Finally Made it to Anza!

The bad news is that I have gotten really behind on updating my website! I'm writing this on January 30th, 2009 - almost 1 year since the trip. The good news is the reason I haven't been updating my site is because I have been out doing stuff. Expect more trips to be posted.

Nathalie and I had talked about going out to Anza for some time. We picked a date, packed up, and headed out to a place called Cougar Canyon. This trip had a bit of everything - the mystery of not knowing where we were going, some 4x4ing including river crossings, hiking, an overnight backpacking trip, seeing all the desert flowers, and seeing if Cougar Canyon lived up to it's name.

We headed out on Saturday morning. I was the navigator on the trip and we made a wrong turn (my bad) which put a few extra hours on the drive time. At least it was scenic. Driving in to the actual city of Anza, it was hot, but the views were cool. We stopped at a gas station that hadn't been remodeled since about 1952, it was a little scary. Then we headed out to the desert. We did some 4x4ing down some road I can't remember. There were a lot of people on this road looking at the flowers which weren't there. This was suppose to be the time of year when they are all in bloom. We hit the first of 3 water crossings and that drastically reduced the number of people. The first two were small, the last one was a doozy which you'll see further down the page.

We parked on the far side of the 3rd crossing and loaded up our packs headed for Cougar Canyon. We had heard the water was still running which was great since we were spending the night and didn't want to have to carry a ton of water.

Lots of interesting things on the road going out. There is a natural spring out there and lots of flowers. Everyone was looking in the wrong place for the blooming flowers.


Shortly after we turned off the main road and started heading to Cougar Canyon we came across this desert tortoise which was cool to see. He was just walking along and didn't really pay much attention to us.

This is the view down towards Cougar Canyon which is around the bend on the right. I never thought this part of the desert would be so green, it was amazing.

Once we reached Cougar Canyon and setup camp we headed up stream to look for something called "The Eye". We must have missed the trail because the way we went wasn't very straightforward and involved a lot of bushwhacking. We never did make it to "The Eye", we got stopped at some cascading waterfalls.

Back at camp we had a few drinks and made some dinner. It was nice and peaceful, there were a few other small groups camping in Cougar Canyon but none of us were close enough to see or hear each other.

We sat out that night and looked the stars with no interference from city lights. Another surprise in the desert - toads!

In the morning we packed up and headed out. All downhill from here, except that last up and over to the car. I think we were about 8 miles in. I got a bit dehydrated that night and it sure felt longer on the way out.

Here's the view back toward the car.

Nice singletrack through the green desert.

One last obstacle before we can get home, that river crossing. You can't see either end from the middle so you have to make sure no one else is coming when you head in. The water was pretty deep and was up to the bottom of the door jams on Nathalie's truck. She made it through with no problem.

On the way home we stopped in Ranchita, CA to say hi to the abominable snow man. Another shocker, who knew yeti lived in the desert? I can't wait to go back and explore some more.