Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I don't usually post about hiking, but sometimes a hike turns into a trail run and boom: Finish Line. Kristen and I went out to the beautiful Anza-Borrego State Park this weekend and hike some of the amazing trails the park offers. As usual we stayed at the Borrego Palm Canyon Campgrounds and scored one of our favorite sites: #105. There's a section of the campground where four sites are really secluded and provide a nice, quiet environment. Anyway, there are miles and miles of fantastic trails to hike (and run if the urge hits you like it does us) and most are easily accessed by standard two wheel drive cars with a few better suited to SUV transportation.

On our first day we set out on a trail called Hellhole Canyon which I thought was a bit of a misnomer given the lush beauty at the end. The 5.2 mile round trip trail was full of various cacti and some of the last natural Palm Tree groves in California.

The next day we set out on a trail called Rainbow Loop. The trailhead was a little hard to find, but once we did the desert unveiled its hidden beauty with a trek up a sandy, narrow canyon that showcased all kinds of ocotillo, teddy bear cholla and prickly pear cacti still blooming with bright red, orange and green flowers.

Feeling a little froggy, we decided that it might be fun to run the last three miles back to the car. The soft and silty ground made it a challenge, but easy on the knees.

Now, one of the great fringe benefits of going to Anza-Borrego is that on the way, there is a modest and very friendly winery called Shadow Mountain. The owners are great and even gave us a tour of the operation. If you ever go there I recommend the Old Gus Red Table Wine and the Syrah.

Of course, no trip would be complete for us if we didn't find another winery on the way home. In this case it was a wonderful vineyard/winery called Hawk Watch. Absolutely great wines for a fair price. Hey, you can't beat a camping/hiking trip with wine going in AND out right?

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