Agua Caliente: March 9-11, 2018


San Diego County Route S-2 heading east.  The clouds looked ominous but we only had sprinkles.


I hesitated to post this blog for the fear of it going viral and having the masses ruin it.  We did the most amazing hike on Saturday.  All the maps don’t name it and only one of our hiking books mentioned it.  When we got home I googled it and a handful of people have posted something about it, so what the hell, why not post it.

It’s called Hornblend Canyon and starts at mile 26.1 on S-2.  There’s a small pull out at the bottom of the hill on the east side.  The canyon entrance is directly across the road on the west side.  Kudos to R for scoping it out.  His last few times out here (this is a guy who has probably spent 150 nights at Agua Caliente) he has been eyeing this wash.  It’s different from most of the hikes we’ve done in Anza Borrego because it begins at 2,300 ft elevation.  It’s at a transitional zone, so you see the typical desert flora at the beginning, but as you gain elevation you get to observe the changes in the plant community.  It’s actually quite fascinating.  We did 6 miles round trip and 1,000 feet elevation gain.  Some scrambling was required.  And look out for the Cat Claw shrub, it’ll reach out and scratch you.  R was a bloody mess by the time we got back to the truck.  If you kept going you’d eventually summit Granite Mountain.

This was our third trip to Agua Caliente with the Airstream.  It’s without a doubt a place to visit mid week.  The campground was packed to the gills over the weekend.  Families with kids running around all over the place.  Camping is a great thing for families to do, especially here since there is zero, zip, nada cell service at Agua Caliente.  It’s like a throw back to another time when kids actually played and did things outside.  It was quite refreshing to see.



G and R at the beginning of the Hornblend Canyon hike.  The next eight pics are from the hike.


California Juniper berries, of course R had some wisecrack about gin.


Lichen covered rock was everywhere.


Two Glorious Beetles foraging on juniper.


Sugar Bush


One of the most amazing things we’ve ever seen in Anza Borrego, vertical honeycombs from wild honey bees.  Bees were flying in and out so we were a little scared to get any closer.


Arizona Dudleya, one section of the hike had dozens and dozens of them in various sizes clinging to the rock walls.


Looking down on the 10-foot-high dry water fall


At our turn around point.  Is this whole selfie craze ever going to end?


As I mentioned, there is no cell service at Agua Caliente.  You have to drive 4 miles west to this spot for reception.  I made the drive on Friday and Saturday.  I just had to know how the San Diego State Aztecs were doing in their conference tournament.  They won it and are on their way to the Big Dance!


Ocotillo bloom at our campsite


And then there’s always this guy and lucky us, he was our neighbor.  The lights on his fifth wheel were bright enough to luminate his flag and the entire campground.  I’ll give him this though, he was a flag etiquette guy, once he finally turned off his lights the flag came down.


Elephant Tree from our short Sunday morning hike up Torote Canyon.  Tortote is Spanish for Elephant Tree.


A windy Friday night


No dramatic sunrise or sunsets, but a beautiful view of the early morning light on Sunday.


6 thoughts on “Agua Caliente: March 9-11, 2018

  1. Nice pictures. Amy, you look so healthy and happy since you stopped drinking. I am very proud and inspired by you. Thanks for the Blog Greg. Lots of inspiration there too.

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