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Talk about a trip you took out to Anza Borrego

Sunset Mountain / Pinyon Wash / Harper Flat Messages in this topic - RSS

ziphius
ziphius
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12/1/2013
ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 890
Alex and I backpacked into the Sunset Mountain area for a one-nighter and also introduced my buddy Ramsey to camping. Ramsey has hiked everywhere, but had never tent-camped before. (Alex here: Jim suggested a collaborative post, which I suspect is his way of coaxing me to finally join the forum. I’ve certainly been enjoying your trips reports from the sidelines!)

Due to post-flood conditions, we had to leave the Rubiconda at the highway and hike in from there. That soon worked to our advantage. We followed the hillside instead of the road, and, not too far into Pinyon Wash, we came across a bunch of tracks, like a railroad crossing in the sand. We were looking down at the tracks when I happened to glance uphill to the south and saw a bunch of sheep, including one large ram. Thirteen sheep, just staring at us. We stared back and didn’t grab our cameras until we had soaked in the great views and by that time, the sheep had become concerned about our loitering and we got some photos of sheep butts.


After setting up our camp in a tributary canyon to Pinyon Wash, we hiked to a spot Alex had found part way up Sunset Mountain the week before. She wanted to bring me back to check out what she had found:


Alex did a broader sweep of the area to find legs, which were missing from the main carcass, while I continued to photograph. She found a leg bone about 20 yards away…


Ramsey had stayed behind in camp during this time, doing a good job of guarding everybody’s stuff (he wasn't allowed to come along on the ram carcass visit).


Our trip coincided with the full moon, rising just after sunset in a notch to our east and setting just before sunrise down the drainage from our camp. We had a great view of the moon setting when we woke up:
It looked even better in D-Stretch:

After breakfast, we decided to check out another spot Alex had found the week before, a wildlife guzzler, complete with catchment basin and wildlife camera:



We were careful to creep up there slowly, not wanting to spook any sheep that might be around....none sighted. We had a nice view up-drainage from our camp from the guzzler, where we had walked under the full moon the night before. We walked further in that direction later in the morning for a loop hike out to Harper Flat and back down Pinyon Wash.


We found some really cool pottery fragments along the loop hike.



Alex almost stepped on a horned lizard – our other main wildlife sighting besides the usual jackrabbits. See it?


On the hike back to the car, the afternoon sun brought out in sharp relief the recently etched flood channels and post-rain flowers:


My favorite moment of the trip, besides the sheep (both alive and dead), was at the very end. It was a moment that Alex had to tell me about though, because I didn’t fully experience it. We arrived at the car at the end of the day Sunday, parked just off 78. A steady stream of off-roaders was zipping by on their way home, big trucks with dirt bike trailers. I was standing at the car, next to the packs, while Alex was off looking for enough privacy to wee. A big truck with ORVs came zipping by and somebody yelled something at us from the cab. I could tell it wasn’t meant as a compliment, but didn’t catch the words. Alex walked up, annoyed but laughing: she had heard them yell TREEEEEHUUUGGGGERS! I couldn’t stop laughing. They definitely figured us out!
edited by ziphius on 12/1/2013

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surfponto
surfponto
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12/2/2013
surfponto
surfponto
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Looks like an awesome trip
Great you got to see the Bighorns out there. The one male in the lead has some crazy horns.

The Horned Lizard is great..
I think I have only seen two of those in all our trips out.


edited by surfponto on 12/2/2013

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ziphius
ziphius
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12/2/2013
ziphius
ziphius
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Bob,

Smallest horned lizard I'd ever seen, Alex had keen eyes to spot that thing, as we were in full stride on the way back to camp. I like the color variation in the two that you posted here. Yeah, the horns on that ram were amazing. I was fortunate enough to see some ram horns up close at that carcass too and lift them up to feel their weight. Just the outer sheaths that had come away from the skull were amazingly heavy. - Jim

surfponto wrote:
Looks like an awesome trip
Great you got to see the Bighorns out there. The one male in the lead has some crazy horns.

The Horned Lizard is great..
I think I have only seen two of those in all our trips out.


edited by surfponto on 12/2/2013


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hikerdmb
hikerdmb
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12/3/2013
hikerdmb
hikerdmb
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Looks like a good first trip for your buddy. Now he is going to think you find that great stuff and see a herd every time. Nice job Alex finding the remains and congrats on getting the tree hugger label.
David
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dsefcik
dsefcik
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12/3/2013
dsefcik
dsefcik
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That lizard is almost as cute as Ramsey....smile

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anutami
anutami
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12/3/2013
anutami
anutami
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Awesome trip! did you complete the entire loop around Harper flat? I have yet to be called a tree hugger, but look forward to the day smile
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ziphius
ziphius
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12/4/2013
ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 890
Nolan (anutami) wrote:
Awesome trip! did you complete the entire loop around Harper flat? I have yet to be called a tree hugger, but look forward to the day smile


We barely touched the surface of Harper Flat, just doing a short loop at the northern end of the flat and exiting back into Pinyon Wash. Definitely a place I want to poke around some more!


edited by ziphius on 12/4/2013

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dsefcik
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12/6/2013
dsefcik
dsefcik
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Yeah, Harper Flat is kinda big..you could easily spend a few days poking around out there.
Here is a stitched 5 photo panorama looking south/east'ish, Whale Peak on the right...yes, it was film, old expired film.

Click the photo for the full size.



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hikerdmb
hikerdmb
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12/6/2013
hikerdmb
hikerdmb
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I agree with Daren. Harper Flat is quite large. I have backpacked into there 6 or 7 times over the years and come into it from 3 different spots and still haven't seen all of it. I remember hearing there were sleeping circles out there somewhere but I have never been able to find them. One of the largest pottey pieces I have seen in ABDSP I spotted in the middle of the flat. It is usually a quiet area although on a couple occasions there was a large group of day hikers near Pinyon Wash.
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