Coyote Mountain hike, December 31, 2017.

To get one more hike in this year, I joined Diana and Jorge in Anza Borrego State Park for a short but steep scramble up Coyote Mountain.

On Saturday, December 30, I drove the 185 miles to the Bow willow campground in Anza Borrego, where I met up with Diana and Jorge. After setting up my tent, we had a nice dinner of quesadillas and refried beans with apple pie and hot chocolate for dessert. After it got dark, Jorge started the campfire, which he kept going until we ran out of fire wood. With the temperature dropping fast, we retired into our tents early.

After a fitful night of not being able to get warm I started to get dressed, when Jorge called out to come see the sun rise. After stumbling out of my tent I was greeted by an incredible sky that looked like it was on fire. For breakfast, Diana cooked up some wonderful ham and egg sandwiches. After breakfast, it was time to break up camp and load all our gear into the truck for the short drive back to where I had parked my car at the start of the dirt road to the campground.

Before driving to the trail head for Coyote Mountain, Jorge showed me the Carizo Badlands overlook, which is about 2 miles south of the campground. From there, we drove about 60 miles to Rockhouse Canyon near Borrego Springs. We parked the truck just outside the abandoned Nichole Swartz mine which yielded a small amount of gold nuggets many years ago.

After reviewing the maps and write-ups for the route to the summit of the mountain, we decided to hike up the steep west ridge which connects with the main northwest ridge leading to the summit. We quickly gained elevation, enjoying impressive views of aptly called Clark Dry Lake and Villager Peak. After a mile of climbing, we reached the junction with the main trail, and took a well-deserved break. The route now followed the ridge over many small humps with the usual desert vegetation: Ocotillos, Agavas, Chollas, and barrel cactus. The use trail was easy to follow most of the way, and after 3 hours reached the top!

We spent some time roaming around the broad summit area, signing the register and taking pictures. After a while we started our hike back down the same way we came, dropping down from bump to bump. At one point Diana stopped at an Ocotillo which had a dead frog hanging from one of its spikes. Poor frog gored himself somehow! Not paying attention, we hiked down the ridge, passing by the turnoff point for the west ridge. Realizing our mistake, we had to hike back up a short stretch to where we found the duck Diana had placed on the way up earlier. Hiking back down the steep ridge was not as bad as expected, and after about 6 hours of hiking we were safely back where we started.

A little while later we were back at the main road, where I said goodbye and a happy New Year to Diana and Jorge, having enjoyed another great hike with them. Less than three hours later, I was back home to my lovely wife, Teresa.