This July, I ventured out to the California Desert. I’m not sure if it was a good idea (it being so hot and all), but in the end, I guess I could say I had some fun and learned a few lessons
Anza Borrego is known for its Bighorn Sheep, which I got to see plenty of during a chance encounter. I mainly went to see the Milky Way (which is something that doesn’t interest me much,but it was something new to try), because as the further away you go from the city, the less light pollution you get (something I learned on the “tour”, which was quite interesting because Los Angeles’ light was polluting the sky all the way out Anza Borrego). I got to see Saturn with its rings and Jupiter which was pretty cool. As the sky darkened and more stars appeared, so did the milky way.
Besides stargazing, and drinking lots of water, I decided to do some hiking. To get to the Palm Tree Oasis one has to hike three miles, which doesn’t seem difficult, especially since the picturesque brochure depicts a cool oasis at the end. At the visitor center,the rangers said it was beautiful and worth the hike.
I grabbed my bottle of water and headed to the start of the trail. I noticed some movement in the distance. As I looked up, I saw a herd of bighorn sheep approaching the trail entrance. There was a man-made watering hole that the herd were heading toward. I watched them in amazement since they were so close to me. After they passed, I started walking the trail. The heat was so intense. The weather report for the day said it would be a high of 108 degrees. . There was no shade in sight, the sun was beating down on me, and water was limited. The three miles felt like 20 in that heat., With the oasis in sight, a few hikers walked by and told me that the trees are overgrown and there were swarms of wasps and other flying bugs, and I could not enter the water to cool off. I immediately turned around at that point.
I will say that the population of Anza Borrego in the summer is very small because of the intense dry heat. Only a handful of restaurants were open with limited hours and I was basically the only one on the road.I have heard that Anza Borrego is a great place to visit in the cooler seasons. This desert city was an interesting adventure. If I were to return in the summer, I’d make sure to have plenty of water. I read a pamphlet that said “Don’t Die in the Desert – Tips for survival” – Now I understand why!