peaking this weekend, and it’s on the way.

FYI – where do we stay in ABSP/BS?  Remember this is a ‘day trip’ for us, sometimes a night or two – Culp Valley  above Maidenhair Falls and a bit cooler in summer.  Blair Valley is a given, it has all you’d want in free desert camping/hiking.  Of course we also enjoy Palm Canyon Campground, with its reserveable sites, large sites, hiking up Palm Canyon and hot showers!

We pick Pegleg Smith over Clark Lake, as it is a quick in/out, has a library, late arrivals are welcome, but not the best for a longer stay.

Need hookups?  Borrego Holiday Homes!  It is less expensive than Palm Canyon Campground, with full hookups and excellent WiFi, pool, fire ring, large common area and FREE citrus – right off the tree!  Who’d stay anywhere else?
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