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Talk about a trip you took out to Anza Borrego

Bighorn-Nolina Canyon Loop Messages in this topic - RSS

Rocko1
Rocko1
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1/21/2019
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 144
I took the wife on her first backpacking trip Saturday. Based on Daren's recommendation-thank you!-we chose to go up Bighorn Canyon, camp one night and come back via Nolina Canyon. Daytime temp low 70's, night time low 40's. No wind, full moon at night and clear.

Parked at Pinyon/Nolina Wash Rd intersection and headed out toward Bighorn.


From the recent rains, the sand was nice and firm and the cactus/plants were looking very healthy.


Bighorn Canyon has some interested formations. It's an easy hike with the occasional minor rock hop.


As we got to the Blue Spring fork, we headed towards the guzzlers we started seeing many bones.


This unlucky sheep had been here sometime.


A baby sheep was also unlucky. This was not that old as the rotting smell was overpowering.


The guzzler tanks fed by the Blue Spring were full and water was pouring out of the top overflow port at a good pace. I filled up a 2L bag in a 90 seconds. Lots more bones scattered around the metal trough.


As it was getting dark we decided to forgo going to the spring and find a good campsite. Found a small semi-flat area away from any teetering rocks.


Dinner was a couple of MRE's my son had given us. I don't recommend the this particular choice-way too sweet.


In the morning I noticed something silver up on the side of the mountain-15 minutes later I found the culprit.

Climbed this to get the balloon.


Not a bad view from the balloon site.


Broke camp and started heading towards Nolina Canyon. I couldn't exactly see a definitive route so we just kept going up until we got to a saddle and could see down.
On the way up


Here is the transition-Bighorn on the left, Nolina on the right.



Getting to this point and down into Nolina was the only 'technical' part of the trip-not hard but loose scree and hands needed to scale some small parts.
To Nolina


Some nice prints from a decent size cat.



Both canyons have some very healthy Junipers.


As well as this Desert Apricot tree. This canyon really has some of the most flora I have seen in a while.



Nolina Canyon is much easier terrain and is a good exit route. Longer stretches of smooth sand. Also has many nice camp spots as well as side canyons that could be explored.

Some other pictures taken on the way back to the car.



Trip Stats


It was a great trip. Thanks again Daren for the help! My wife enjoyed the trip and other than wishing she had a more comfortable sleeping pad-it went great.

edited by Rocko1 on 1/22/2019
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Buford
Buford
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1/21/2019
Buford
Buford
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Glad it was a success. Only thing that looks wrong was the meal choice poke
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Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 144


1/22/2019
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 144
Buford wrote:
Glad it was a success. Only thing that looks wrong was the meal choice poke



Yeah, lesson learned. Was interesting to see what's included-Main dish, seasoned black beans, Gatorade powder, instant coffee, bbq corn nuggets-these were really good- creamer, salt packet, toilet paper, flour tortillas, jalapeno cheese spread, Splenda packet, 2 pieces of gum and moist towelette. The chemical heater failed also and food was hardly luke warm, which didn't add to the enjoyment. Could have heated it up with the stove but it wasn't worth it.
edited by Rocko1 on 1/22/2019
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surfponto
surfponto
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1/22/2019
surfponto
surfponto
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Looks like a beautiful area.
How were the nighttime temperatures?

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Rocko1
Rocko1
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1/22/2019
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 144
surfponto wrote:
Looks like a beautiful area.
How were the nighttime temperatures?



Should have posted that, sorry. Daytime around 70F, at night got to low 40's. Absolutely no wind, dead calm and full moon. I tried to take some pictures at midnight to show illumination but my phones camera doesn't do well in low light. Could have walked out without lamps if you had too, very bright.
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tommy750
tommy750
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1/22/2019
tommy750
tommy750
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So, did your wife like it?? Mine is happy to do the day hike/car camp thing but can't convince her (yet?) for an overnight backpack outing. Nice trip report.
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Rocko1
Rocko1
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1/22/2019
Rocko1
Rocko1
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tommy750 wrote:
So, did your wife like it?? Mine is happy to do the day hike/car camp thing but can't convince her (yet?) for an overnight backpack outing. Nice trip report.



She did. She liked the adventure part of it. I thought she would struggle with getting out of Bighorn and into Nolina as you are scrambling up a decent incline with a pack but she did great. I offered many times to take the pack but she didn't need any help. She was a bit uneasy about the bones while we were near the guzzler, did not want to hang out too long there. Other than wishing for a more comfortable sleeping pad-used the Klymit Static V-and her feet getting cold at night-she enjoyed it.

If you wanted to bridge the gap I suggest Nolina canyon. You can park, hike up the road/wash for about 2 miles and there are many nice flat spots for camping right inside the beginning of the canyon. You can go back as far as you want but many opportunities early on-Bighorn not so much-much more rugged. Get back to the car within 40 minutes or so.
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dsefcik
dsefcik
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1/22/2019
dsefcik
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Glad that route worked out for you...millions of other choices for the next trip. Save the coyote brown spoons from the MRE, I'll take them..!!

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Rocko1
Rocko1
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1/22/2019
Rocko1
Rocko1
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dsefcik wrote:
Glad that route worked out for you...millions of other choices for the next trip. Save the coyote brown spoons from the MRE, I'll take them..!!

It did. Thanks again. I have the spoons as well as some others-my brother loves these things. They are yours if you want them.
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ziphius
ziphius
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1/23/2019
ziphius
ziphius
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Really nice trip report Rocko1. If that cap is the standard 1.25 diameter, then you have mountain lion tracks for sure. If you have an account on iNaturalist (or are interested) post those tracks, they will no doubt get 'Research Grade' status. It's an area of the county that mountain lion data is sorely-lacking. Glad your wife enjoyed the trip. - Jim

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rockhopper
rockhopper
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1/25/2019
rockhopper
rockhopper
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Great trip. Thanks for sharing. My wife's camping days are pretty much done ,unless it is near a hot spring. ;-o
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Rocko1
Rocko1
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1/25/2019
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 144
ziphius wrote:
Really nice trip report Rocko1. If that cap is the standard 1.25 diameter, then you have mountain lion tracks for sure. If you have an account on iNaturalist (or are interested) post those tracks, they will no doubt get 'Research Grade' status. It's an area of the county that mountain lion data is sorely-lacking. Glad your wife enjoyed the trip. - Jim



Yes, it's standard Smart Water bottle cap. I need to bring small ruler out for track pictures as I see quite a bit of different tracks. I will check out iNaturalist-i'd love to post these and other tracks I have seen.
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ziphius
ziphius
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1/25/2019
ziphius
ziphius
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Rocko1, in a pinch, a dollar bill or credit card makes a good ruler too!

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Rocko1
Rocko1
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1/25/2019
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 144
ziphius wrote:
Rocko1, in a pinch, a dollar bill or credit card makes a good ruler too!



Thanks, that's a good idea. I just ordered a cloth tape measure for future trips. Going to cut it to 12" or so and attach it to the pack. I always mean to bring a quarter but I keep forgetting.
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ziphius
ziphius
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1/25/2019
ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 771
Rocko, saw that you got some of your lion tracks up on iNaturalist, thanks, nice job. Your sighting from this trip currently is shown as two separate observations on iNaturalist. If these were from the same cat, it's customary to report it as a single observation. You can add multiple photos to an observation once created, and then delete any duplicate observations. Also, you were lucky enough to see other lion tracks in Cuyamaca and some folks are ready to provide a research grade status, but they need to know what the scale was: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19864100 FYI, I go by jim_carretta on iNaturalist, welcome aboard.

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Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 144


1/26/2019
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 144
ziphius wrote:
Rocko, saw that you got some of your lion tracks up on iNaturalist, thanks, nice job. Your sighting from this trip currently is shown as two separate observations on iNaturalist. If these were from the same cat, it's customary to report it as a single observation. You can add multiple photos to an observation once created, and then delete any duplicate observations. Also, you were lucky enough to see other lion tracks in Cuyamaca and some folks are ready to provide a research grade status, but they need to know what the scale was: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19864100 FYI, I go by jim_carretta on iNaturalist, welcome aboard.

ziphius-Thanks for the pointers-I will get the hang of it! wink
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tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 165


1/26/2019
tekewin
tekewin
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Those are some nice bones! A great find. I am normally summit focused, but this trip would be worth it for bone hunting. That peak in between the canyons (3567') was dubbed Bighorn Canyon Peak by Richard Carey, so there's that.
Great set of prints, too. Lions and bones often go together.

I bought a case of MREs for an emergency a few years ago and stored them in my daughters closet, but she ate them all. She said they weren't bad.
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Rocko1
Rocko1
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1/26/2019
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 144
tekewin wrote:
Those are some nice bones! A great find. I am normally summit focused, but this trip would be worth it for bone hunting. That peak in between the canyons (3567') was dubbed Bighorn Canyon Peak by Richard Carey, so there's that.
Great set of prints, too. Lions and bones often go together.

I bought a case of MREs for an emergency a few years ago and stored them in my daughters closet, but she ate them all. She said they weren't bad.



Thanks. I have had other MRE's that were not bad at all-this one was just so sugary and saucy I can't see how it's a main dish. Like a bottle of BBQ sauce, add more sugar and a few pieces of meat.

Certainly could spend more time exploring the area. I would love to make it to Pinyon Mt Rd from here some day going south.
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tommy750
tommy750
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1/28/2019
tommy750
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Was out last year above Pinyon Wash about two miles east of Blue Spring and found a cache of four sheep remains, one still fairly pungent. Definitely a favorite area for the kitties.
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Rocko1
Rocko1
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1/28/2019
Rocko1
Rocko1
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tommy750 wrote:
Was out last year above Pinyon Wash about two miles east of Blue Spring and found a cache of four sheep remains, one still fairly pungent. Definitely a favorite area for the kitties.



If I was a cat seems like a perfect ambush site.
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dsefcik
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1/28/2019
dsefcik
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Rocko1 wrote:
tekewin wrote:

I bought a case of MREs for an emergency a few years ago and stored them in my daughters closet, but she ate them all. She said they weren't bad.
Thanks. I have had other MRE's that were not bad at all-this one was just so sugary and saucy I can't see how it's a main dish. Like a bottle of BBQ sauce, add more sugar and a few pieces of meat.
Heard from an insider (marine) that when you have to eat those things for 30 days straight, they all suck.

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ziphius
ziphius
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7/16/2019
ziphius
ziphius
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It turns out that the baby sheep in this thread is most likely a mule deer carcass. Based on the location, that's quite surprising, but not impossible. https://www.coyotelearning.org/post/why-being-wrong-is-important

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dsefcik
dsefcik
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7/16/2019
dsefcik
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When Tom and I were out at Blue Spring recently I definitely saw a baby deer carcass up under a Juniper.

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ziphius
ziphius
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7/17/2019
ziphius
ziphius
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dsefcik wrote:
When Tom and I were out at Blue Spring recently I definitely saw a baby deer carcass up under a Juniper.


Thanks. I thought I knew the range of mule deer pretty well, they always surprise me.

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tommy750
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7/17/2019
tommy750
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Here's the deer carcass I saw in Nolina downstream from the guzzler. Not sure if this is the same one you saw, Daren.

IMG_1714 by tomteske, on Flickr
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dsefcik
dsefcik
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7/18/2019
dsefcik
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That is different one, I saw one up under a Juniper more near the boulders.

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