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Talk about a trip you took out to Anza Borrego

Inner Pasture on a cool 5/26. 5 balloon trip! Messages in this topic - RSS

Posts: 898

Posts: 898
Saturday was clear, cool, and windy in the Inner Pasture. Daren’s advice from a previous post to park near mile 41 and hike up the sandy canyon was great. Much easier (though longer) route than Moonlight Canyon. Nice way to enter the pasture. No time spent in the northern end of the pasture, which I explored back in Feb. I headed south to the area ESE of Red Top this time. Finding unmapped springs and unheralded signs of past human habitation were my goals for the trip. Within a couple of miles of starting, I’d seen a dragonfly, always a good sign that there is water SOMEWHERE. Within the next mile, I saw my first LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE of the season, an adult bird, perched on some thorn scrub. I checked the bush to see if the bird had impaled any prey, but no sign. The different thing about this canyon is the amount of TRASH, compared with Moonlight Canyon. One of the first artifacts I found was this Mexican phone card:

Every quarter mile or so, I’d find whole plastic 2-liter bottles or gallon jugs. Sun-composted, chipped up versions of these were even more common. Textiles, whole or pieces, were scattered along the sides of the wash: a pair of black Levi’s, a knitted blanket, an inverted sweatshirt with unknown lettering stitched caught my attention:

Checking for scorpions and other crawlies, I carefully flipped it right-side out to reveal:

I was thankful it wasn’t a NY Giants design.

Working my way south towards the east face of Red Top, it was apparent that the jackrabbits were out in force. I encountered over 40 during my 13-mile walk.

I kept up my walk south, free of my pack, which I cached an hour earlier.

The first morteros I found were at an exposed site and these were fairly shallow scoops:

Also found a little pottery nearby:

Then I found a sheltered, promising site, with a few morteros, one quite deep:

But this site had a lot trash as well, no doubt because it is shaded most of the time. But I did find a nice habitation site, just a bit tarnished. I found evidence of OLD human habitation, but was annoyed by the RECENT habitation clues. Ironic.

It got me thinking, how far and deep into the backcountry do I need to get to leave the trash behind? The balloons are always going to follow us, no matter how remote we get, but how far do I need to go to avoid the trash that is carried by human hands?

Late in the afternoon, I came across a very tame WESTERN TANAGER, that allowed me to approach with my dinky camera. I was on my stomach at this point, trying not to scare the bird.

Some cholla skeletons:

I’m counting this as a 5-balloon trip (2 mylar and 3 latex), even though the latex balloons were one bundle. The nylon streamers from the latex balloons even had a thumb-tack with them, implying that they had been anchored, albeit, poorly so. You can imagine the thumb tack, holding precariously, against the force of 3 helium-filled balloons, losing a half a millimeter of anchor every half hour, until it finally pulled loose, and the whole package floated up and away, perhaps riding along with a red-tailed hawk for part of its journey.

I carried my full pack and 4 gallons of water [oops, no it was only 3 I remember], giving me the option of staying Sunday if the mood struck me, but decided against a camp, based on the amount of illegal traffic evidence and trash that I found. No doubt I would have been perfectly safe there at night, it’s just that I was looking for a true, lonely backcountry experience. Cached a gallon of water in the area, just to see if it will survive the summer. Will return this autumn to see (and hopefully drink) the result. I didn’t find any uncharted springs, but those are longshots, especially this time of year. Hey Daren, you mentioned hiking to a spring in Inner Pasture on your last trip, is it the one shown on the topo at 32.904 and 116.342? If so, was there water? I encountered water in Feb. in the canyon farther up toward Red Top. That’s all folks, appreciate the opportunity to share this with the forum. – Jim
edited by ziphius on 5/27/2012
edited by ziphius on 5/27/2012
edited by ziphius on 5/29/2012
edited by surfponto on 11/26/2012


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