Wind Caves

The wind caves have been on my bucket list for a while and this year I finally was able to check them off my list. Originally I mistaken the Wind Caves for the Mud Caves until I conducted research. I didn’t know there was more than one type of cave in the desert. I learn something new every day.

Wind Caves

Wind caves are a perfect example of wind erosion. The caves are formed when wind picks up small particles from the ground and moves those particles through the landscape. In the desert, it’s like having a giant natural sandblaster sculpting the soft limestone and creating these wind caves.

We decided to start the year in nature, so we packed our bags and drove to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The idea was to camp overnight, welcome the new year and visit the wind caves the next day.

We have our overnight bag ready to go along with other necessities. With the Jeep packed, we headed to our local Yoshinoya for dinner. When we finished eating we decided not to stop at the grocery store to buy our lunch for the next day because it was already late and driving in the dark was not ideal. This was a big mistake.

When we arrived at the campsite we set the tent and just started to relax. Since we didn’t stop at the grocery we couldn’t start a fire, no firewood. We were fine until we realized we didn’t bring drinking water. We only had one bottle to share between us. It’s not like we didn’t have any water at all. We did bring our water jug but that was for cleaning, so in case of an emergency, we could drink it. We also carry water purifiers too. Still comes to show you to check, check and double-check.

While sitting in the dark waiting to welcome the New Year, my man set up his trail camera while I attempted some night photography. This past year I took a break from photography so I am a bit rusty. I was, however, able to take some decent shot of the night sky.

We welcome the New Year and immediately went to sleep. It was much too cold to be outside. The temperature was around 40 degrees. In the early hours of the morning, we heard the yapping of coyotes not too far away. They woke me up twice during the night but nothing happened.

When we woke up it was already late in the morning. We packed up and instead of heading to the wind caves we had to drive to Borrego Springs the nearby desert town to get food and water. By noon we were on our way to the wind caves.

To get to the Wind Caves Trailhead, take Hwy 78 towards Ocotillo Wells. Turn into Split Mountain Road. While on Splint Mountain Road you will find Fish Creek Wash which is a dirt road that leads to Fish Creek Primitive Campground. Continue driving past the campground on Fish Creek Wash until you find the trailhead it’s a little over 3 miles. The Trailhead will be marked.

Fish Creek Campground
Fish Creek Wash
Fish Creek Wash

My original plan was to record the drive to the wind caves however my GoPro camera with stabilizer did not charge so I had to use my DSLR. The drive on Fish Creek Wash was beautiful and easy. We arrive at the trailhead and parked. I knew there would be a small elevation gain but to me, any elevation gain is hard work. Huffing and puffing, because I am not in great shape, I made it to the top just to find nothing. I was expecting flat ground after the initial climb but there was more climbing. In truth, the climb was not hard. I saw grandmothers on the trail so I know I was just being a big baby.

Wind Cave Trail head sign
The initial slop
Just keep climbing
First Wind Caves

There are two sets of wind caves. We explored the first set for a while. We could hear children laughing and playing in the holes of the caves. We took a few photos and admired the view. At one point my man and I separated, he was laying on top of one of the caves while I took photos. I enjoyed every minute I was there. Surprisingly it was not windy at the caves however it was windy while walking on the trail.

The view before walking down the Wind Caves
Lizard sleeping
The view from on top of the Wind Caves. Can you find the young boy sitting on the rock?
View of the surrounding area
Second set of Wind Caves

When we reached the jeep a young couple who was walking close behind us asked if we could give them a ride back to the Fish Creek Campground. While the majority of the visitors to the wind caves had driven to the trailhead, they had walked and at this point were too tired to walk back to the campground. The Jeep was packed with our gear but we made room for them in the back.

Their names were Zack and Blue, one was from The Bay while the other was from Humboldt county. It seems this was a last-minute camping trip for them and they wanted to explore more of the desert. They were very friendly and thankful for the ride. We dropped them off at their campground and headed home.

Overall we were very happy that we started the year in nature. I hope that we continue exploring through out the whole year.

Anza Borrego Desert State Park has so much to offer. If you are interested in visiting more places in the park, check out my other blogs.

Quick Trips: ABSDP Part 1

For more videos on Anza Borrego State Park click on the following links.

California State Park=Anza Borrego Desert State Park 4 X 4 trail part 2

Metal Sculptures-Galleta Meadows

Borrego Palm Canyon Trail

San Diego Staycation 2020

Happy New Year! What are your travel plans for this year? My plan for this year is to stay at home and explore San Diego County. I have lived in this county for so many years and I still have not seen what it has to offer. San Diego attracts thousands of people each year and each year I go visit someplace other than San Diego. It’s time to try the local cuisine.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank my followers. I know I didn’t post much last year and for that I am sorry. I feel terrible that I did not keep my word in posting new blogs and showing you what California has to offer. This year I decided that I will dedicate myself to this blog and make changes. I don’t know what these changes will be but I will let you know as I experiment with content. The website will be about exploring California however you will read more about my “journey” to the destination.

In the meantime, I leave you with photos of San Diego County’s beauty.

La Jolla
Font’s Point, Anza-Borrego State Desert Park
Dixon Lake San Diego
San Diego Zoo, San Diego
Leo Carrillo Historic Ranch, Carlsbad
Safari Park, Escondido
Galleta Meadows, Borrego Springs
Old Town Historic State Park, San Diego

Chasing the Light

After a recent “storm,” my man and I decided to drive up to the mountains to enjoy a day of sun and clear skies. We drove on the Sunrise Scenic byway (S1) to find a good place to stop and view the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park from the mountains. We ended up stopping at Kwaaymii Point.

We had seen the road that leads to Kwaaymii Point but never really drove on it. We had nothing else to do that day but drive so we drove and stopped at the end of the road. The view was beautiful however what capture my attention was the trail.

Pacific Crest Trail at Kwaaymii Point in the Laguna Mountains

The trail turn out to be the Pacific Crest Trail. I was drawn to the rock crops along the trail and the rich colors and textures. We decided to walk along the trail to see what we could find. We came across this rock memorial. There cemented on the rocks were several grave plaques of people who seem to have lived a life of adventure. Their names forever memorialized on the rocks along the Pacific Crest Trail. I didn’t take any photos of the plaques I just continued on the trail.

We walked less than a mile before we returned back to the car. A storm was forming off in the distance and the chilly wind started to pick up. We were dressed for the chilly weather however we didn’t want to chance it. We sat in the car admiring the view for a few minutes until other people started to drive up to the parking area. There we watch brave souls who dare to come out of the comfort of their warm cars into the chilly air wearing only sweatpants, sweatshirt and flip flops. First couple returned within minutes back to their car. Next few brave souls walked a few more feet and return hastily back to their cars. We enjoyed the show in the car as we ate an apple dumpling that we purchased at Mom’s Pie House. The light was leaving so we decided to drive down the mountains before it got dark.

As we started to drive we notice the beautiful sunset. I took a quick photo but was not satisfied with the results. The orange glow was rapidly disappearing and it was already dark. We started to drive faster to look for a place where we could pull over and take photos but there was nowhere to pull over. We saw a small unmarked road and turn into it. There we were chasing the light on this unknown paved road hoping that at any given turn we would be able to see the sunset without obstructions.

The further we drove on that road the brighter the colors in the sky got. The road, although paved had huge pot holes that made us feel like we were off-roading.

We continued to chase the light hoping we could capture a few more photos before it was complete darkness. Soon there was no light and we were driving on an unfamiliar road with no idea where it would lead. Lucky for us we had GPS and found our way back to civilization. I did capture one last shot before the light disappeared.

We really enjoyed chasing the light however it did made us think that our adventures can be dangerous if not prepared. Although nothing happen to us, we had no cell reception and did not have our usual recover gear. It was supposed to be an easy drive to the country. We ended up off-roading on an unknown road. At the end we agreed that we do need some sort of beacon in case of an emergency. Stay safe my friends.

Season of Change

It’s October, my favorite month of the year. I love it because it represent the change of the seasons from summer to autumn. If I was living in a different state I would be able to witness the change of color in all those beautiful forests however I live in evergreen California where it is summer all year. I love fall colors so much that in my youth I would buy fall color flower bouquets just to brighten my day. That quickly because expensive so I settle for looking a autumn photos on the computer. When I saw “Seasons of Change” by Amanda Lynn it reminded me of the beauty that is autumn.

This mural was found by accident. I drove to Escondido to check out a bike shop. Instead of exiting the parking lot to the main road I drove through the alley and was shocked to find this beautiful mural next to a construction site. I literally, stopped the car and drove in reverse to come back and look at this mural. I couldn’t believe this stunning work of art was hidden away from the main street. In a way I understand why it is hidden but this should be visible for everyone to see.

I conducted a small survey of people I knew lived in Escondido and asked if they have ever seen this mural. They were all shocked something so beautiful was there all this time. This mural has inspired me to look for other murals. How many other murals are hidden and are waiting to be discovered? I plan on finding them and sharing them with you. It will take me some time but I am sure it will be work the wait. This is why I explore California because you never know what is in your backyard.

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano was the first mission I even visited. This mission sparked my interest in the California Missions. The adobe buildings reminded me of my grandmother’s house in Mexico. I felt like I went back in time. This is why I decided that if I photographed Mission San Juan Capistrano again the photos would have to be in Black and White.

The first time I stepped foot at the mission may years ago I had a Sony point in shoot camera. My employer provided me with this camera to complete an assignment. As I was paying for my admission to the mission I was informed that there would be an additional fee for photographers. I was flattered but I was no photographer. That day I did not take any photos. There were no smart phones back then.

The Great Stone Church
It took 9 years to construct it but was only used for 6 years. A devastating earthquake destroyed the church and killed several people inside the church. The church was never constructed again and serves as a reminder of those who lost their lives that terrible day.

I have visited the mission several times since then but for some reason I could not capture the place the way I wanted it. I kept taking color photos and that was my error. This last time I took my cellphone photographed the mission with only my smart phone, no fancy camera. The results are as follows.

The Great Stone Church
Serra Chapel
The alter is over 300 years old and it was brought from Spain.
Serra Chapel
The chapel is one of the oldest building in California

The Last Bookstore

Imagine a world where libraries and bookstores no longer exist. Presently we have the ability to purchase e-books online and carry them in our smart device.  Don’t get me wrong I like the ability to store thousands of books in the palm of my hand but there is something magical about holding a book. I love turning the pages as the story plot thickens. I love the book covers. I can’t imagine how many art cover redoes took place before the final cover was approved. I love how books look at home.  I can’t imagine a world without physical books. Will this be our future?

I remember going to Borders to hang out. No, it is not the U.S. Border. Borders was a big bookstore chain in competition with centuries old Barnes and Noble. It filed bankruptcy after declining books sales and poor investment choices. Digital was the new era and Barnes and Nobel knew it when they focus on developing The Nook. I had a Barnes and Noble nearby but I would drive out of my way to Borders.  Somehow Borders had more of a community feel to it.  I enjoyed sitting on the couches, chairs and benches scattered all over the store glancing through the pages of a brand new book.

With Borders gone I was forced to go to Barnes and Noble.  At least it’s a bookstore.  I still wonder how long before this giant also goes out of business.  What will we have left?  Amazon? I have been looking for a bookstore in which I can hang out again.  When I heard about The Last Bookstore I became excited.

Josh Spencer is the owner of the Last Bookstore in Los Angeles. Check out his story, click on the video below. 


I think it’s going to be exactly how it is in the video and website. I imagine it being big, homey and fun.  I imagine seeing book sculptures all over the store.  Can’s wait to visit this place.

The Experience

It was a Sunday morning and I was visiting my family in Los Angeles. The kids look bored and I was itching to explore some place new in LA. I decided to take my nieces and nephews to the Last Book Store. Some were excited to see this cool place while others didn’t seem excited to see books.

Parking was easy if you pay for it. I was not going to waste my limited time looking for a parking space and then feed the meter every so often although I did not check if payment is required on Sundays.

Entrance to The Last Bookstore

When you first enter there is a long desk to the left. We were asked to check in our bags and backpacks. As we entered we notice so many interesting decor on the walls, tables and bookcases. We decided to first explore the second floor first. Everywhere you look there was always something to see.

I notice that many came to this place to take photos not to buy books. There was a photographer photographing a young woman dressed in a school uniform holding a book while she sat next to a window pretending to read the book. Everyone took photos in the book tunnel and the shelf of books with a round circle in the middle. Of course we had to take photos too.

The more we explored the more things we found. The horror, mystery and true crime was located in a bank volt. There was also a room with first edition books also in a bank volt. I was however disappointed on the travel section. I wanted to see if I could find more books on California but the majority of the books were traveling the world not local travel. I did however found a book that sparked my interest.

The top floor also had a area where vendors sold their goods to perspective buyers. They were selling art pieces, paintings, old cameras, antique decor and stationary. Unfortunately most stores were closed when we visited.

After exploring the books store I asked the kids if they found any book they would like to take home. One of my nephews found his book in the horror volt, it was a Steven King book. My niece who dislikes reading found a baking book and promised she would bake something for me. My youngest nephew bought an old Betty Cracker book which turned out that they already had at home. As for me I boot my travel writing book.

As I was standing in line to pay for the books, a young friendly cashier woman took me out of line to this other room full of books and picture frames to help me with my transaction. While in that room we started to look around and found this glass display with books of all sizes. Each book on display had a price tag. We first found the $300 book, we got curious and the kids started to look for the most expensive book they could find. They found Miscellanies in Prose and Verse by Caption Morris which cost $3,000! Of course we are not avid readers or book experts so we were happy we didn’t pay thousands for our books.

Overall the experience was fun and educational. I will return to this place to see what else I missed. Maybe there will be more books on California.

Snow Day

While the Mid-West is experiencing the Polar Vortex, a weather phenomenon that Californias would never understand or for that matter survive. Here in Southern California, we are experiencing a very wet winter. How wet? Let’s just say we may be recovering from our eternal drought. I can’t remember when was the last time we had so many rainy days. I am finally using the raincoat I paid a ridiculous amount of money for and never use in previous winter seasons. We may even have a super bloom if wildflowers. The best part of this wet winter is the amount of snow our mountains are getting.

In our local mountains, we found evidence of snow at the 3,000-foot level. Is no surprise that the local mountain resorts are booming with business. This weekend we decided to pull our snow gear from storage and check out the snow in the mountains.

I have to say it has been over a decade since I last used my snow gear same goes for Vic. Both him and I found our snow gear and prepared it for a snow day up in the mountains. He decided to wash is boots before wearing them. During the drying stage, his boots fell apart. I couldn’t stop laughing when he told me. He informed me he stored them in the garage where temperatures soar during the summer. He now needed new snow boots.

Meanwhile, in a plastic container in my apartment, my super warm boots looked almost brand new. I couldn’t wait to put them on and show Vic how well preserved my boots were. I put the boots on checked myself in the mirror and started to load the Jeep. The boots were a bit stiff but nothing I couldn’t get used to. The more I walked the more the boots started to feel comfortable, that is until I looked down.

My right boot started to fall apart, then my left boot. This was Karma for laughing a Vic. Vic could not stop laughing when he saw me walk up to him with my disintegrating boots. I guess he had the last laugh.

We loaded up the car took off and drove to Big Bear in the San Bernardino National Forest. What a day! Although it as cold (28 degrees) in some areas we dressed warmly. We attempted to do a little off-road but unlike the main roads, there were no snow plows clearing off the snow on the dirt path. We drove a little but returned back to the main road. Although Vic always makes sure we have enough recovery gear it is always best to have another car with you.

I had never made a snow angel so I leaned backward and landed on snow. It was fun but cold. We got back inside the car and drove to Big Bear City. We drove to the Discovery Center and then to The Village in downtown Big Bear to do some shopping. It was a great day. I hope the snow doesn’t melt and there is enough snow for next weekend.

I hope the snow doesn’t melt by next week.

To Bee or Not To Bee

It’s “Throwback Thursday,” a good time to share my travel stories from the past. This travel story is from 2017 when my man and I decided to go for an unplanned camping trip.

It was about 11:00 pm at night and we had just arrived at Blair Valley Campground. Never been to that campground before but we wanted to try something new so we decided to just go for it. After some trouble finding the campground (driving in circles on the main road), we found the main dirt road to the campground. We began our search to find a good place to camp hoping we didn’t wake up the campers already dead asleep. Thank God for a full moon since it made it easier to see at night without the need of turning on the car’s headlights. We found a site, unpacked the tents and went to sleep.

One of the campsites at Blair Valley Campground
The view from our side of the campground. Promise of shade was next to the mountains on the other side of the campground.
Dry wash
Found something interesting to photograph

In the morning the sunlight went through our tent and heated it up to the point it was unbearable. We were surrounded by huge shrubs but the shrubs did not produce enough shade. Since we couldn’t pick out a great campsite at night we decided to drive along the dirt path to look for a nice shaded place. We soon realized that finding shade in the desert was not going to happen so we looked at the mountains across this dry wash and decided that we would move next to the mountainside, at least get shade in the morning.

So we packed our things up and drove to the other side of the campground and drove along the mountainside in search of the perfect spot that would offer us morning shade. Every good spot was taken, that is until we found the most spacious campsite with a great view and promise of shade. We felt lucky to have found this spot and wonder why it was not taken. We began to unpack.

I started cooking while my man set up camp. I placed the water jug on top of a rock for easy access. I wanted to wash dishes standing up not crouching in the dirt. As I started cooking I see a bee hovering over the food. I paid little attention, this is normal when camping. As more bees started to hover over the food I started to think we might have a problem. I then ruled it off thinking that once I cleaned the dishes they would be gone since there would be no more food. Wrong! As I walk to the water jug on top of the rock I hear a low hum that became louder as I got near it.

This is the water jug when we first notice the beehive. The bees continued to come out, I didn’t take video of the water jug when it got worse for fear I would get stung.

It’s not until I look down that I see the hole in the ground underneath the rock. The bees were attracted to the water that was dripping down into their hive. Nothing like cool water to wake an entire beehive up in the morning. Since it is so hot in the desert the bees had to find a cool place to build their beehive. We were surrounded by hundreds of miles of desert and we were the lucky people to find a beehive in the middle of the desert.

I was forbidden by my man from getting the water jug for fear that I would get stung. The first time I was stung by a bee was while hiking in Cuyamaca Ranch State Park a few months prior to this camping trip. I felt the stinger break the sink on my cheek. I had to literally remove the bee from my face while my man removed the stinger still attached to my cheek. As the day went on I felt my cheek get hot and visually red. At the end of the day, I had forgotten about the bee sting and went on my way. It was not until two days later that I had a weird delay reaction to the bee sting. My check was numb and it felt hard to the touch I had this dark skin coloration that changed from greyish to purple with hints of yellow. It took days to recover. So when I saw the bees surrounding the water jug I had flashbacks of my first bee sting.

The bees continue to come out of their beehive and surround the water jug. There were so many that they formed a small bee cloud around the water jug which made it difficult to retrieve the water jug. We immediately packed our campsite leaving the water jug for last. When it was time to retrieve the water jug, my man reached for the water jug and retrieved it at lightning speed, he shoved it on top of the SUV and we drove as fast as we could to avoid the bees from following us.

Sometimes a place is too good to be true. I didn’t take many photos or videos of this place however maybe in the future I will go back and explore the area.