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Bighorn Sheep Count 2014 Messages in this topic - RSS

dsefcik
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7/7/2014
dsefcik
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The Bighorn Sheep Count for 2014 was successful and no dead sheep like last year. With my back problems I had to go serious with ultra light backpacking. I needed to pack 4 days worth of stuff in my Mountain Smith TLS fanny pack. We had water cached at the count site already so all I needed to carry was 4 liters to get me up to Rattlesnake Spring in Anza Borrego Desert State Park. We left the parking areas as usual around 4:30pm so that we would catch mostly shade in the canyon on the way up. It is about a 3,000' ascent over 5 miles with some stretches of boulder hopping and climbing. We always take the route up with the dry fall which we ascend without a rope but haul the packs up with a light rope we carry along. It usually will take us about 6 hours to get to the spring so we arrive around 11pm. On our way out 3 days later we do the same thing, we leave in the evening to catch the shadows in the canyon and get to the vehicles just about dark at 8pm.

Canon S100 was used for all photos, the zoom on it is amazing and it is ultra light weight and small!!

On my drive out to the desert I saw the Banner fire begin with just a small puff as I drove towards Dudleys Bakery, by the time I got to Ranchita it had turned into a big fire


Here is Gary & Randy at our count site. The spring is way down in the green brush. The sheep come in from all directions to drink, we just have to count, determine gender and type ie: Ram, Ewe, Lamb, Yearling. They can get mixed up pretty quick when there are 30 of them all down there so we also have to determine identifying features like scars, broken horns, etc. If we don't do that we will end up re-counting them again so it can get pretty tricky sometimes


Here are some sheep going down to the spring


Here they are drinking from the water hole


Here is what our count site looks like to the sheep


My entire setup for the trip


We managed to count 70 unique sheep over the 3 days we counted, that is a good number.

Thanks to everyone who volunteered their time to carry water to our count location, we could not do this without your help!

Official Park Results attached to this post.

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ziphius
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7/7/2014
ziphius
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Looks like your site had the high count for all sites. smile Animals look a lot better this year, heh? In your 3rd photo, is the animal farthest to the right a yearling? Is there just one lamb in the middle of the bunch?

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dsefcik
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7/7/2014
dsefcik
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Jim (ziphius) wrote:
Looks like your site had the high count for all sites. smile Animals look a lot better this year, heh? In your 3rd photo, is the animal farthest to the right a yearling? Is there just one lamb in the middle of the bunch?
That is a typical number for RS. I would say probably lamb, older lamb, hard to tell in that photo....I see probably 5 lambs in that group. We did see many very young lambs, no horns at all which is not a good sign, they were born late. A couple of lambs in that photo have no horns and were probably only a few weeks old.

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dsefcik
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7/7/2014
dsefcik
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Jim (ziphius) wrote:
Animals look a lot better this year, heh?
Yeah, the spring seems to be holding it's own, it was quite full the whole time and never seemed to diminish in quantity.


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Buford
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7/7/2014
Buford
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Thanks for the sheep count info. Looks like fun to me.


I have always wanted to participate in the count since I heard about it as a kid. Next year I will try and make it happen.
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dsefcik
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7/7/2014
dsefcik
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Buford wrote:
Thanks for the sheep count info. Looks like fun to me.


I have always wanted to participate in the count since I heard about it as a kid. Next year I will try and make it happen.
Great, we need 'ya!

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ziphius
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7/7/2014
ziphius
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Thanks for the close-up of the spring Daren. I've always been curious to know if it was a seep or a puddle, depending on the conditions. Any idea on the depth? Dimensions? Impressive, considering the lame rain year we have had. Maybe some of last summer's monsoon moisture helped things along.
edited by ziphius on 7/7/2014

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dsefcik
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7/7/2014
dsefcik
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Jim (ziphius) wrote:
Thanks for the close-up of the spring Daren. I've always been curious to know if it was a seep or a puddle, depending on the conditions. Any idea on the depth? Dimensions? Impressive, considering the lame rain year we have had. Maybe some of last summer's monsoon moisture helped things along.
edited by ziphius on 7/7/2014
The surrounding dirt area *was* the bottom which was fed by a trickle on the back wall. That seemed to have dried up last year and was instead bubbling up from the bottom right corner, we dug it out to what you see now and it has thrived for the last year. Approx 25 gallons in it.

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ziphius
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7/7/2014
ziphius
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I love it when folks report waterholes in gallon units! smile Cool.
dsefcik wrote:
Jim (ziphius) wrote:
Thanks for the close-up of the spring Daren. I've always been curious to know if it was a seep or a puddle, depending on the conditions. Any idea on the depth? Dimensions? Impressive, considering the lame rain year we have had. Maybe some of last summer's monsoon moisture helped things along.
edited by ziphius on 7/7/2014
The surrounding dirt area *was* the bottom which was fed by a trickle on the back wall. That seemed to have dried up last year and was instead bubbling up from the bottom right corner, we dug it out to what you see now and it has thrived for the last year. Approx 25 gallons in it.


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dsefcik
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7/7/2014
dsefcik
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Jim (ziphius) wrote:
I love it when folks report waterholes in gallon units! smile Cool.
That's how the biologists folks reported it....what would you use?

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tommy750
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7/7/2014
tommy750
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dsefcik wrote:


My entire setup for the trip


.



Guess liquids really were a little scarce up there smile

Supplies by tomteske, on Flickr
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anutami
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7/7/2014
anutami
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That is great love the pdf attachment. So some folks sat for 3 days and did not record a single sheep sighting? Or was there no one at those locations?
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dsefcik
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7/7/2014
dsefcik
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tommy750 wrote:
Guess liquids really were a little scarce up there smile
Hey! one was Gary's...we also had a 1.75L bottle of Cuervo "ta kill ya" buried up there so we were in good shapeToast

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dsefcik
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7/7/2014
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Nolan (anutami) wrote:
That is great love the pdf attachment. So some folks sat for 3 days and did not record a single sheep sighting? Or was there no one at those locations?
Yep...you got it, 2.5 days of sitting in the heat and not a single bighorn...our site always has sheep but is the hardest to get to and we usually carry water up during the cooler months to cache for the count.

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dsefcik
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7/7/2014
dsefcik
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dsefcik wrote:
Nolan (anutami) wrote:
That is great love the pdf attachment. So some folks sat for 3 days and did not record a single sheep sighting? Or was there no one at those locations?
Yep...you got it, 2.5 days of sitting in the heat and not a single bighorn...our site always has sheep but is the hardest to get to and we usually carry water up during the cooler months to cache for the count.
Actually some sites could see sheep but only after another site recorded them so that counts as zero for them....for example, 2nd grove reports ram #1 at 10am and 1st grove reports the same ram at 12:20pm 1st grove gets counted as zero.

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tommy750
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7/7/2014
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dsefcik wrote:
Jim (ziphius) wrote:
Animals look a lot better this year, heh?
Yeah, the spring seems to be holding it's own, it was quite full the whole time and never seemed to diminish in quantity.


Here's the spring on 3/8/14 when we hauled water up for Daren, Gary and Randy. It was overflowing to the left down the hillside. I stuck a stick in a deeper part and it was about 10 inches deep as I recall. Glad to see it did better this year than last. Tom
SpringL by tomteske, on Flickr
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dsefcik
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7/7/2014
dsefcik
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tommy750 wrote:
Here's the spring on 3/8/14 when we hauled water up for Daren, Gary and Randy. It was overflowing to the left down the hillside. I stuck a stick in a deeper part and it was about 10 inches deep as I recall. Glad to see it did better this year than last. Tom
Thanks Tom, yeah, that is the usual, overflowing down the side. In cooler months the sheep can get all the water they need from the vegetation they eat, in hotter months they need real water.

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ziphius
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7/7/2014
ziphius
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I'd use the same units. Just excited that someone made a point to make a decent estimate. Much more satisfying than a typical observation of "I dunno, it was a puddle." I get a little excited about desert water sources. smile

dsefcik wrote:
Jim (ziphius) wrote:
I love it when folks report waterholes in gallon units! smile Cool.
That's how the biologists folks reported it....what would you use?

edited by ziphius on 7/7/2014

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dsefcik
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7/7/2014
dsefcik
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Oh, OK, I didn't read it that way..Randy, one of our counters is good at figuring that stuff out...on my own I would have been way off...wink


Jim (ziphius) wrote:
I'd use the same units. Just excited that someone made a point to make a decent estimate. Much more satisfying than a typical observation of "I dunno, it was a puddle." I get a little excited about desert water sources. smile

dsefcik wrote:
Jim (ziphius) wrote:
I love it when folks report waterholes in gallon units! smile Cool.
That's how the biologists folks reported it....what would you use?

edited by ziphius on 7/7/2014


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ziphius
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7/8/2014
ziphius
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1 cubic foot ~ 7.5 gallons. A 4-inch wide mortero filled with water, if it was a perfect sphere, should hold about 0.27 liters of water, if I did my math right. Whenever I see multiple morteros filled to the brim after a rain, I smile. smile

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ziphius
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7/9/2014
ziphius
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You guys see any other animal tracks around Rattlesnake Spring? Big kitties?

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dsefcik
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7/9/2014
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Jim (ziphius) wrote:
You guys see any other animal tracks around Rattlesnake Spring? Big kitties?
Yes, cat tracks in Rattlesnake cyn and the ranger later confirmed they were tracking a lion a couple canyons over.

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rockhopper
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7/9/2014
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Daren,
Good show! Man that's tough hiking in those high temps. Glad to see your back is getting better. I hope to hike up that canyon some time. Here's a pic of the spring from the ridge trail heading up to Villager Peak.
[IMG]http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h294/metalmeister/ABDSP/Copyofsantarosamtn016.jpg[/IMG]
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dsefcik
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7/9/2014
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Yep, that's it....thanks for sharing that view of the spring, I can say I have stared back right at that ridge many times.

rockhopper wrote:
Daren,
Good show! Man that's tough hiking in those high temps. Glad to see your back is getting better. I hope to hike up that canyon some time. Here's a pic of the spring from the ridge trail heading up to Villager Peak.


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DesertWRX
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7/12/2014
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2.5 days at Yaqui pass. Zero sheep but some interesting weather with a downpour Friday a little after 5 and light rain for a short time Saturday.
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dsefcik
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7/12/2014
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DesertWRX wrote:
2.5 days at Yaqui pass. Zero sheep but some interesting weather with a downpour Friday a little after 5 and light rain for a short time Saturday.
Yeah, Steve said many sites saw no sheep...sorry to hear about that. We did not get any rain, we watched it though come down near the mountains.

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kjhung
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7/21/2014
kjhung
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Rain in the deserts! Exciting! DesertWRX, can you tell me approximately where the rains were falling in the desert? I've been doing pollinator surveys and these summer rain events often bring out very unusual pollinators so I would love to check these rain sites out smile
Many thanks in advance!
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Florian
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7/23/2014
Florian
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Daren, in rockhopper's photo of the spring from Villager trail where is your count site? It is on one of the middle ridges seen below the spring?

-Florian
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dsefcik
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7/23/2014
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Florian wrote:
Daren, in rockhopper's photo of the spring from Villager trail where is your count site? It is on one of the middle ridges seen below the spring?

-Florian
Just down to the right of the white patch to the left of the green by the spring, see this photo

Also, see my 3D tour here: https://sites.google.com/a/sefcik.com/virtual-tours/2012-bhs-count-site


edited by dsefcik on 7/23/2014

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Florian
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7/23/2014
Florian
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Very cool! Thanks.

-Florian
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rockhopper
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7/25/2014
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I have another picture from the Villager ridge trail I will find and post.
Thank goodness for those Big Horn sheep for pushing thru the back country wilderness and keeping some of the only trails in existence open, even though some are almost straight up!
Here it is

Some trails punched in by are four legged friends coming down/up Auga Alta canyon.

There was water at Agua Alta spring as of May this year. hopefully the moonsoons coming will recharge the spring.
edited by rockhopper on 7/25/2014
edited by rockhopper on 7/25/2014
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dsefcik
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7/27/2014
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That's a pretty cool pic from google earth...trails everywhere!

rockhopper wrote:
I have another picture from the Villager ridge trail I will find and post.
Thank goodness for those Big Horn sheep for pushing thru the back country wilderness and keeping some of the only trails in existence open, even though some are almost straight up!
Here it is
ils punched in by are four legged friends coming down/up Auga Alta canyon.

There was water at Agua Alta spring as of May this year. hopefully the moonsoons coming will recharge the spring.
edited by rockhopper on 7/25/2014
edited by rockhopper on 7/25/2014


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DesertWRX
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8/1/2014
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Kjhung... A little late replying... The rain was right on Yaqui Pass and also a lot south. Fish Creek has had a lot lately. San Felipe wash by Borrego Buttes has had water in it too. The storms are happening a lot lately, but away from Borrego Springs. Rained some in Culp Valley Monday too. Might be more tomorrow out here.
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dsefcik
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8/1/2014
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DesertWRX wrote:
Kjhung... A little late replying... The rain was right on Yaqui Pass and also a lot south. Fish Creek has had a lot lately. San Felipe wash by Borrego Buttes has had water in it too. The storms are happening a lot lately, but away from Borrego Springs. Rained some in Culp Valley Monday too. Might be more tomorrow out here.
Anything worth driving out to see? Big storms or flash floods? Or just some regular old rain?

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anutami
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8/2/2014
anutami
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dsefcik wrote:
DesertWRX wrote:
Kjhung... A little late replying... The rain was right on Yaqui Pass and also a lot south. Fish Creek has had a lot lately. San Felipe wash by Borrego Buttes has had water in it too. The storms are happening a lot lately, but away from Borrego Springs. Rained some in Culp Valley Monday too. Might be more tomorrow out here.
Anything worth driving out to see? Big storms or flash floods? Or just some regular old rain?


I am out in blair valley and just regular ole rain out here...so far



The weather is very nice for some hiking smile
edited by anutami on 8/2/2014
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dsefcik
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8/2/2014
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Nolan (anutami) wrote:
dsefcik wrote:
DesertWRX wrote:
Kjhung... A little late replying... The rain was right on Yaqui Pass and also a lot south. Fish Creek has had a lot lately. San Felipe wash by Borrego Buttes has had water in it too. The storms are happening a lot lately, but away from Borrego Springs. Rained some in Culp Valley Monday too. Might be more tomorrow out here.
Anything worth driving out to see? Big storms or flash floods? Or just some regular old rain?


I am out in blair valley and just regular ole rain out here...so far

The weather is very nice for some hiking smile
edited by anutami on 8/2/2014
Looking forward to a TR....wink

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DesertWRX
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8/2/2014
DesertWRX
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It rained quite a while out here today. Nothing heavy, but enough to get the Ocotillo green I bet.
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dsefcik
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8/2/2014
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DesertWRX wrote:
It rained quite a while out here today. Nothing heavy, but enough to get the Ocotillo green I bet.
I just got a weather bulletin warning about flash floods in the mountains and desert...

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anutami
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8/2/2014
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dsefcik wrote:
DesertWRX wrote:
It rained quite a while out here today. Nothing heavy, but enough to get the Ocotillo green I bet.
I just got a weather bulletin warning about flash floods in the mountains and desert...


I got a weather bulletin as well, but from Ranger Steve who was curtious enough to stop by my campsite. i have to say he is one of the best rangers I have ever met in all the parks we have been to.

Nothing too crazy out here, but wow Daren you were right it is ALWAYS desert season. Thanks smile
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dsefcik
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8/2/2014
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Nolan (anutami) wrote:
dsefcik wrote:
DesertWRX wrote:
It rained quite a while out here today. Nothing heavy, but enough to get the Ocotillo green I bet.
I just got a weather bulletin warning about flash floods in the mountains and desert...


I got a weather bulletin as well, but from Ranger Steve who was curtious enough to stop by my campsite. i have to say he is one of the best rangers I have ever met in all the parks we have been to.

Nothing too crazy out here, but wow Daren you were right it is ALWAYS desert season. Thanks smile
You won't find a better ranger than Steve, just don't drive off road....Thumbs Down
edited by dsefcik on 8/2/2014

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DesertWRX
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8/4/2014
DesertWRX
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Boy did Borrego and Ocotillo Wells get hit hard yesterday!!! A weather spotter had 2.8" of rain afternoon. Lots of flooding. 78 & S22 were closed. The county road crews are very busy this morning. Listening to them on the scanner.
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dsefcik
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8/4/2014
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DesertWRX wrote:
Boy did Borrego and Ocotillo Wells get hit hard yesterday!!! A weather spotter had 2.8" of rain afternoon. Lots of flooding. 78 & S22 were closed. The county road crews are very busy this morning. Listening to them on the scanner.
Yeah, someone I know who lives out there sent me some pics, he had 2.5" in his yard...lots of flash floods on the highways.

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