When we left Sacramento, we had just one reservation: 6 nights in Palm Canyon campground (click here to read our review from March, 2011) at Anza Borrego State Park. While we have sampled various campsites in the Borrego Springs area (click here to read our review of Rockhouse Road boondocking and click here to read our review of Borrego Holiday Home Mobile Home and RV Park), the state park’s Palm Canyon campground, with spacious sites, full hookups, and out-the-door access to beautiful desert hiking, is our favorite place to set up our home.
We first visited Borrego Springs in February of 2008; since then, it has become a regular part of our winter travels. As soon as we set up camp when we arrived on Saturday, we took off on a favorite hike in the area, the Palm Canyon loop… no drive to the trailhead required, it is an easy walk from the campground. That set the tone for the days we have spent here – lots of hikes!
Sunrise colors the Anza-Borrego mountainsides.
Our curious neighbor (click photo to enlarge it).
And… lots of visiting. Two of Odel’s co-workers make Borrego Springs their winter home. On our second day here, Odel was out on the golf course with Ross and Dick. Kay (Ross’s wife) and I joined the group for dinner that night, a reunion filled with laughter and recollections of their work together at California’s Resources Agency, the state parks division. As I write this, Odel and Dick are back out on the golf course; I have plans for exploration in the Jeep later today (after I bake the last of my Christmas cookies).
Yesterday, we paid a visit to the Richard Dopp’s clay oven on Rockhouse Road. We were boondocking on site when Richard built this little oven during our first visit to Borrego Springs (click here to read about the building of the oven, with photos) – it’s almost 4 years old now. As Richard and Marlene left the Rockhouse Road site after building the oven, he worried that subsequent campers might destroy it but, as our visit yesterday showed, the opposite has happened: subsequent campers have maintained it well!
The campsite is currently occupied by a first-time visitor to the area, a friendly Canadian (BC license plates) and his two lively dogs. We explained why we were disturbing his privacy and found him interested in the history of the oven and information we were able to offer about the area (like which way the wind blows!). He told us he has been similar ovens (larger) in British Columbia, build by Chinese immigrants in days long past, and we talked about the huge brick and clay ovens we’ve seen in use in Mexico. This little example, built using on-site materials, is part of a long line of illustrious ancestors. :)
The oven has a fresh layer of cob, clay with a big helping of straw mixed in. Richard, this photo is for you – and I know several other readers will be pleased to see this little icon of Rockhouse Road so well respected! :)
I’ve got photos from our other hikes in the area – coming soon.