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2016-08-30&31 Springs at Santa Rosa Mountain

Camping at the Springs - n/a
Santa Rosa Mountain camping at the springs.

I’ve posted about my favorite place on the planet before: the Springs on Santa Rosa Mountain. This outing was the first time I’ve brought another photographer with me. Jerry and I drove up the long, rough road from the hellacious furnace in the desert valley below where 113°F oppressed us. Jerry expressed an interest in seeing the Salton Sea and that quest drew us into the heat of the Imperial Valley.

We drove out of Poway mid-day and I’d hoped the afternoon might relent it’s fiery grip on the region. It did not. Camping out when the temperatures soared over 100°F at night was beyond our endurance so we opted for the Best Western in Brawley. Early morning found the temperatures had fallen to the low to mid-nineties, but that would not last.

I headed us north along the eastern edge of the Salton Sea. I’d been told of a spring fed oasis just north-east of the sea called Dos Palmas. On our way north those few roads that would have taken us to the sea’s edges were barricaded, frustrating our intentions to explore. The water level at the Salton Sea continues fall at an alarming rate. When we found an access road, the interesting bird-life was so far away we were not tempted to try for pictures, as by now the heat climbed up to the unbearable 100+ range. As our luck would have it, when we found Dos Palmas, we encountered yet another barricade damn!

I usually drive up Santa Rosa Mountain from the western route, but this day called for a drive up from the desert side to the northeast of the mountain. There’s something to be said for this route: the view back to the Coachella Valley from the road that climbs the rugged mountains is spectacular. Every foot of elevation gained brought a measure of relief from the fiery valley floor below. In leaving the paved road and beginning our ascent up the mountain, a different kind of torture begins. The ten miles of road from the pavement to the springs has long stretches of punishing roads. Even the “good” sections are no picnic. I guess it keeps some of the riff-raff away.

We arrived at the spring mid-day and set up camp. We took advantage of the afternoon light and captured images as long as it held out. The next morning’s light was late, as is always is at the location on the northern slopes. We captured images again until the sun reached straight up at noon and then broke camp and headed back to Poway.

Birds we met and photographed on the mountain included Black-Throated Gray Warbler, Brown Creeper, Chipping Sparrow, Dark-Eyed Junco, Hairy Woodpecker, Hermit Warbler, Mountain Chickadee, Nashville Warbler, Orange-Crowned Warbler, Pygmy Nuthatch, Townsend’s Warbler, Western Bluebird, Western Tanager, White-Breasted Nuthatch, White-Headed Woodpecker, Wilson’s Warbler, and Yellow-Rumped Warbler. We also had a Cooper’s Hawk, Western Gray Squirrels and Merriam’s and California Chipmunks.

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