Borrego Springs, CA

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A wonderful day at Imperial (part 1)

I’ve been excited in anticipation of today for about two weeks.  Vance, the refuge wildlife specialist, would be taking half of us volunteers out for a day on the Colorado River.  There are ten RV volunteers, and since the boat can only take five at a time we were divided into two groups.  The first group was supposed to go last Monday, but it was cancelled due to rain.  That meant group 2 would actually be number one for going on this adventure.  And an adventure it was!


We headed out about 9:30 this morning, and soon left the Meer’s Point picnic area/boat ramp behind us.  I lucked out with a comfortably padded front seat in the jet boat.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, and had no idea what Vance had in mind for us today.


I was sure glad I was bundled up in several layers along with my life vest.  The river and speed of the boat made it quite chilly as we blasted up the Colorado.  I recognized the painted desert of the refuge from a new perspective.


Before too long Vance told volunteer Norm, who was driving the boat, to head to shore.  It looked pretty impenetrable to me, but Vance insisted Norm just pull in by the palm tree.


This was my view as we crashed into the phragmites.  Then Vance said we should just hop out and climb up the hill.  Really??  Did he forget this is the geriatric cruise?  Confused smile  After securing the anchor on land, he held back some of the phragmites, and we did our best clambering out of the boat.  It wasn’t graceful by any means…


It was kind of steep, and the footing was a challenge with the loose rocks, but we all made it.  (That’s Gail and Greg)


Vance had sprung ahead to show us the way to what he wanted us to see.  I was wishing I had brought my hiking stick, but it was all worth it.

79 Imperial NWR 2014-1515

Petroglyphs etched into the desert varnish on the side of the rocks on refuge property.  Cool beans!  To save this site for future generations from vandalism, the boat docking site has not been cleared out and made obvious.  I’m sure long time local residents know about this location, but there wasn’t too much graffiti desecrating the site.  Don’t know why people think they need to do that.  I was thrilled to walk this ancient area.


       Our next stop wasn’t quite as hidden, but it was still an interesting entrance to an historic area.


This tunnel through the vegetation had been trimmed so boats could get through.  I know several readers have recently taken this same tunnel.


                                Once you pop out the other side, it’s an easy float to the Lake Cabin.

79 Imperial NWR 2014-1516

The real Watchman’s Cabin is a ways over one of the ridges, and was used during the 1800’s.  It was used during the mining times.  (I think, if I remember correctly)  That’s Norm and me enjoying the comfortable chairs outside the cabin in the top left.  One of the volunteers quipped that we looked like Ma and Pa Kettle.  Ha!  Norm is a fellow solo volunteer, and we exchange disparaging remarks whenever our paths cross on the refuge.  He’s a retired Navy guy, and I leave it to your imagination what his banter is like.  (think rough dock worker with most words being four letters in length)  Surprised smile  I do have to say, though, that it was Norm that helped me down all of the steep embankments on our journey today.  He went first with me hanging onto his shoulders so I wouldn’t slide down and break a hip!

Well, these two visits only got us half way through the day and I’ve already passed my word limit for a post, so I’ll do a part two to the day tomorrow.  I leave you tonight with my best view of my friend Norm in the phragmites…


                                                                             THE END!!

Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later,  Judy


  1. Cool! Great to get a different view of the refuge.

    Every time I see petroglyphs I wonder if they aren't just graffiti in the first place. "Hey you kids...quit drawing on those rocks!"


  2. wow. . .what a lucky day for you. . .and how great that the preserve is preserving the pictographs. . .LOL! I enjoyed your day. . .

  3. That is interesting. You were on the Colorado River today and Yuma and I drove up to the Picacho State Park today and did a little splashing in the Colorado River. Beautiful area.

    It was great that you were able to take a boat tour of the mighty Colorado River.

  4. Fun! Isn't the river beautiful? Love the cabin.

  5. Thanks for my word of the day, phragmites. They were fun to go through on the boat. Looks like you had as much fun on the river as we did!

  6. I am so glad that you made some happy memories during your last days at that refuge! Good to put something on the positive side of the scale. I look forward to part 2. "Phragmites" is a new word for me, too. Now if I could only retain it for a day or two!

  7. Any day out on a boat is a good day. Looks like you had a fun trip and I can't wait for the rest.

  8. That looks like an outing I myself would have enjoyed. Always great to see new things.

  9. Looks like a fun outing.... it's really great when refuges show their volunteers the area... makes a person better informed when they work the VC. Unfortunately, phragmites isn't a new word for me :-(

  10. What an awesome day Judy! So glad you had Norm around for help...

  11. Jealous! great trip and post.you

  12. I'm picturing all the "geriatric" volunteers getting up and down the steep sites! A walking stick would really have been a help! I like that cabin and the rockers!

  13. Cool Beans!!! What a trip. So glad you got to do this. Looks like so much fun! Nice that there has been something like this for you to look forward to.

  14. Scrambling like that may be hard on the knees and hips, but it sure is great for your heart! And you can't call yourself a "geriatric". You are more active and get around more than almost anyone I can think of.

  15. About time they let you out of that VC prison to enjoy yourself! What a fabulous trip, looking forward to part 2 to see if you survived. :c)

  16. Fantastic day. Nice to know you are appreciated.

  17. Didja see any spiders as you pawed thru the vegetation?

  18. Nice Post. Thank you for sharing this in Your blog