04 April 2006 Tuesday

The dirt bikes and ATVs came out this morning.  At one point I counted six ATVs running up and down these hills that were 50 feet high or more.  The ATVs would move on and then dirt bikes come out for a while.  We were working on the computers a little because we had a cell signal and could upload some stuff to the website.  As we left, we found out we were in Ocotillo Wells Off Road Vehicle Rec. Area, just outside of Anza-Borrego SP.  A few miles up we found several more camping spots inside the park (that does not allow firearms!)  We drove through the town of Borrego Springs which is surrounded by the park.  We found the park headquarters and were surprised to find an underground building.   It makes sense, I suppose, since it can get to 120 degrees here in the summer and the earth makes great insulation.  We talked with a volunteer who helped us plan a few hikes in the area.  We chose a few interesting ones, on opposite sides of the park.  This park is huge, 600,000 acres and growing!  

We took a nice drive to the south end of the park for a hike to some Native American pictographs.  Petroglyphs, which we’ve seen before, are images chipped or scratched into the rock.  Pictographs use earthen pigments and some form of binder to create drawings in colors on the rocks.  We saw only one rock with several drawings on it.  The red pigments were quite clear, but it looked like a faded yellow had been used too.  We hiked a little further to an area that overlooks an area called Smuggler’s Cove and the valley below.  There are a few more hikes nearby, but we’re running out of daylight, so we found a great campsite behind a big rock and sheltered by some creosote bushes.  Rain clouds moved in and turned the sky some beautiful colors.  We were in bed in the back of the truck by the time it started raining.  We’ve been in the desert for a month and we haven’t dealt much with rain.  It was kind of strange because even though it was raining, directly above us we could see a clear sky with the moon and stars shining brightly.  

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