February 2022 Activity: Desert Hike

Join us for our February 2022 outdoor activity. We’ll go to Anza Borrego Desert State Park for an afternoon hike with our chair Alexander S. Kunz. It has been a pretty dry winter so we’re not expecting flower blooms, but the desert is always an interesting place to photograph and explore, in particular for close-ups, details, abstracts, and also wildlife.

As usual, this is not a Sierra Club outing. No Certified Outing Leader will be present. You may join, leave, participate as you wish on the scheduled date, and at your own risk. Please continue reading for the details.

The Hike

We will hike the loop section of the Borrego Palm Canyon trail. Unfortunately, the first palm grove is still closed for recovery after the 2020 fire there (it will be visible from a lookout where the access currently ends) but there are enough things to enjoy in the rocky canyon with its sparse vegetation.

The trail is rocky, with uneven ground — good footing and sturdy shoes are required. At a leisurely “photographer/naturalist” pace, we’ll allow ourselves ~3 hours for the hike (sunset is ~5:30 PM). Mid to late afternoon, shadows will begin to fill the canyon, providing depth for photos, and even light for details. At least that’s the idea! 🙂

  • Distance: ~3 miles round trip
  • Elevation Change: ~400 feet

With our continued dry spell, it’s going to be warm and sunny (expected high temperatures ~80-85℉). Dress in layers, wear sunscreen, bring a hat, carry enough water and also some salty snacks, just in case. When hiking in dry air, you may not realize that you’re sweating. Drink water regularly.

Borrego Palm Canyon is known for quite reliable sightings of Bighorn Sheep, and this particular herd is used to humans too. Maybe we’ll get lucky and will cross paths with them in the canyon when they browse the shrubs.

Photo Equipment

Depending on your preferences and what you desire to photograph most, anything from ultra-wide to tele-zoom will be useful. Since it looks like it will be mostly sunny, a diffuser for detail/close-up images will be a nice thing to have, as well as a polarizing filter.

COVID & Carpooling

Participants must have an up-to-date vaccination against COVID-19. This means “fully vaccinated” WITH “booster dose”.

We encourage carpooling to lower our environmental footprint, but health and personal safety take priority. If you carpool, do ask the person who wants to carpool with you or who you want to carpool with about their vaccination status. This isn’t awkward. It’s smart and provides peace of mind.

Even with vaccinations, we advise wearing a mask when in confined spaces such as cars whenever you’re with people that are not members of your household.

Date, Time, Fees

  • Date: Saturday, February 12, 2022
  • Time: 2 PM
  • Fees: $10 day-use fee (or CA State Parks Annual Pass)

Meeting Point

Borrego Palm Canyon Trailhead (Google Maps link), at the western end of Borrego Palm Canyon campground:

Additional Activity

There’s more to do and see in Borrego Springs, if you want: the annual photo exhibition of the Anza Borrego Foundation’s desert photo contest will be on display together with “The Art of Photography” exhibit. Both are in town at the Borrego Art Institute (Christmas Circle). Open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 AM – 4 PM.

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