Those beautiful deep canyons are carved by water. Water from flash floods. If you look at the watermarks along the canyon walls you will see this is a place to avoid in a rainstorm or if one is approaching. Be current with the weather report during your stay.
During and after heavy rains the mud canyons steep walls can come down and block your way or worse. It is best to avoid the badland area washes and canyons if you think there is a chance of the ground being saturated.
Check at the visitors center for current information on the trail conditions.
If you find yourself on Buttes Pass Road just north off of Rt. 78 be warned of the Drop Off. The road becomes a roller coaster ride with no rails. The drop off is very steep and it can be done safely in a well-equipped 4 x 4 but it still is the scariest thing we have ever attempted. As you come down from the plateau, the road becomes more of a slide that your truck slips down. Yikes!
But I got a measure of cholla revenge on this past trip to Anza-Borrego.
My wife was not at all sympathetic to my cholla exploits when she found me in the hotel room in November 2000 pulling cholla spines out of my shoes, out of my feet and out of my legs. She yelled at me for getting too close to the cholla, she wanted to know what type of eejit gets close enough to a cholla to get so covered in cholla spines.
So this year Becky joined me in the trip to Anza-Borrego on Sunday after her meetings ended. I stopped to take a picture of the ill-tempered cholla. And then to show the cholla that there were no hard feelings, I petted it. So again I got yelled at. What in the bloody hell did I think I was doing. Don't pet the cholla!
It was at this point that Becky discovered that the cholla had jumped out and bit her shoes. And she wasn't anywhere near the thing. So I had proven my point. You can get bitten by a cholla without actually rubbing against it. Of course, I was the one saddled with the task of removing the barbed toxic cholla ball from Becky's shoe. But that is the type of chivalrous fellow I am (and I didn't yell at her for being an eejit either).
Also known as the jumping cholla. This is the most pernicious species in the entire plant kingdom.
I had a run-in with the jumping cholla in November 2000 at Anza-Borrego. Believe me, it's not something you want to do twice.
I was happily tramping along a desert trail and was descending a hill to get back to my car, when the cholla jumped out and bit me. I swear I wasn't within a foot of the beast, but nonetheless I was covered with cholla balls.
You see, the teddy bear cholla is known as the jumping cholla because the spines easily attach to anything that lightly brushes against it. And the ends of the spines are barbed. I had about ten balls of cholla clinging to my legs and shoes. And you cant just reach down and grab the cholla balls to remove them from your body, because then your hands will be stuck with cholla barbs as well. To top it all off, not only was I stuck with hundreds of barbed cholla spines, but they emit some sort of toxic substance that burns and itches like crazy.
So there I was. A couple hundred miles from San Diego, covered in painful and toxic cholla spines. Ouch, ouch, ouch. Bad cholla!
At night, the wild coyotes come out to sing. The chorus entertained Ognini and Fatima. Note the scared looks on their faces!