I just read in the San Diego Union of January 26, 2020, that some juvenile pyromaniac set the palm grove in the Palm Canyon in Anza Borrego Desert on fire last week. That spot was one of my favorite day hike destinations in Southern California, and I have been there dozens of times over the years and have taken many a visitor there. Since the offender was a juvenile, law enforcement does not give any details about what happened.
Over the decades, I have hiked the Palm Canyon in the Anza Borrego Desert many times, and I have often documented those trips here. Just a few links, oldest to newest:
The Oasis – A hike a did with my friend Mike (coincidentally the same Mike from the post right below….) in 2008. In that post you can see a few nice pictures of the famous Palm Canyon palm grove, which is visited by about 20,000 hikers a year.
Exploring Climbing of Indianhead – A hike I did with my son Devin in 2010, on our way up the canyon. We did a stop at the palm grove and you see a few pictures of it in this post.
Attempt to Hike Indianhead – Take Two – Another hike with Devin in 2012, making our way farther up the canyon. There are a few more palm groves along the way that the casual 20,000 hikers that reach the first one never see. The hiking after the first grove is treacherous and not for weekend hikers.
Attempt to Hike Indianhead – Take Three – An exploratory hike I did myself in 2013.
And while I am droning on about Indian Head, even though it’s not fully related to the palm canyon, here is my account: Attempt to Hike Indianhead – Take Four – This was my last attempt in 2014, and I think probably my last one altogether for Indianhead. Indianhead shall remain unclimbed by me.
New Palm Grove 2010 – 2017 – An account of 7 years of monitoring the new palm grove. In this post you can see a selfie of myself with the grove in the background.
New Year’s Day a Winter Wonderland in the Desert – the last time I was there with Devin was New Year’s Day of 2019. There are a few good pictures of the oasis.
Here are two clips from the San Diego Union of today:
Above with the blaze underway.
Here is what the great trees looked like a few days later, still smoldering.
The grove had last burned in 1970, when a boyscout had played with matches. I remember seeing charred tree trunks there over the years presumably still from that blaze. The rangers expect that the large trees, even though they are all thoroughly burned, will actually recover and sprout new branches at the top.
Also, with all the thick underbrush and shadow eliminated, and boosted by the nutrients of the ash, new undergrowth and seedlings will sprout quickly. I’ll have to go out in a few weeks since I haven’t been there yet in 2020, and see for myself.
I am afraid it’ll never quite be the same again in my lifetime like it was here with me on January 1, 2019: