Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hellhole Canyon, High Winds

We have been hiking every other day here in Anza-Borrego SP. Yesterday we got up very early (for us) and tackled a hike of Hellhole Canyon. It was listed at 5-6 miles round trip, 6 if you went all the way to Maidenhair Falls, and we agreed we would not commit to the entire hike, and turn back if either of us wanted to.

Most of the first two miles were over open sandy desert terrain with a fairly consistent, but not difficult rise. We wondered what this nice little canyon had done to early explorers, to deserve such a negative name...

This cheerful sign was accompanied by three rock cairns which may or may not have been real. It was quite a graphic way of reminding hikers that the desert can and will kill you if you go into it unprepared!

The morning was quite warm, and the landscape provided no respite from the intense sunshine. 

We noticed buds and flowers on many of the plants, but they would have been easy to miss. Most were too tiny for my camera to capture a decent image, or were past their "prime" and were a bit tattered looking. These cholla flowers were just starting to open.

Because there was a spring further up (like Palm Canyon) there were more trees and greenery as we climbed. 

At the beginning of the third mile, the trail got more difficult and we had to climb and scramble over some very large rockfalls.  The sun and heat was also starting to get to me, so we decided to turn back.

There was another couple on the trail that we had passed as they rested, and then they passed us as we did the same. They went a little farther up the trail than we did, but as they passed us on the way down (during our lunch) they reported the falls were dry, and that except for more large rocks there was not much beyond our turn-around place.

I do not move quickly thru the rocks. I am not very flexible, and am very cautious about where I place each step, because I do not want to twist a knee or get my foot caught. I'm not really concerned about rattlesnakes, but I keep an eye out for them. 

We ate breakfast, in the shade of a large boulder,  just after we turned back, and were home in the Alfa before 11:00 AM. 

We did make it almost five miles. I think five miles in the desert is like ten in the forest! 

High Winds
We are presently experiencing very high winds. We slept with the slides pulled in because we wanted to avoid damage to the slide cover. It is now noon and we pulled them back in again. I'm sure glad we are not trying to drive anywhere today.  

I'm glad we came here, and we will not be leaving for a couple more days, but I can't say I am as big a desert-lover as some of my blog friends seem to be. I enjoyed seeing the area and hiking here, but I don't think I want to spend weeks boondocking on BLM lands the way many of you do.  

But that is part of why we want to do this: to experience many places and be able to move on if we wish.

If we all loved the same places they would be too crowded.

vive la différence


  1. Your last statement is so true. And one of the very best things about this lifestyle is having the wheels to take us where we like to be. And this country offers all of us such a wonderful variety of landscapes to enjoy.

  2. More rocks, and more good pictures, Merikay and Craig!

  3. I'm the same, with regards to the desert. Good for a couple of weeks, but I do like some greenery in my life. Ruth is different, but then she sees the beauty in everything. :-)

    Looks like a nice hike though!

  4. Seeing that picture of you tramping through those rocks brings back memories of when you posted how many miles you did on your treadmill each day. Seems like that part of your dream has come true. :)

  5. Yes I remember those treadmill days too!! And how you used to end with "Someday I will be hiking in National Parks." :-)

  6. Merikay, I am following you and your son's blog...You just crack me up! There you are at 'Your Age!' risking broken ankles, dehydration and rattlesnake bites..but you scold your grown son for doing the same!
    As the saying goes.."The apple doesn't fall far from the tree!"


  7. Thank you, Maura, for a great summary of the distance between the Merikay tree and her son :-). But he no longer uses Apple products because they're so expensive!

  8. We couldn't fine the falls last month when we were there. Guess that's because they were dry! You did good, it was a tough hike on those rocks.

  9. Hang in there....we will teach you to enjoy boondocking,.....if you give us a chance. hehehe

  10. We haven't been able to get to the deserts out west yet, look forward to it one day, then we'll find out how long we like being with out greenery. Again the nice thing about living in an rv, if we don't like it we can move. I too remember your post while doing walking on your treadmill, so glad your dreams have started to come true.

  11. Fantastic to have such amazing hikes available! Much better than the treadmill.

  12. I agree with Sandie--there's plenty of space for everyone!

  13. We haven't been to the desert yet either, and we've wondered how long we could be without greenery and water. We find we don't like being away from the ocean for too long of a time.

    I also remember you walking on your treadmill dreaming of hiking national parks. You'll love the north Georgia mountains. Lots of pretty strenuous hiking and LOTS of GREEN with streams and waterfalls thrown in for good measure.

    p.s. I hope things are going well on the sale of the house.

  14. Trail looked like one we would try to avoid


Leave a comment, or send an email.