It’s funny to think that for the first 5 months of our travels we interacted with very few people besides each other. Sure, we had plenty of short conversations with fellow campers, an occasional chat with a camp host or park ranger, and the ever present exchange at the gas pump about how far we are from home- but we never made any real lasting connections with other people. Until recently. Somehow in the past month and a half the stars aligned, the mists cleared and we finally got to meet and spend time with several other full-time travelers. Many who we already “knew” through their blogs, but had never met in person. We also enjoyed a visit from a family member and spent a few days with an old friend of Tim’s who graciously invited us over for our first meal in a full-size house in months. Would you look at that! Suddenly we’ve turned into regular social butterflies over here. Not to be outdone, we are continuing our streak of living the social life out here in Borrego Springs. First up… a visit from fellow Airstreamers, Dave & Kelly.
We first met Dave and Kelly during our stay in Half Moon Bay back in November. We had hoped to meet again one day and as it turned out the opportunity presented itself sooner than we though it would. We were delighted when they contacted us a few weeks ago to say they were spending Christmas with family in Arizona and did we want to meet up somewhere as they made their way back through southern California on the way home. Yes! More company and social time to enjoy. Dave, Kelly, their dog Lily and kitty cat arrived on the last day of the year and we spent a pleasant New Year’s evening enjoying good food and conversation around their cozy airstream table.
Yesterday the six of us (4 people + 2 dogs) took a hike just a few miles down the road at the sight of an old Calcite Mine.
The mine was in operation for a short time during WWII when calcite was used as a key material in the manufacture of precision bomb sights and anti-aircraft weaponry. Vigorous trench mining in search of the calcite took place for only a short while though before a synthetic substance was created that had the same qualities of calcite at a fraction of the expense it took to mine it. Today the old mine road is used primarily as a play area for 4-wheel drive vehicles and the occasional on-foot hiker. Most hikers who visit are not there primarily to see the mine (apparently there’s not anything left to identify it as a mine- just a few stray pieces of calcite), but to explore the deep slot canyons on either side of the road. The slot canyons are very similar to the Anniversary Narrows that we explored near Lake Mead. The tall cliffs had the same sculpted, water-scoured look with curvy narrow paths leading you through a kind of rock maze.
We hiked up the canyon, making our way through the narrow rock walls, stopping to marvel at the geologic wonders around us and occasionally scramble up fallen boulders in our path. Some of the boulders were large enough that poor Phineas was forced to endure the embarrassment of being lifted up and over them. He was so mortified by the indignity of this act (with a cute young dog watching too) that I agreed not to share any photos of this spectacle.
After making our way to the end of the canyon and finding a suitable spot we climbed up and out to the ridge above. What greeted us was a grand view of the surrounding landscape.
We walked back on the Calcite Mine Rd. keeping out a watchful eye out for the many passing jeeps and 4 x 4 trucks. When we returned to the trailhead we were greeted by a stunning sky filled with thickening clouds and streaming sunlight. I swear the sky out here in the desert is like no other.
On the way back to camp Tim and I stopped for a quick 4-mile excursion to take in the view at Font’s Point. When searching around for hiking spots I came across a few mentions of this overlook, and then when a fellow traveler and blog reader suggested it as a place worth seeing in the area we knew we had to stop. Wow, are we glad we took the time to visit. Considering we’re just a few miles from our flat, scrub brush filled campsite, this place felt like a whole different world.
Way back in the top left corner you can just catch a glimpse of the Salton Sea roughly 30 miles away.
It was a great day, with great company and we look forward to sharing more desert adventures with fellow travelers in the days and weeks to come.