Parts of Anza Borrego Desert State Park were closed: camping grounds, parking lots, visitor center, and some developed trails, but limited hiking was still allowed.
In the best spirit of social distancing, Uwe and I drove separately to Ship Benchmark, and parked to keep our trucks from socializing as well.This was a new hiking area to us and not challenging, but it was so nice to get some desert air. We hiked up Yaqui Ridge to the register and then along the ridge to Perpendicular Benchmark. This peak is on the San Diego Additional 100. The beaver tail, cholla, ocotillo, and barrel cacti we in bloom. We have never seen such healthy barrel cacti. Some here almost 5 feet tall and over a foot in diameter. They made for some great scenery. The jumping cholla were particularly aggressive and we were continually knocking those things off our boots and pants. We were reminded of Kevin’s first outing with us and his encounters with cactus on up Ted Benchmark. We encountered 2 little snakes, a colorful California King Snake and an Arizona Glossy Snake (maybe). On the way back to the car, what looked on the map to be a flat 2-mile walk turn out to be crossing an entire series of ravines just under the 40-foot contour lines on the map. So, a lot of minor ups and downs. We ended the hike traversing Ship benchmark then back to the car for some snacks before heading home.
By now the park is “closed to vehicular traffic”, a designation that is confusing because there is traffic on the state highways crossing the park. Hopefully we won’t have too long to return.
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