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October 30, 2016

Maple Canyon–revisited, with the Canyoneers

From my post last week you may recall we were to be in Mexico this weekend…  Well, we’re late, we’ll leave Monday.  I see The NAT’s Canyoneers are hiking Maple Canyon this week.  Maple Canyon is not mentioned in Jerry Shad’s Afoot and Afield nor in my new (signed) copy of Diana Lindsay’s Coast to Cactus.  So instead of heading south of the border, I joined the hike, meeting at the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park.
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As a reminder Maple Canyon is/was my secret entrance into Balboa Park.  When the park is the venue for an event, and there is little to no parking, such as Saint Patrick’s Day.   Maple Canyon offers an easy access point.  It’s not a long hike, but The NAT will make this into a 6-mile morning walk – how?  I’ll let you know!  And since this is a new adventure for The NAT you’ll hear it here first Smile.  

I did not count those interested in joining in.  We were divided in groups by guides who would shout out their intent … “The first 20 who want to move fast and hard follow me!” - some 50 people followed.  We similarly divided ourselves behind leaders offering history and botany.
My group, history, headed straight to the main street El Prado and across Cabrillo Bridge on Laurel Street.  Some readers might be interested to know the tower at the Museum of Man is again open to the public.
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Kate Sessions has a park in her honor on Mt. Soldad, but her monument is here in Balboa Park.  A local school teacher and self taught Scientist and Botanist known as “The Mother of Balboa Park”.
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My group descends to the Quince Street footbridge that connected residents to the trolly lines.
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Yes Love Locks are showing up here too. 
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To add both distance and variety we exit at the Maple Street Trailhead and head up Dove Street to the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge.
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Returning to the park at the Marston House, the group is led down into Marston Canyon and across the Upas footbridge.
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The white ‘fungus’ on the cactus is really bug poop from the cochineal.   Well documented in the book ‘A Red like No Other…’
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I admire the irony as the hike ends at the Rose Garden just across the footbridge from The NAT.  Had I known I might have taken some rose petals to drop in Maple Canyon.
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Unless one of the Canyoneers is reading my blog, one of my 6 readers talked!  Maple Canyon is no longer a secret Sad smile.

The trails within Balboa Park are numbered and color coded.  But you need your reading glasses to read the trail name …
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Details and maps of the 65 miles of the trail system can be found on their website.

October 23, 2016

51st Borrego Days in Borrego Springs

Borrego Springs celebrates the fall weather along with the arrival of the tourists and snow birds - in style! - with the Borrego Days Festival, consisting of a parade, non-stop live music, carnival rides, food court, crafts, car show, etc.  All the needed pieces of a great festival … and it’s FREE!
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But it’s HOT! above average for hot this time of year!  I chose to give a call to Borrego Holiday Homes to see what they had for a couple nights with hookups and accepted their offer of site 79.  WOW! this is the primer site in the citrus grove.  Close to the pool and clubhouse with views of Indian Head out the window.  I’m sure this was to be a long term site, even offers cable!, but for the weekend it’s ours Smile.

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The Grand Marshal this year was Diana Lindsay – yes the gal who has spent decades documenting San Diego County History.  Her latest achievement, as editor, for the Canyoneers is a detailed San Diego County hiking trail guide - Coast to Cactus.  And I now have an autographed copy!
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And Diana has a day named in her honor:
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The parade is led by aircraft – 3 helicopters and 18 fixed wing this year.  Just a few years ago the only aircraft was the park ranger!  The planes will land at the Borrego Springs Airport with several offering flightseeing trips afterwards.  Followed by the Color Guard.  That’s an interesting picture as a Latino boy salutes the flag and the fella next to him remains sitting with his hat on …
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Like all local parades this one has a few bands, cars, floats, horses, clowns, a Grand Marshal.
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The Holtville High School band wins as the best marching  band.  Easily defeating my local Clairmont offering, but Brawley offered up a great performance..  If you have been to the ‘Carrot Festival’ You’ve been to Holtville and enjoyed the band.
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Elvis made an appearance to sing his “Viva Borrego” single, to the tune of his more well known “Viva Las Vegas”.
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And pretty girls, every parade needs a few young pretty ladies wearing a sash.
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A few odd-ball entries in the parade include a single wheel Segway and a Model T driver with a bionic eye.  Painted horses look like something fun to do, and a mini-trash truck … who knew???
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This 1975 Manta was used as a stolen car in Gone in 60 Seconds.  In an earlier parade Fran and I saw this low-rider with a hydraulics  failure.  It was stuck with a rear corner raised fully extended and not able to maneuver.  Nice to see it dancing again!

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At Christmas Circle lines have already formed for the food court.  Fran is not a big fan of ‘Fair Food from the Midway’' anyway.  An option is the Red Ocotillo which has relocated into the old French Restaurant location.  But we end up at our go-to lunch stop Carlee’s Place.  Very nice lunch salads, and the Jerk Chicken Salad is enough to share.
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However, Kesling’s Kitchen has opened next to the Borrego Art Institute directly across the street.  Looks really good!
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The stage within the Circle was divided into sections allowing one band to set up while one was playing and another tearing down.  A very efficient means to keep the music flowing.
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There is some carnival fun for the kids and some serious art work for the adults.   All the rugs and hangings are make by hand … and the prices reflect that effort!, wish I could afford one Smile
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While I took a quick drive out to Font’s Point for a few moments with Daddy Dearest, Fran took in the music at the Circle.  If you make it out to Font’s Point give a shout out to DD.  On this trip I was surprised at how soft the sand was, 4x4 was required.  At Font’s Point there are several updated informational signs.
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Me and DD at Font’s Point … and our last trip together …

Along with all the fun and activities in town during Borrego Days,  there is no day use fee to enter the park and do the Palm Canyon Trail hike if desired.   Also the Begole Archeological Research Center is also open to the public (limited hours).
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The center houses the most complete research of the valley.  Covering mostly pre-Anza artifacts, fossils and research, but also a collection of post Anza artifacts and a research library.
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Minerals found within Anza Borrego State Park:
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The Library is open to the public for research altho the archive materials cannot be checked out, there is no restriction on research nor photography.

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The Paleolithic research is really interesting.  The Borrego Sink was an inland sea home to a vast array of life.  Lots of horse and camel fossils are often found.
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The current jetports include the careful recovery of a mammoth skull.  Our local mammoth are nearly twice the size of the more famous Woolly Mammoth.
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Next up – San Felipe Shrimp Festival !!! Got Shrimp?