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Barefoot Backpacking (and other adventures) at Anza Borrego Desert State Park

March 5, 2013
Wandering through Collins Valley on the road to Sheep Canyon.

Wandering through Collins Valley on the Sheep Canyon Road.

No shoes were necessary on the sandy roads, but a reflective umbrella offered relief from the relentless early March sun. Hubby on the left favors shoes and hiking poles. To each ‘is own, as my folks liked to say when we were growing up. Speaking of family–my retired brother joined us on our overnight trek to Sheep Canyon . . . he drove us up rough Coyote Canyon in his 2-wheel-drive truck until the road turned into a rock pile; then we parked and hiked the last four miles to the palm/oak/cottonwood oasis.

This rocky uphill stops all but the most hardy of 4-wheelers.

This rocky uphill stops all but the most hardy of 4-wheelers.

I brought my new Unshoes running sandals, and ended up wearing them for about half the hike–three miles on the way in, one mile on the way out. They provided stellar grip and ground feel–felt super stable on all the rocks–and allowed 90% less grit under my feet as compared to my other hiking sandals, my Merrell Pipidaes.

Barefoot is best, especially when stream crossings are involved.

Barefoot is best, especially when stream crossings are involved.

"Third Crossing" in Coyote Canyon--for 4-wheel drive vehicles or barefoot hikers only.

“Third Crossing” in Coyote Canyon–for 4-wheel drive vehicles or barefoot hikers only.

Not much winter rain = too many desert annuals this year . . . which made this dune verbena even more of an eye-catcher.

Not much winter rain = not too many desert annuals this year . . . which made this dune verbena even more of an eye-catcher.

Boiling up some water to re-hydrate some dry dinner fixin's. No shoes, no shirt, no problem at this desert diner at the Sheep Canyon oasis.

Boiling up some water to re-hydrate our dry dinner fixin’s. No shoes, no shirt, no problem at this desert diner at the Sheep Canyon oasis.

The just-budding sycamore in the canyon were a cool desert surprise.

The just-budding sycamore in the canyon were a cool desert surprise.

The next couple of days we camped at Palm Canyon--fifty years after my first visit, it's still a magical place.

The next couple of days we camped at Palm Canyon–fifty years after my first visit, it’s still a magical place.

Font's Point is silhouetted in between the branches.

View from the Palm Canyon trailhead: a Font’s Point sunrise is silhouetted in between the branches.

The "borrego" in Anza Borrego.

The “borrego” in Anza Borrego.

Where's those kids' shoes? What kind of grandma encourages this kind of nonsense?

Where’s those kids’ shoes? What kind of grandma encourages this kind of nonsense?

The granddaughters thought the local sculptures were pretty wild too.

The granddaughters thought the local sculptures were pretty wild too.

I love to spend time reflecting near the streamside rocks, who do their own reflecting along with me.

I love to spend morning time reflecting near the streamside rocks in Palm Canyon (they do their own reflecting along with me). Solitude is what Anza Borrego does best!

 

Hooray for our California State Parks! Let’s keep them funded and open. . .  for our grandchildren and beyond . . .

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