Friday, January 20, 2017

Coyote Canyon

We'll stay a couple of nights in an official park campground: Palm Canyon on the west side of Borrego Springs. The time in town allows free use of the public library & connectivity, daily showers, and laundry facilities.

Farmers' Market is on Fridays 8-noon.  Pita chips and 3 layer salad catch us. We don't find the  tamales we're hoping for, but hear that usually there would be tamales.  The baker tells us that the cool temperature and rain kept several of the regulars away.  As we are purchasing oranges, the seller recommends that we try a pomelo - "grandfather of the grapefruit".

It is a holiday weekend (Martin Luther King, Jr) so we opt for remote Coyote Canyon guessing that the campground will be full of San Diegans looking for warmth.  What we find: a hummingbird who buzzes by while I'm trying to locate the bird who is singing so wildly and melodiously.  The talented singer is a California Thrasher.  It is about a 3 hour project locating him with binoculars following sound.  The song continues all evening and starts again at dawn.

It isn't only bird song and hummingbirds that make Coyote Creek Canyon beautiful.  A rainbow decorates the east wall as rain clouds descend.  The clouds seem to get hung up on the mountain tops, too, so it seems unlikely that any rain will fall on our camp.

And then frog or toad songs begin with sunset.  Coyote Creek is flowing and musical. Dinner is simply T-bone steaks smothered with onions and mushrooms. And California Pinot Noir.

Stopping by to visit: a retired miner (diamonds in the Northwest Territories) who, since we don't get around to exchanging names we will call "BC guy", and who mentions that he plays ukulele, too.

The camp is remote, but it is a big holiday weekend.  Our campsite is perfect viewing of the parade that passes by on the rough dirt road: Icelandic horse whose rider is guiding more people on more horses, bicycles, hikers, and jeeps, lots of jeeps.

The identification of the California Thrasher is very rified with SD residents who carry Sibley's bird book.  Their first response is "well you can't be sure that it is a California Thrasher because 'they' keep changing its name."  We realize later that the way we describe both the Thrasher and the Phainopepla pair just as if we'd memorized the description in the bird book. The owner of the Sibley's book is also a ukulele player.

Horse guide on an Icelandic horses.

We devour the pomelo that we purchased from the farmers' market.  It is sweeter than a grapefruit. And it is huge.  Yes, we'd buy a pomelo again.  It is just beginning to sprinkle as we finish up bowls of barley and carrots. So satisfying.

There is a steady caravan of vehicles traveling this barely passable dirt road north up Coyote Canyon.  Tomorrow we will hike the canyon.

The morning is again chilly, but not chilly enough to start the Buddy heater.  As soon as the sun is up over the horizon, it will be warm.

We hike the canyon along the Lower Willows and Box Canyon trails.  So many hikers and horses have come this way that the trail is just not clear.  It is a beautiful hike, but a bit frustrating as we end up hiking along the road for the return.  We estimate our hike at 9-10 miles. If we had found the actual trail, we could claim only 6.5 miles.  Seeing a big, fast jack rabbit makes the extended hike worth it.  It is a happy thing to return to the Q camping site.  Cold beer!

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