Borrego Springs, CA

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Painted Desert Trail

Fairly early this morning, six of us decided to take the 1.3 mile hike on the Painted Desert Trail on the refuge.  It’s really part of the orientation for us newbies to this refuge, but it’s also the trail all the school groups will be taken on when they come to visit.


                                   Fellow volunteer and friend Linda, brown shirt Lupe, intern Lydia, and myself.

Lydia will be leading the school kids, and a volunteer is needed to bring up the rear.  This was kind of a practice run.  New volunteer Norm took the picture, and Linda’s husband Jay had gone back to the truck to find some missing notes.


Jay caught up to us, and we were off.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to do what with my back problems.  Luckily there were six stops along the way where Lydia practiced what she was going to say to the kids.


It’s an interesting hike through the desert.  Lots of ups and downs.  I did fairly well until we came to a flight of rustic ‘stairs’ leading up.  One step was so high I wasn’t sure I could do it.  I’m so happy Jay was behind me, and gave me a boost up. 


Stopping places along the way included this hoodoo.  Not as dramatic as Bryce Canyon, but interesting none the less.


There’s lots of evidence of feral burros along the way left over from times past.  They’re not native species, but are tolerated even though they compete for sparse resources that are needed by native bighorn sheep.  We didn’t see either species along the way.


It seems there are lots of burro trails going off of the main trail making it a little difficult at times to know the true trail.  Apparently last year, due to poor signage, a woman got lost in the desert on this trail and had to be rescued.  A few more outlining rocks and arrows have been placed along the trail so that doesn’t happen again.  I can just imagine how that woman must have felt lost and wandering around in this rather desolate terrain.


It took us an hour and a half to do the 1.3 miles, and I’m sure some of that time was due to my slow progress.  I did make it the whole way though, and I felt good about that.  It’s a far cry from what I used to be able to do, but it’s progress.  I don’t think I’ll be doing this trail with a bunch of exuberant fifth graders, but I’ll man an overlook station with a scope and binoculars to interpret the Colorado River Basin instead.

IMG_0827 IMG_0826

On the home front, I checked with the refuge manager, and no seed type bird feeders are allowed.  Hummingbirds feeders are allowed though, so the Hard Rock Bird Café will only be for those darting little darlings.  Putting up poles to hold the feeders has been a challenge, however.  The ground is like cement.  I zip tied one pole to the electrical post, and surrounded the other pole with cement blocks to hold it in place.  Now I have a feeder on each side of the rig.  When I sit at my table in the rig, I can watch the red feeder out the window.  When I sit outside with Emma, I watch the orange feeder.  There’s plenty of action on both sides, so I don’t lack for entertainment.


                                                                              THE END!

Those mountains in the distance are the Chocolate Mountains in California.  Chocolate?  How tasty!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy


  1. Quite a sunset! Looks like a great place to be once it cools off a bit.

  2. It looks very, very dry. And what a glorious sunset!

  3. Gorgeous photos. What a beautiful place you are in. So glad you were able to do the hike. Looks like you are in for some fabulous sunsets.

  4. Wow, you look different, dressed in shorts and Tee ... no more HLS or long sleeves for you for a while! Nice to hear you could hike the trail ... maybe this will help your back. FYI, the hikes we've been on in the high desert these past two wks have been marked by rock cairns, and that worked very well.

    Hope you have an excellent winter at Imperial!

  5. Oh those Chocolate Mountains! I love the Painted Desert hike...beautiful photos Judy! I look forward to doing it again.

  6. It's beautiful, but oh so desolate!

  7. In Goliad TX we were not suppose to hang seed feeders because that attracted snakes. However, the park had a bird watching shelter where you could watch THEIR seed feeders attract birds..I'm not quite sure in the logic of that.

  8. I'm glad to hear that the hummers are so plentiful. The hiking trail that you were on sounds interesting...I had no idea that hoo-doos existed in that part of the world!
    Take care of your back!

  9. Enjoy your bug free paradise. Good job completing that hike, proves you are younger than you thought! :c)

  10. We've been in areas also where it is almost impossible to get through the rock and dirt to place a feeder. But we keep trying.

    I envy you being out of the road - I so want to take off again. Perhaps in another month.

  11. What a beautiful hike. I am sure it won't be your last.

    Just at the beginning of beautiful sunrise and sunsets.

  12. Glad to hear you're getting settled in!! You are in such a beautiful area, enjoy.

  13. That looked like a great hike from your photos! I'd be heading to those Chocolate Mtn.s to do a little 'mining'.

  14. so glad you were able to do a hike. . .

    can you tell me where you found the orange, flat style feeder?

  15. Beautiful sunset picture! I hope you get to see some Bighorn Sheep while you're there.

  16. Nice Post.Thanks for Sharing this in your Blog