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March 24, 2017

The Carlsbad Labyrinth – Urban Hinking Carlsbad, CA

The Blythe Intaglios are well documented and federally protected.  But rock art is not just for the ancient ones, Borrego Springs has the Great Snake of Clark Lake, certainly well known to the snow birds.

And Carlsbad has the Labyrinth.

The Lake Calavera Open Space Preserve lies on the northeastern border of Carlsbad and Oceanside.  There are several entry points but for this hike the entry at Tamarak is perfect.  Well perfect except for the limited parking!  I had to park Rufus a few blocks away in a residential area, making this a true ‘urban’ hike.
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At the Tamarak trailhead there is a restroom with water, even a doggie bowl.  Well mannered dogs on leash are welcome.
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Right at the trailhead above the dam is the mile long Solar System Walk provided as a Eagle Scout project of Troop 750 financed via a GoFundMe page.  Well done Troop 750!
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Pluto was still a planet when the Solar System Walk was added.

The paved trail continues on over the spillway – a great spot for skateboarding! – and across the dam.  The dam itself is earthen fill across a narrow canyon at the base of Mt Calavera.
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Once across the spillway the the trail is to the left to a fork.  The main trail is an easy level walk to the left, the trail to the right is a short steep uphill, and popular with the mountain bikers.
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The base of Mt Calavera is up the steep side.
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There are lots of rocks to play with here.  A wedding proposal is a bit unusual.  More common are the cairns and such.

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But the Labyrinth is the destination.  And the best view will be from the top of the rim.  If you’re young and determined there is a trail straight up ‘the wall’.
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But I’m old and slow, and choose to climb the narrow ridge trail to the top.  I did not expect this solid wall of rock!  It’s only 10’ up, but it is nearly straight up!
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During this short scramble my sun glasses fell off.
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I did not go down to find the missing lens.

And there, below is the maze known as the Carlsbad Labyrinth.
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The view from the top is to the ocean and of the rutted trail I’ll take down.
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The trail passes in front of an old adit that was once an exploratory mine and later for storage of explosives as the dam was built.
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It appears it may now be somebody's abode, although not currently occupied there is some abandoned bedding.
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It’s Spring and there is a nice assortment of wildflowers on the slopes. 
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Looking forward to our week with the grand-girls in Yosemite!

March 19, 2017

Borrego is Bloomin’ !!!

Our visit to Borrego Springs is timed to coincide with this years awesome wildflower bloom!  I’m sure most readers and certainly most of the folks out in Borrego this weekend want to see the desert ablaze with color.
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And it is ablaze with color, but there is no one perfect spot to see it all.  Some of the best wildflower fields we saw were on the drop down from Ranchita.  However the bloom in the valley is still strong.
We arrived in BS by 10AM, and were totally surprised by the traffic at this early weekday hour.

A quick tour of the Farmer’s Market at Christmas Circle, noted that there was nothing needed.  Altho some of the veggies looked good, and why does Humus made from garbanzo beans always have a long line, and nobody buys the healthier green beans?  Well we didn’t buy either one …
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We dragged the Jeep along behind Rufus to have a ‘Toad’ as additional transportation this weekend.  There was room at the Bargain Barn, just off Christmas Circle, to park and disconnect.  From here we head out to Henderson Valley ahead of the anticipated crowds,  and it is already more crowded than we’ve ever had in the past!

Here’s a good idea of the extent of the Henderson Valley flower fields.
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First thing the following morning I head out to Font’s Point, hoping for a few quiet moments with my dad.  Not this trip!  Photo-gurus with tripods trying to catch the sunrise.  I’m sure Daddy Dearest enjoyed the company.  All certainly had a great morning for it.

I do not believe I have ever seen the valley floor this green.
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George (Our Awesome Travels) – I have the individual flowers and clusters below and there’s a bunch!  Thanks for asking!    Fran suggested I trim it down, what do you think?

A few of the flowers are from landscaping in town.  Several from our brief trip thru Henderson Canyon and to the entrance to Coyote Creek.  With the amount of traffic we encountered we did not venture into Coyote Canyon nor Hawk Canyon.

Most are from the humble Thimble Trail where the little canyon was empty except for our Jeep!
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Desert Lily/ and its funky tenticals
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Dune Primrose/ with Sand Verbena and Brow Eyed Primrose
Dune evening primroseVerbena; brown eyed primrose ; dune primrose

Brown Eyed Primrose / Desert Star
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Popcorn – it’s everywhere!
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Milkweed -  in a couple weeks it’ll be a colorful attraction for the hummingbirds

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Canterbury Bells
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Indigo Bush
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Arizona Lupine
Arizona lupineArizona lupine; desert chicory

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Apricot Mallow
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Desert Dandelion – it’s everywhere!
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Check out the pods on this tree - Bladderpod ????
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Desert Sunflower
desert sunflower

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Beaver Tail
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Witches Hair
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Wild Cucumber
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Fran added some to a salad … ONCE!

I really like this campsite site, tucked into the little citrus grove, but with oleander on one side, and juniper along another.  It is the oleander that is pause for concern – it can be toxic in all forms, including using the long straight stalk to roast a hot dog. 
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Nice spot but the oleander on the drivers side makes a colorful barrier it is poison!
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Long pale stalk, long dark green leaves, regardless of color – AVOID.
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The hummingbirds really like the juniper blooms behind Rufus.
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And for sure we were not alone!  Traffic was backed up for MILES!, on Palm Canyon Drive Saturday with the day trippers. Glad we came in early on Friday.
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Any idea why they cover the cactus with hats?  This is next to the Hawk Watch berm on Coyote Creek Road.  The hawks come in toward the end of the bloom to feast on the White Sphinx Moth Caterpillars.
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Pruned grapefruit trees at Seely’s Ranch, nice square trees of equal height.  I cannot find Al’s post (Travel with the Bayfield Bunch) that showed the machine.  It’s quite a spectacle so see it in action.
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Time to prep for our week in Yosemite! with the kids!!! Awesome!