Anza Borrego Feb 18 & 19?
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Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Anza Borrego Feb 18 & 19? on 12/14/2011 14:46:11 MST Print View

In the past I have posted some information about one of my favorite weekend get-aways, which I call the Butler Canyon Loop. I am not too worried about too many people tackling it because it is easy to get lost. When Craig and I were stopped by a Ranger to chat he was quite impressed we had traveled between Butler and Box Canyons. If you know the correct route the trip is not difficult at all. If you don't, you are going to have a rough go of it.

I have received several questions about this loop and a lot of interest. Recently got an email from a member who could not find the route and turned back. In fairness to the member, navigation can be somewhat difficult in all the canyons and gullies. Because of this, I feel somewhat guilty about posting the details. So if there is an interest, I will lead a trip on this loop. I randomly picked Feb 18-19, because it is in the middle of the month. Since I hike nearly every weekend, that date is not important and I can go almost any weekend.

There is one condition. All participants need to agree they will not publish GPS waypoints, tracks, or whatever those thingies are called. It is rare for me to even find a footprint in sections of the loop and I would like to keep it that way.

Average February temps in Anza Borrego are highs of 72F and lows of 46F. Average precipitation is 1.32 inches, the wettest month of the year, which then allows the fabulous flower blooms in April. However it can get below freezing in February. Where we would camp can be a few degrees colder.

Features:
- Close to most of Southern Calif
- Total mileage = 18
- Gigantic boulders
- Easy boulder scrambling
- Tall canyon walls
- 360 degree views at the campsite
- Mostly cross country hiking
- Wonderful rock formations
- Beautiful natural cactus gardens
- Coyote Creek watershed has lots of plant and wildlife
- Some travel on ancient Indian trails (not maintained today)

Benefits:
- Snow unlikely
- Assuming no rain; BLUE skies
- Assuming no clouds; crisp and crystal clear night sky
- Moon phase about 13% (waning)
- Unlikely to see other humans over much of the route
- Views of San Ysidro and Santa Rosa mountains
- Might see Big Horns
- Might see a mountain lion (unlikely)
- Get a feel for how Native Americans picked their routes (trails)
- Large secluded area for group camp
- No group games or activities :)


Specifics:
- Meet at trail head around 9:00 AM Saturday morning
- Reach campsite around 3:00 PM (~ 12 miles)
- Elevation gain through Alcoholic Pass ~ 600 feet
- Elevation gain out of Butler Canyon ~ 700 feet
- Cross country travel includes going up moderate slopes
- Reach trail head around Noon on Sunday, unless we hang out around Coyote Creek or start out later in the morning
- Could go into town for burgers/beer/other post trip
- No water availability until Sunday morning
- Sunday morning water MUST BE purified

I am leaving in about 3 days to wander around the Nevada desert for a couple of weeks and will not have access to the Internet, so I cannot answer any questions after this Friday until I get back in January.


Some pictures...


IMG_0165

Large flat area for group camp. Notice blue sky in Southern California. If there is significant rain prior to the trip, this will not be a good place to camp, as it is a playa and will be muddy. But we can find alternative sandy areas.


IMG_0162

A view from the playa


IMG_0163

Another view from the playa



IMG_0164

... and another...

Some links of the proposed trip:

2009 Trip Report


Craig & Nick's Trip Nov 2011

Edited to fix URL link.

Edited by ngatel on 12/14/2011 14:48:18 MST.

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Anza Borrego on 12/28/2011 00:17:21 MST Print View

Count me in, given nothing too important comes up I am very interested!

-Jace

James Block
(jsblock11) - F

Locale: Southern California
Sounds great on 12/30/2011 21:32:57 MST Print View

This looks good for me too, after a few solo trips to finish out the fall I'm ready to get back out there. Haven't ventured beyond dayhiking in Anza, this sounds perfect. Keep me posted and I'll check back into this thread.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
The List on 12/31/2011 21:35:17 MST Print View

Okay, lets keep track of things. So far the following people are in:

James Block
Chad Eagle
Jace Mullen

Updated 12/31/2011

Andy Duncan
(bluewater) - M

Locale: SoCal
Anza on 01/01/2012 02:52:38 MST Print View

Nick, I'm interested in joining the trip. Thanx for organizing this, sounds like fun.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
The List on 01/04/2012 19:42:11 MST Print View

Okay, lets keep track of things. So far the following people are in:

James Block
Andy Duncan
Chad Eagle
Jace Mullen

Here is a link for the 10 day weather report .

As we get closer you may want to check it out.



Updated 01/15/2012

Edited by ngatel on 01/15/2012 15:16:29 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Getting closer on 01/30/2012 11:39:49 MST Print View

Okay, trip is about 3 weeks away.

Lately temperatures have been in the 70's during the day and night time lows between 39-41 F. Perfect desert hiking.

As we get closer I will post detailed driving instructions. The last 2.5 miles to the trail head is a dirt road, easily accessible by passenger cars unless there is a huge rain just before. There is not a lot of parking, so we may want to consider leaving all vehicles in town and taking one to the trailhead. I have a large SUV that can carry plenty of people and gear.

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Anza Borrego Feb 18 & 19 on 01/30/2012 18:32:11 MST Print View

Awesome, I was just coming here to look for driving info.

I am definitely in.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Anza Borrego Feb 18 & 19 on 01/30/2012 18:37:41 MST Print View

Might be good if everyone eamiled or PMed me with their email and cell phone number, then I can send out a list to the group. If anyone cannot PM, my email is ngatel@msxi.com

James Block
(jsblock11) - F

Locale: Southern California
PM on 02/03/2012 20:20:39 MST Print View

Just sent you a PM with my info, looking forward to it!

David K
(aviddk) - F

Locale: SW Oregon
It will be great! on 02/06/2012 14:18:02 MST Print View

Just back from an AB hiking trip. Did both the north and south Rockhouse loops as around 10 mile day hikes. There were four bighorns including a full curl + ram in Butler Canyon. The weather was perfect for hiking and we found intermittent shade in the canyons on both hikes. We cut turkey tracks in Bow Willow canyon and as well as the fresh tracks of a herd of Borregos. Be sure and have iBird Explorer Pro loaded up on your iPhone as there are scads of interesting birds in the area. Net time I will give the Butler Canyon/Box Canyon loop a try.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Update and Directions on 02/08/2012 11:15:29 MST Print View

I will send out contact information later today via email/PM.

Here are the directions:

Coming from the east (Hwy 86). Take Hwy 22 towards Borrego Springs. As you get close to Borrego Springs, the road takes a sharp turn left, you want to turn right at the bend and take Henderson Canyon Road (going west). Henderson Canyon Road dead ends at Di Giorgio Road. Turn right on Di Giorgio Road. The pavement will end in about 1 mile. It is about 2.5 miles on the dirt road to the Alcoholic Pass trail head. Keep a sharp look out for the trail head sign on your right, it is easy to miss. If you reach the Desert Gardens Picnic Area, you have traveled about 1 mile too far. Park anywhere you can find a spot off the dirt road.

If you are coming from the west on Hwy 22 through the town of Borrego Springs, go through town. You will come to Christmas Tree Circle. Turn right on the circle, and at 180 degrees, turn right onto Hwy 22 again. In about a mile, you will come to Di Gorgio Road (there is a building with a towing service on the left). Turn left on Di Gorgio Road, and it is around 2 miles until the pavement ends. From there, following the directions, above.

Weather forecast is not available yet for the weekend. But Friday Feb 17th is forecast for a high of 69F and a low of 40F. Average temperature for this time of year is 72F high and 46F low. We will be maybe 1,000 feet higher than Borrego Springs the first night. The forecast we get is for Borrego Springs. Right now no precipitation is foretasted. We will know more as we get closer to the trip.

Day 1 will be about 9 miles (I think I posted 12 miles earlier), Day 2 will be 9 miles. This is a loop, so we will not cover any real estate twice. There is no water until we get to Coyote Creek on Sunday morning. That is a 5 or 6 mile hike in the morning. So plan on bringing around a gallon of water, unless you know you need less. If you need water at Coyote Creek, it MUST be purified, so take purification time into consideration.

The plan is to meet at the trail head at 9:00 AM. If anyone wants to meet earlier in Borrego Springs and carpool, just leave a message here for the group.

Shoes -- we will encounter lots of Cholla and they will attack you. When wearing XC flats they do puncture my skin. With heavier trail runners they are not much of a problem if I am careful. Some people wear short gaiters, but I don't.

Wind -- usually minor in February, but we need to watch the forecast.

Any other question, please post them here for the other members of our group to see.

--------

Read David Kelly's post earlier in this thread about his trip in the area last week!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Update and Directions on 02/09/2012 00:33:56 MST Print View

I sent out contact information to everyone tonight. Get back to me if you did not receive it.

- Nick

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
More Updates on 02/10/2012 13:55:06 MST Print View

A good friend of mine will be joining us for the trip, so we are at 6 people.

Still a ways off, but here is the current weather forecast.

Saturday Feb 18th:
Daytime: High 71F and sunny.
Nightime: Low 40F, mostly clear, 20% chance of precipitation.

Sunday Feb 19th:
High 70F, scattered showers, 30% chance of precipitation.

Cody Lebow
(CLebow) - F

Locale: Orange County
Next time on 02/13/2012 08:04:09 MST Print View

If I didn't have a trip to sespe planned with the girlfriend I would be all over this. I hope I can get in on the next outing.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
New Weather Forecast (as of 02/13/2012 5:45 PM PST on 02/13/2012 18:48:03 MST Print View

Saturday Feb 18th:
Daytime: High 67F and partly cloudy.
Nightime: Low 42F, partly cloudy, 10% chance of precipitation.
Wind SW 5-8 mph.

Sunday Feb 19th:
High 65F, partly cloudy, 10% chance of precipitation.
Wind W 11 mph.

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Anza Borrego Feb 18 & 19? on 02/13/2012 19:52:10 MST Print View

Gentlemen,

During a recent rescue that I was involved with, I had to leave my sleeping bag and pad with the victim. If I don't get them back by this weekend, i may have to bow out. I might also be able to wrestle something up by then.

I will keep you guys updated.

Edited by climberslacker on 02/13/2012 19:52:47 MST.

David K
(aviddk) - F

Locale: SW Oregon
Butler Canyon Bighorns on 02/13/2012 20:54:40 MST Print View

Here are the two Rams I saw in Butler canyon 10 days ago. This is in the part of the Canyon just past the narrows.


Butler Canyon Bighorns

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Anza Borrego Feb 18 & 19? on 02/13/2012 21:30:11 MST Print View

Jace,

I have an extra Nunatak Arc Specialist and a WM Ultralite. My friend will be using one of them, probably the quilt. Also have a BPL Torsolite and a small Thermarest ProLite or an assortment of foam pads. Let me know what you prefer and I will bring them. Anything else anyone needs let me know.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Butler Canyon Bighorns on 02/13/2012 21:32:28 MST Print View

Nice. Hope we see some too.