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Talk about a trip you took out to Anza Borrego

Indian/Cougar/Sheep Canyon Day Hikes Messages in this topic - RSS

dsefcik
dsefcik
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5/31/2013
dsefcik
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For the Memorial Day weekend Gary and I went exploring some of the canyons in Collins Valley, specifically Indian, Cougar and Sheep Canyons. Because we were uncertain of reliable water sources in the area we decided to car camp and do day hikes instead of backpacking.

On the drive out I was able to locate a couple of the Sky Art sculptures I somehow missed when visiting the Farmers sculptures in the past...they are right in the middle of the field between the Farmers and other sculptures to the west

The Scorpion


The Grasshopper


Driving past the orchards and entering Coyote Canyon we passed thru the water crossings and got to the bypass road. I thought this was the beginning of the rough road


But not really...here is the real bypass..AKA Boulder Alley. My stock 4WD Dodge Diesel Crew Cab Truck made it up and down without too much difficulty, just used 4WD Low and let it crawl thru it all. I will say that at about 6pm in May the sun was just right to blind us the whole way up, it was very hard to see where wheel placement should be.


We were pretty low impact car campers this trip, we slept in our trucks and did not make camp fires so all we needed was a place to park our vehicles for the weekend. In the morning we set out to do a loop hike up the South Fork of Sheep Canyon and then cross over the saddle to Sheep Canyon proper and wind our way back down to the trucks near the campground. While this was probably less than 7 miles total it took us more than 10 hours to complete. The canyons are rugged and vegetation choked since fires have burned thru them and everything is growing back.

This is a nice waterfall in the South Fork of Sheep Canyon. It was semi dry like most of the falls we saw but that is expected this time of year and during the spring months you would probably see lots of flowing water.


When you are down at the Sheep Canyon campground you can see these palms way up the South Fork


Sheep Canyon lived up to it's name, we saw several older Rams getting water and relaxing in the sun. I am still amazed at how well camouflaged they are. These guys were across the canyon and my new (to me) 500mm lens turned out to be just perfect












I remembered movie mode on the camera, here is of one of the BHS doing a back scratch and munching some food




Up at the saddle looking back down the South Fork of Sheep Canyon. You can see Dawns, Rabbit and Villager Peaks from here as well as Lower Willows


Gary up at the saddle


Baja Collared Lizard


Heading down the saddle between the South Fork and main Sheep Canyons


The main Sheep Canyon is just as rough and vegetation choked as the South Fork


Down in the bottom of Sheep Canyon following the wash


The Lindsay book has a photo of this waterfall with lots of water. It was semi dry for us but I can imagine it being very nice during wet months


Still snake season...hi baby...


Back at the trucks we get a nice view of the Santa Rosa Mountains at sunset. From Sheep Canyon Campground you can see Dawns and Rabbit Peak, maybe not much of a real view but it holds a special place in my thoughts


The next day we headed up Indian Canyon with a first stop at Cougar Canyon. Cougar is just as rough and full of overgrowth as Sheep Canyon. There was little water down in the lower areas but up near the large fall and psychedelic eye we found pools of water.

There are lots of the beetles crawling the boulders


Here is Gary in the upper reaches of the canyon in the dense vegetation


The "psychedelic eye"


Gary remembers it being much more colorful years ago so I did a DStretch on it but it still is not the same


The large waterfall Schad describes in his book is now covered with so much vegetation you can hardly see the falls. We struggled with getting back in there to even see it. Floods have broken down trees over the years and have grown a canopy covering the area. This was the best shot I could get of the waterfall


After a long siesta under the cottonwoods and sycamores we left Cougar Cyn and headed up towards Deering Canyon. This is the old tin mine tunnel shaft on the topo maps. It is now just a packrat collection hole


Some Mule Deer near Deering Canyon, they were getting some water before we disturbed them


The was a group of butterflies playing in the flowers off in the distance and my 500mm lens was good enough to get these photos




Cougar tracks were present all the way up to Bennis Bowl and The Valley of the Thousand Springs. This is just one in the sandy wash we followed


Valley of the Thousand Springs


Long distance photo of a Granite Spiny Lizard with the 500mm lens


Heading south out of Indian Canyon on the thin bench that provides an easy trail thru the canyon


Here is a panorama view of the same bench looking south'ish into Indian Canyon on the left and Valley of the Thousand Springs/Bennis Bowl canyon on the right


After another long siesta under some shady palms we headed back to the trucks with another very long day behind us. The next morning we drove out and explored Lower Willows and the palms. Nothing to spectacular, but interesting. After negotiating the bypass road downhill we stopped and I looked over and spotted what looked like graffiti on a boulder


DStretched version


One last stop on the trip was at Culp Valley. We hiked over some ridge lines to get a good look at Hellhole Canyon. There is supposed to be a great waterfall up in there....another trip


I was not able to get any good star photos but managed a semi sober moon photo at early am hours....


Also found a petroglyph panel along the way


Total Mylar Balloons this Trip - 9 (not all shown)




http://www.sefcik.com/2013/05/indiancougarsheep-canyons-abdsp.html

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surfponto
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5/31/2013
surfponto
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Great trip report Daren,
Wildlife bonanza!!
Was your moon shot with the canon S100?

Bob

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ziphius
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5/31/2013
ziphius
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Those are some healthy-looking rams Daren. That's an area that I've been plotting to backpack into from the west, near Comb's Camp. I still need to figure out additional locations of reliable water for a winter trip out there. Nice cougar track, that's on my bucket list to eventually see one in the flesh. I bet if you just sat around on a moonlit night, with your *back to a boulder*, you might see a cougar walk by in that wash.

The big circular graffiti / pictograph, what's your opinion on that one? By the way, the upper reaches of Hellhole Canyon are quite vegetation choked too, I'll be returning there from Culp Valley when the weather cools in autumn.

smile - Jim

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dsefcik
dsefcik
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5/31/2013
dsefcik
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surfponto wrote:
Was your moon shot with the canon S100?
Bob
The moon shot was with my new (to me) Minolta 500mm f8 Reflex Lens
The S100 seems to have difficulty when exposures vary in the scene.

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dsefcik
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5/31/2013
dsefcik
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Jim (ziphius) wrote:
Those are some healthy-looking rams Daren. That's an area that I've been plotting to backpack into from the west, near Comb's Camp. I still need to figure out additional locations of reliable water for a winter trip out there. Nice cougar track, that's on my bucket list to eventually see one in the flesh. I bet if you just sat around on a moonlit night, with your *back to a boulder*, you might see a cougar walk by in that wash.

The big circular graffiti / pictograph, what's your opinion on that one? By the way, the upper reaches of Hellhole Canyon are quite vegetation choked too, I'll be returning there from Culp Valley when the weather cools in autumn.

smile - Jim
We originally planned to do a loop backpack trip from Lost Valley down to Alder and then back up Sheep but we were advised to stay out of the area for reasons in Bill's post. It is true I have come across several growing sites in the back country but I was not the extreme hiker mentioned in the article. Those cougar tracks went all the way up the wash for a good half mile or more and there was a second set only smaller adjacent. Best set of tracks I have come across. I think the circle thing was graffiti, just very faded and hard to see. I saw several other circle/cross paintings on rocks in Sheep canyon as well. Seems someone likes to paint on boulders in the area.

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ziphius
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5/31/2013
ziphius
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dsefcik wrote:
We originally planned to do a loop backpack trip from Lost Valley down to Alder and then back up Sheep but we were advised to stay out of the area for reasons in Bill's post.


Man, that is *exactly* one of the routes I was planning to do, it's so peaceful in that Lost Valley / Chihuahua Valley area. Some nice pockets of water too.

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dsefcik
dsefcik
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5/31/2013
dsefcik
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Jim (ziphius) wrote:
dsefcik wrote:
We originally planned to do a loop backpack trip from Lost Valley down to Alder and then back up Sheep but we were advised to stay out of the area for reasons in Bill's post.


Man, that is *exactly* one of the routes I was planning to do, it's so peaceful in that Lost Valley / Chihuahua Valley area. Some nice pockets of water too.
There was water everywhere we went and I know of some water in Lost Valley...wet months should pose no problem with water. We will definitely try the loop trip at a later date. We enjoyed several peaceful siestas under the cottonwoods and sycamores, yes it is very peaceful out there....

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anutami
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5/31/2013
anutami
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Nice trip! Gotta love the shade of a cottonwood. That ram video is amazing. The clarity is great! Felt like I was watching national geographic. All you have to do now is find someone with a deep voice to add some narrationsmile wish I could have followed you up boulder alley. If you do that trip again let me know a couple weeks in advance And I will follow you up with my rig smile so out of all the canyons you visited what is your favorite?
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dsefcik
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6/1/2013
dsefcik
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Nolan (anutami) wrote:
Nice trip! Gotta love the shade of a cottonwood. That ram video is amazing. The clarity is great! Felt like I was watching national geographic. All you have to do now is find someone with a deep voice to add some narrationsmile wish I could have followed you up boulder alley. If you do that trip again let me know a couple weeks in advance And I will follow you up with my rig smile so out of all the canyons you visited what is your favorite?
Thanks Nolan..I wish I could afford a better lens but I am happy with the 500mm, it was able to get close up even from across the canyon. While all the canyons were interesting it seemed more remote and peaceful up in canyons past Cougar, Valley of the Thousand Springs was pretty cool. Once the weather cools down a bit we will probably do an Indian/Palm Canyon trip.

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tommy750
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6/3/2013
tommy750
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Just when you thought the Daren Sefcik backpack couldn't possibly get heavier, in goes a 500mm lens! Thanks for bringing it because your pics are awesome. You shot the video with than lens as well? Really neat seeing those sheep pics. Great TR. Tom
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dsefcik
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6/3/2013
dsefcik
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tommy750 wrote:
Just when you thought the Daren Sefcik backpack couldn't possibly get heavier, in goes a 500mm lens! Thanks for bringing it because your pics are awesome. You shot the video with than lens as well? Really neat seeing those sheep pics. Great TR. Tom
Yeah..I think the DSLR is back in my pack, not sure where the S100 will reside. I think between the new 500mm lens, felt lined leather carry case, Manfrotto tripod, 10mm ultra wide angle lens, spare battery, DSLR AND the S100 I must have been carrying 20lbs of camera gear. Throw in 7 liters of water per day, food, gear, etc...ouch...

Yes, I did the video with the 500mm lens mounted on the mini Manfrotto tripod. Sound was off since it seems like wind is always a problem.

Thanks!!

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AdventureGraham
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6/6/2013
AdventureGraham
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Looks like you found the bugs and made it up Boulder Alley okay. Great trip. I am always amazed at the amount of ground you cover on foot. I'm looking forward to getting out there again in October.
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dsefcik
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6/6/2013
dsefcik
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BorregoWrangler wrote:
Looks like you found the bugs and made it up Boulder Alley okay. Great trip. I am always amazed at the amount of ground you cover on foot. I'm looking forward to getting out there again in October.
Thanks to you and Nolan and DeseretWrx for giving me the courage to drive up the bypass...worked out fine and I am just glad I did not run into oncoming traffic either way, that would have sucked!!

Both days we loaded up our packs with 7 liters of water and food (and my 20lbs of camera crap) and started out around 7:30am and got back to the trucks around 6:30-7pm...long days.

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AdventureGraham
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6/7/2013
AdventureGraham
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dsefcik wrote:
Thanks to you and Nolan and DeseretWrx for giving me the courage to drive up the bypass...worked out fine and I am just glad I did not run into oncoming traffic either way, that would have sucked!!

Both days we loaded up our packs with 7 liters of water and food (and my 20lbs of camera crap) and started out around 7:30am and got back to the trucks around 6:30-7pm...long days.


Just remember vehicles going uphill have the right-of-way. If you think that was rough you should have seen the trail going down into the upper part of Coyote Canyon from the town of Anza before it was graded. It almost swallowed my Jeep the first time I went down it. Now its not much more than a fire road.
edited by BorregoWrangler on 6/7/2013
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Bill Haneline
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6/10/2013
Bill Haneline
Bill Haneline
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The Bypass Road use to be the toughest road in Anza-Borrego. Lots of boulder climbing and you needed a spotter. Now days it is a steep bumpy road. But, people who could not see the beauty of our park up there have a chance now.
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anutami
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6/11/2013
anutami
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Bill Haneline wrote:
The Bypass Road use to be the toughest road in Anza-Borrego. Lots of boulder climbing and you needed a spotter. Now days it is a steep bumpy road. But, people who could not see the beauty of our park up there have a chance now.


Bill, do you have any old photos you can share of what the road used to look like?
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Bill Haneline
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6/13/2013
Bill Haneline
Bill Haneline
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Nolan (anutami)
Bill, do you have any old photos you can share of what the road used to look like?[/quote
wrote:

I'll have to search for those. I also took a video several years back from inside a Hummer but that stayed with the owner of the camera! A ranger started adding rocks to the road several years ago but the real change was 2 years ago when the road was "improved" for fire fighting vehicles during the big fires origination out of the reservation in Warner Springs. I'll check with a ranger to see how all those round rocks were brought and added to the Bypass Road.
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DesertWRX
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6/18/2013
DesertWRX
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The park maintenance dept. brought in a rock crusher. They took out the boulders you had to climb over and used them to fill in the spots. Found that out today from a ranger.
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