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Anza Borrego:
A Favourite

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We're back in Anza Borrego Desert State Park (our third visit in 9 years).

We name each of our trips to the southwest and the name usually reveals itself to us after the trip is well underway. We've called this "The Favourites Tour". After seven extended trips to the area, we're always amazed that there's so much more to discover and explore. But, on this trip, we are finding a certain comfort in revisiting previous locations. Are we losing our spirit of adventure? Or is this a sign that we may be ready to down-shift to a more relaxed pace?

Anza Borrego is California's largest state park, encompassing 600,000 acres of mountain and desert wilderness, amazing vistas, dirt road and hiking trails. The park has no entry fee and free camping and RV-boondocking is both permitted and encouraged.

It was the President's Day long weekend so we were a little concerned. The park is so close to the population centers of San Diego and Los Angeles and the weather was perfect. But we need not have worried. Although there appeared to be more visitors than we've seen on other visits, the large park easily absorbed them. The night skies were clear and dark, the mountains shielding the park from the effects of coastal city lights.

Our first destination was Mountain Palm Springs, a free camp at the south end of the park. This camping area holds special memories for us - we enjoyed a weekend of daily campfire music here four years ago, courtesy of a large group of talented musicians camped next to us. Although the campground was fairly full when we arrived, as luck would have it, the best site was vacant. We snatched it up and had a great vista view! It was plenty big and, by day two, we ended up sharing it with a lovely couple from Idaho. (Happy Hour is always better when shared with new friends.)

Mountain Palm Spring  
Camp, Anza Borrego Desert

Our camp site at Mountain Palm Springs

Mountain Palm Spring Camp

Relaxed at camp

A short trail off the camping area leads to several drainages with natural palm groves.

Palm Canyon

Hiking the palm canyon trails

Palm Canyon

Palm Canyon

We climbed the walls for a view from the top.

We had hiked this trail four years ago, but only managed to find two palm groves. This time, we persevered and found the drainage that leads to a much larger stand: Palm Bowl Grove.

Palm Bowl Grove

Approaching Palm Bowl Grove

Palm Bowl Grove

We counted 50 plus trees in this grove.

Palm Bowl Grove

On Valentines Day we made our way to a nearby favourite destination, Agua Caliente County Park, where we enjoyed a relaxing day, soaking up the sun, the mineral water spa, and the pool. We brought our own picnic lunch so the total cost for a Valentines spa day was a whopping $6.00.

Agua Caliente County Park

The indoor hot mineral pool

Agua Caliente County Park

The outdoor mineral pool

Agua Caliente County Park

The cold water swimming pool

We finished our day with a Valentines Day barbecue dinner back at camp.

Valentines Day dinner

Lamb chops, Caesar salad, and a bottle or red

Sunrise at Mountain Palm Springs

Clouds at sunrise. Clouds have been rare on this trip.

The next day we moved to another favourite Anza Borrego camping area: Blair Valley. This location also holds special memories for us. It's where we camped nearly nine years ago with dear friends when they introduced us to this wonderful park for the first time.

Blair Valley Camp, Anza Borrego

Blair Valley Camp

Blair Valley Camp, Anza Borrego

Our view over Blair Valley

We hiked two trails from here: The Morteros Trail leads to several morteros (grinding stone depressions) where we could envision the Kumeyaay women busy with food preparation in this native village. The short trail offers splendid views of Little Blair Valley.

Morteros trail, Anza Borrego

An ancient kitchen

Pictograph on the Morterros trail, Anza  

Pictograph on the Morteros Trail

The also hiked the Pictograph Trail. The rock art is okay but not as spectacular as the view at the a pour-off at the end of the trail.

Pictograph trail, Anza Borrego

Along the Pictograph Trail

Pictograph trail, Anza Borrego

Ready for take-off...

Pretty well every hike and campsite in this sourthern part of Anza Borrego was a repeat from previous visits. We consciously chose them because we love them and were confident they'd be as rewarding as they were the first time. We weren't disappointed. But I must apologize to you, the reader, if you were expecting to read about new discoveries. Truthfully though, I'm a little too relaxed to care at the moment. You see, that's just a little side-effect of being on a Favourites Tour :-)

Days On The Road at time of writing: 37
Camping Costs To Date: $57.00

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I like returning to the same places and do it all the time. I've found I like the familiarity, know what to expect, where the services are nearby, etc. …

We've been a lot of places but never there. I'll be adding it to our bucket list.

Reliving Happy Memories! 
Anza Berrago is a beautiful park,it has been years since I have been there! Thank you for taking your favorites tour and sharing with brought …

Borrego Visit 
Sometime in the future I will visit the Anza Borrego and Borrego Springs area. Your reports will surely come in handy then. Thanks for sharing your favorite …

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