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Talk about a trip you took out to Anza Borrego

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Brian
Brian
Posts: 57


10/30/2020
Brian
Brian
Posts: 57
I wanted to do this trip last March but there was a problem with the part of the road that goes over Clark "dry" lake



My first night at Jackass Flat. My car won't do the last 3 miles from the Butler Canyon split, so I use this as a first stop after hiking that part. I had read that Rockhouse Road had become very sandy from non-use during the shutdown. There was even a vehicle fire over the summer during at attempt to extract a stuck vehicle. I found the road to be more sandy than usual, but nothing my Subaru couldn't handle. The final section that I didn't drive had a few more random boulders in the middle of the road compared to what I remember in years past.


"Sand Buggies 8 VWs 1969"


This is the shelf road the VWs would have driven to bypass the dry fall. I like to imagine what it would have been like to drive all the way to Rockhouse Valley. And it happened during my lifetime.


The dry fall


A photo taken from Old Santa Rosa on a previous trip. This gives a good sense of the elevation looking down toward the desert floor.


Moonrise over Villager, taken during my last night camped near my car.



This was my 4th trip to the valley. My goal this time was to reach the spring at Nicholias Canyon so that I could stay an extra night and explore more of the area. Unfortunately I didn't choose a very good route. I started up the drainage that branches left just below the area called Cottonwood spring on the topo. This worked well for about a mile until the drainage because too choked and I climbed up the bank to the left and started going cross country toward the hill spur that Schad mentions. At this point the going was too slow and I had gone through half my water supply, so I had to turn back.

After reviewing Google Earth, for my next attempt I plan to take Alder Canyon to 33 27 59 -116 24 02 and work north from there. I welcome any suggestions about whether that's a good route.

Happy Haloween
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Scooter
Scooter
Posts: 83


11/1/2020
Scooter
Scooter
Posts: 83
Ok here we go, did a 3 day trip into Rockhouse. As we came into Rockhose valley stay to the left and follow Alder canyon to Nickolas Canyon. I would GE the area so you know where to turn North. Very difficult scramble up a dry waterfall. We didn't see an easy reroute. Going up Nickolas be very careful, the Nickolas mine is an open vertical shaft with no fencing !! I 've talked to BLM about it. From the Mine head Northeast across Nickolas Canyon and head for the spring or Cottonwoods [a great place to camp] spent two night here because the spring has plenty of good water. To return to Rockhouse from the Cottonwoods head East and pick up a faint Indian trail which will take you to the upper ruins and the seeps. Look for the rock pile trail shrines !! Go to cal topo base layer 1915 to 1945 to see the old indian trails going over to Martinez ! We didnt see the trail cross the Santa Rosas when we did the ridge from Toro to S22. Thats for anotber tiime.
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Brian
Brian
Posts: 57


11/1/2020
Brian
Brian
Posts: 57
thanks for the info, Scooter. I'm planning on another attempt in late Feb or early March, but now you've got me wanting to go back right away!
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Scooter
Scooter
Posts: 83


11/2/2020
Scooter
Scooter
Posts: 83
Yes this is where we left Alder we were able to scramble up the dry fall. I am sure looking at GE you could find a way to go around the dry waterfall. I would guess it is about 12 to 14'high. Also crossing Nickolas from the mine was no fun! Alot of down trees and no trail but it is doable. Also I would not do this trip alone. Not only is it really remote but major Mountain Lion country. The nice part is you only need to carry for one full day to get to the spring.
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Brian
Brian
Posts: 57


11/2/2020
Brian
Brian
Posts: 57
Rocko1 wrote:
Thanks. I was considering a couple day solo trip but will prob. wait to find someone to go with.


I will be going back, just not sure when. I'm up for discussing it with you if you're interested.
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Buford
Buford
Posts: 333


11/2/2020
Buford
Buford
Posts: 333
Some others on here who have spent more time in Rockhouse might be able to provide good directions for following the ancient trails.

I think Rockhouse is one of the places I have seen the highest concentration of fresh big cat prints.
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dsefcik
dsefcik
Administrator
Posts: 2469


11/3/2020
dsefcik
dsefcik
Administrator
Posts: 2469
Great TR, thanks for sharing. You can drive around the lake now where the quarry used to be so you can bypass any lake water. All of the mentioned routes will work and using the old maps on caltopo will work for sure. Really, just head out towards the base of the 'Rosa mtns and you should run into ducked trails and the route up Alder/Nicolias via the wash will also work. Yes, there is a dry fall to climb but not hard. There are many posts here on RHC so be sure to check them out also!

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rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 560


11/4/2020
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 560
Buford wrote:
Some others on here who have spent more time in Rockhouse might be able to provide good directions for following the ancient trails.

I think Rockhouse is one of the places I have seen the highest concentration of fresh big cat prints.


Have not been up Nicholas canyon to the springs yet. Maybe the next visit. Rock House valley is a excellent base camp for exploring the surrounding area after some good rains.
I am always amazed at the net work of ancient trails networking all over the Santa Rosas. Considering the the Native Americans have been canvasing the entire South / West region for the past 13,000 years+/-. Probably 98% of the well groomed ancient trails in the area have been lost to erosion and lack of use. The good news the game trails follow many of the same routes ( i.e. up and over ridge lines ) they are just more zig zag ,multiple and random. Great for day hikes. Not so much for lugging a heavy pack. The nose / ridge route to the east of the SRIR is pretty clear up to the pass along the spine of the Santa Rosas. The trail from there heading down to Martinez creek / Jack Miller cabin looks like it has been lost to time. I have not done that route yet. You might find small sections of it if you are lucky. Definitely a winter hike best timed after some heavy rains / light snow. Stay on the more open southern exposure slopes. You still might need to carry a folding saw. wink
edited by rockhopper on 11/4/2020
edited by rockhopper on 11/7/2020
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