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3 Day Backpack through Vallecito, Canebrake and IP Messages in this topic - RSS

ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 891


12/19/2015
ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 891
Managed to get out before the holidays for a 3-day counterclockwise loop beginning at Agua Caliente, through Vallecito, over the pass into Canebrake, into Inner Pasture and finally through Moonlight Canyon back to Agua Caliente. I ate well and used up most of the dehydrated meals that I'd prepared about 6 months ago. smile

Someone decorated Vallecito Valley for the holidays.

There was evidence of recent rain in Vallecito. There were a few ‘birdbath’ water pockets, including this one with about a liter, reflecting the Sawtooth Mountains. Also a few morteros full of water, adjacent to others that were completely empty.

I know for sure you can’t easily drink solid water. Even the nearby spring / trough had a ½ inch layer of ice.

‘Developed campground’.

Crazy obsidian piece returned to its original location:



Kitchen pantry

Red Top, been there, done that, not today.

I was surprised to see ‘stealth slippers’ on the pass between Canebrake and Vallecito. Having hucked 9 liters of water and gear over that pass, I can say it’s not a cakewalk. There was additional evidence of migrant traffic in Vallecito. Dunno if the usual exit route (Pepperwood - Canebrake - Mile 41 canyon) is getting more Border Patrol attention and driving folks towards Vallecito instead.

How many times have I done this? Squatted down onto my heels only to get a cholla in the ass. If a cholla is stuck to your boot heel and you don’t squat down, does it exist?

There are a pair of ravens in Inner Pasture that I see every visit.

They are likely the same ravens each time, as they are territorial and live for up to 20 years. If you put down your pack anywhere, they are immediately overhead. I’m guessing they’re looking for goodies and I consider them more of a ‘threat to my stuff’ than any other animal out there. If you point a camera at them, they veer away. I’ve had to ‘play dead’ to get them to fly directly over me. For a good read on how smart they are, check out Ravens in Winter. Next time I'm out there, I'm going to leave a snack for the ravens and set up my camera on video mode to capture the action.

I saw deer on 2 occasions, a single animal at the 4000’ saddle between Vallecito and Canebrake and a pair bounding away near the floor of Canebrake. Other wildlife sightings included a peregrine falcon chasing some poor unseen bird in Inner Pasture. At night, a great horned owl, and a single yelping coyote.

2 product reviews. New Keen ‘Voyageur’ (not how I would spell it) boots are awesome. They feel like slippers and handled 35-40 lbs of pack weight over boulder-pocked terrain very well. They are also a little wider in the forefoot than most boots, which means that you have more surface area traction on rocks and they feel more like snowshoes over deep sand. They don’t provide much defense against cholla, but a pair of gaiters and more careful steps would help.

With night temperatures cold enough to freeze my water bottle and no tent, the Western Mountaineering Ultralight 20 degree bag (1.8 lbs) did a good job. It’s not as warm as my heavier 15-degree Marmot bag (3.8 lbs), but I was never ‘cold’. A few cool spots here and there where my body was compressing the down, but for its weight, it’s pretty darn warm. It would have been a different experience with any degree of wind, then I would have wanted a tent or boulder to hide behind. The forecast was for low wind, but I clearly gambled there.

On the way home, I stopped at Culp Valley for one last stroll. Found some pottery pieces and these insect egg cases attached to perfect ‘habitat’. Not sure what they are.

edited by ziphius on 12/20/2015

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