Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thanksgiving River Trip: Nov. 25-27th, 2011

Thursday night, my family and I loaded up all our gear into our newer Jeep and headed out to meet family and friends at one of our favorite areas along the Colorado River. While I usually primitive camp in this area, we decided to stay at the Imperial Valley Hunting & Fishing Club on Ferguson Lake. The road into the lake, named Ferguson Lake Road (EC800), heads away from the Colorado River just inside the Califonia state line. The All American Canal passes under near the beginning of the road, near the start of its long journey west to irrigate the enormous market gardens of Imperial Valley.

Many of the large backwater lakes, such as the one we were camped at, were created when the Imperial Dam was constructed in 1938, to harness the flow and energy of the river. Settlements such as old Picacho, once the river port for the nearby Picacho Mines upriver, were inundated by rising waters. At the same time, larger areas of water provided greater recreational opportunities. The northern end of Ferguson Lake Road terminates just south of the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, which was created in 1941 to safeguard the area's plant and animal life.

The dirt road into the lake is normally smooth and well graded, although conditions can rapidly change after rainstorms. Many of the spur trails off the north side of the road require 4wheel drive. A viewpoint 5 miles past an RV campground provides a panoramic view of Ferguson Lake, the Castle Dome Mountains in Arizona, and the Chocolate Mountains in California. There are several excellent areas to camp along the lake that also provide a place to launch a boat.

Unfortunately, I started getting sick the day we left so I didn't do as much as I wanted to. It was still a good time hanging around camp with family and friends.

Autumn and Audrey waiting for breakfast. This was also my daughter's first river trip.

There was no shortage of food on this trip!

Looking out over the boat dock and lake.

My parents, sister and brother-in-law coming in with their jet boats.

Distant view of the Castle Dome Mountains in Arizona. One of the areas I'll be exploring in my upcoming SoCal & AZ Overland Adventure.

Hangin' out on the back porch.

Sunrise on Ferguson Lake.

Heading down river to one of the sand bars.

There was football, horse shoes, skiing, and fishing here.  

She just loved the sand!

Rollin' on the river...

Monkey Island.

Entrance to one of the many backwaters along the river.

On they way home I drove along the All American Canal, checking out potential fishing spots. I only saw a few, as much of the bank was very steep. I'll have to do more scouting when I'm out there again.

OAUSA 2011 BorregoFest Event

This was one of the best BorregoFest yet! My wife and then 7 month old daughter were able to come along as well. Last year was my only solo trip, since Autumn was pregnant.

From the large group that showed up on Friday, the event was off to a good start. Ollie led a run out to the Mud Caves, an amazing site for those who haven't been... then we had the fantastic presentation from Diana Lindsay on the Ricardo Beceda sculptures...

Saturday started early, and we headed out for a terrific day on the trails. I led the Anza Expedition Route run, Ollie led a run From Canyon Sin Nombre to Fish Creek and Split Mountain, and Tom guided a group through Truckhaven Hills. Everyone got back to camp in time to get ready for the pot-luck dinner - and quite a spread was put out by the entire crew. Some incredible fare - no one left hungry Saturday night.

Sunday was the amateur radio testing session, which drew folks in from San Diego who weren't even attending Borregofest. Then it was on to the raffle, where some spectacular prizes were given out to some lucky participants. Everyone got packed up, said their good-byes, and some of us made one last trip - touring through Borrego Springs to see the sculptures we learned about Friday night...

No trail tragedies, no camp incidents, great weather all weekend. Definitely one of the best BorregoFest so far.

Photo by Ollie.

Photo by Ollie.