Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Anza Borrego’s Palm Canyon Trail — Always Compelling

©Bert Gildart: Just minutes after starting our hike up Palm Canyon, Bill directed our attention to a cliff wall, high overhead.

“Bighorns,” he said. “Two of them.”


Colorful desert patina help create habitat for bighorn sheep


The sheep were at some distance, but it was my thought that if I could make the sheep seem at home in this  beautiful canyon then my picture could be an interesting one.  Telephotos would stay in my camera bag.


That it could be interesting was in part due to the rich colors created by a buildup of microscopic bacterial colonies.  Over a period of thousands of years these colonies have absorbed iron and manganese, so imparting the rich browns. It is this richness of color  that intrigued me and that further enhances the habitat for  the endangered Peninsular Desert Bighorn, which found a home in this rugged land so very long ago.

The sighting of sheep always helps to make my day, but so do good companions, and this time Janie and I were accompanied by Bill — and yet another Airstream friend, Theresa.  (I was delighted when her husband, a veterinarian, said he has followed my blog for years.)

Our goal was a stand of palms, and is a hike Janie and I have made before on many occasions.  Because of the many features along the trail we never tire of the adventure.


Palm Oasis


A park brochure points out various cacti such as the catclaw and the honey mesquite.  It explains that Native peoples once made their home in the canyon, finding relief from summer sun in the coolness offered by the palm tree shade.


We made the one-and-a-half-mile hike in short order soon arriving at the palm oasis, which consists of a cluster of California fan palms, the only palm native to California.  Perhaps 50 such trees grow in this small area and their verdure breaks the greyness of the desert rock.  The brochure, available to hikers, asks that visitors respect the oasis, not defiling it with trash or tearing out the frond.

Fronds skirt the base of the tree and help to protect the bark form water loss and insect predation.  In the past some hikers have started fires and the trees have lost their skirts.


Is this Desert Galleta


Though it was too early for desert flowers, on our return hike we all noticed a beautiful grass that we think may be a Galleta Grass, though none of us knew for sure.  It appeared particularly lovely against the light-colored rock and pictures of it rounded out our day, adding another aspect that makes the hike so unique, regardless of the number of times we may venture up this remarkable canyon.









2 Responses to “Anza Borrego’s Palm Canyon Trail — Always Compelling”

  1. Tom & Sandi Palesch Says:

    Top photo of “Desert Patina” is beautiful, once again showing wildlife photos are not always best captured with a telephoto lens. Great composition!

  2. History Safari Express » Blog Archive » In pursuit of Bighorn Sheep Says:

    [...] After working up an appetite, we returned to camp and joined Larry and Theresa’s husband Bob for a feast of pork and shrimp spring rolls, pork pot stickers, and Yusheng salad provided by Larry, while savoring our memories of our hike into Borrego Palm Canyon and reflecting on those who once lived there.  (See Bert’s photos and story of our hike here.) [...]