Anza Borrego – March 2022

The Fish Creek/Vallecito Badlands area of Anza Borrego is supposed to be fossil rich, so we went for a hunt.

Uwe, Srisuda, Frank and Ilian joined Dorie and me for the 2-day camping/hiking/fossil hunting expedition. We found an excellent campsite just off Loop Wash in the Fish Creek area. There were supposed to be 2-million-year-old camel and llama foots prints on a place called Camel Ridge. That name has been stricken from all maps so the afternoon we arrived we hiked up Camel Head Wash thinking there might be a ridge there.  No such luck but we found interesting calcite and crystal deposits plus a lots of “shell mash” as it’s called. These are huge deposits of fossilized seabed containing mussels, oysters, clams, and other invertebrate sea creatures of 2-3 million years ago. Some of the deposits are 2-3 feet thick. Uwe and I have hiked and 4WDed this area many times, but had never taken the time to really notice the fossils before. (click on any slide)

The next day we search for fossil footprints up Fish Creek Wash. We think we found some kind of footprints, but we don’t know for sure. Frank and Ilian had not been to this area and were fascinated by the terrain and enjoyed the hunt. We then drove up to Sandstone Canyon to hike that slot canyon. We did some more hiking in the washes, caves, and mud hills around our camp later that afternoon. Since it was St Patrick’s Day the evening called for a nice campfire, some Irish beer and Irish music. (click on any slide)

The next morning, we set out to hike the Wind Caves. This is a very large complex of wind eroded sandstone, creating a Flintstone-like village. On the way home we were planning to stop near Borrego Mountain and hike The Slot but when we arrived at the trailhead, there was a full parking lot. The previous 2 days had us spoiled because we saw maybe 3 cars, a few dirt bikers, and a park ranger. This was too crowded, so we skipped the hike up the slot and returned home. (click on any slide)

We can’t be certain, but in our minds, we know we saw million-year-old camel and bird footprints. That’s the story and we’re sticking to it.

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