Every year, on or around New Year’s Day, I try to hike the Palm Canyon outside Borrego Springs. It’s an easy 1.5 mile hike (each way) from the parking lot to the famous palm oasis. There is a small section of a palm stand which I have photographed every time since about 2010. I missed going in 2018. Here is my post from 2017, which gives some history.
This year, my son Devin and I were on the trail at 10:00am. On the way up, we checked on the little spot I have been keeping a record of.
In 2017, this was the view of my little stand:
In 2019, it has not changed much, unlike in previous years:
While at the grove, we ate our snacks and got warmed up a bit in the sun. Here we are:
Here is Devin at the grove.
And here I am.
After the palm oasis, the canyon goes on and on, but there is no trail. Some years ago we went further up, but it is very rough, there is bouldering involved and some scrambling through brush and bushes, some wading through the creek, depending on the water level. It’s challenging. This year we didn’t go any further. We also didn’t bring the gear and provisions to do that.
On the way across the mountains, however, we encountered the high desert in winter wonderland mode.
The picture above is a shot out of the car window along the way.
Here you can see me examining snow and ice on the cholla cactus.
The desert truly looks exotic under ice and snow. The shadows are stark with the sun low in the winter sky, and they eye is usually blinded by the sky or the reflections on the ice or rock.
One last look down into the valley onto Borrego Springs, where the trailhead to the palm grove is located and where we were just an hour before taking this picture. I have included it in high resolution, so you can click on it and zoom in for a better view. Yes, that’s all of Borrego Springs. The palm canyon is behind the brown mountain ridge coming in from the left side going across most of the photograph. You can also see the Salton Sea as a tiny blue strip in the upper right corner of the image.
And that was my New Year’s Day hike 2019. The tradition continues.
Palm Grove 2019
3 thoughts on “New Year’s Day a Winter Wonderland in the Desert”
I’ve “done” Palm Canyon with my sister who lives in Palm Springs. A magical canyon, to be sure. Happier NEW year and an end to You Know Who.
Thanks, Barbara. Great to know you’ve been there. It’s 90 minutes from my house. I love that canyon.
Did that hike many times over the years as well. Camped there a lot in Boy Scouts and when I first started camping with my daughter, that was our first camping trip of the year. She loved riding her bike from the campground to the visitor center, stopping at all of the kiosks along the way. Now we get out to Blair Valley a couple of times a year. The Anza Borrego State Park is a magical place for our family and we are so lucky to live so close to enjoy it. Glad you have made it a family adventure as well!