Anza Escape

26 March 2020

Carrizo Canyon to Rockhouse Canyon and back (8 miles, +700/-700 feet).

So we’ve been under stay at home orders for several days in California due to COVID-19, but it’s been a bit confusing about what is allowed and what is not.  Half Cookie and I have been going a little stir crazy walking our neighborhood, and Anza Borrego State Park is not yet closed, so we decided to do some extreme social distancing.

We drove out to Bow Willow Campground which had a few folks car camping but couldn’t find a fee-free place to park, so we backtracked and parked on a ridge above the Smoke Tree Forest in Carrizo Canyon.

It was a perfect partly-cloudy 60s day for hiking in the desert.  I think we hit the flowers at their peak from the great December rains we had this year.

California Fagonia
Emory’s Rock Daisy
Desert Chicory
Engelman’s Hedgehog
Lots of Ocotillo blooms!
Brown Eyed Primrose
Dandelions et al.
Desert Sand Verbena
You are making me dizzy!
Brittlebushes and Smoke Trees
Perfect day for a hike
Perfect spot for a break
Bigelow’s Monkey Flower

We cut the corner on the way to Rockhouse Canyon, leaving the wash and heading cross country.  It was pretty and fun, but we did get some hitchhikers!

Heading off the path
Half Cookie contends with a jumping cholla
How do we get down?
This way!

After our cross country adventure it was getting warm so we decided to head back rather than completing the loop through Bow Willow Canyon.

Heading down Rockhouse Canyon wash
Slender Lobed Four O’Clock
(More) Bigelow’s Monkey Flower
Parish’s Poppy

We were totally alone on our hike until the last hour, when a couple drove by in a jeep asking us if we had seen any Datura.

Why, yes!

Jimson Weed (datura wrightii)

What a spectacular day!

And when we were done we FINALLY retreived my water cache that had been sitting in the desert for quite some time from my failed attempts to hike sea-to-sea.  It’s good to know I can find the right bush where I hide them!

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