2011 Trip Report - DE Rendezvous - Truckhaven
Saturday, April 2
Leader: Ted Kalil
This run was an option at the Rendezvous which was in addition to the several other runs that day. We met at the front of the Palm Canyon Resort and left a little after 9:00 a.m. In the group were Rick and Sharon Cords, Mal and Jean Roode, Neal and Marian Johns together with their dog Felice, and my wife Sue and I with our dog Cole. We happened to be leaving the same time as the wildflower group and followed them east on S 22 until they turned north while we continued on. Shortly before we came to the microwave tower we turned at the Calcite Mine Road entrance where some of us aired down, and we discussed our itinerary. The group elected to go to the Calcite Mine so we started out.
That road is an authorized route in the Anza Borrego Wilderness Area but is a bit rougher than the easy green trail promised; I’d rate it light blue intermediate. Everyone made it to the mine without any problem, though, but Mal noticed the Cords’ camper moving a little when it shouldn’t be moving. At the mine site, Rick checked his tie down, found it loose and tightened it. Shortly after we arrived at the mine site, we were lucky enough to see six bighorn sheep on a nearby hilltop, again catching sight of them a little later - a rare treat. We tried calling to them but no one could make a ewe turn.
This wasn’t your typical mine; mineral extraction was done by digging long deep gashes into the earth to find the veins. When you first look at the digs they appear to be severe erosion, but after you’ve identified one, you begin to see them in many places. Calcite is a type of quartz that was important in World War II for its optical properties and was used on gunsights and other such applications. It can be highly reflective of light; when you initially look at the ground you might wonder who broke a bottle there.
Following this, we returned on the same route but then turned east on the South Fork of Palm Wash looking for the Four Palms area. It’s not right on the trail, and although we found the right area, we’d have had to do a little cross country wheeling to get there, so we passed on that. We climbed out of the wash at the North Marina Drive area, going on to the Arco Station where most of us topped off our tanks.
Since everyone had chosen to eat out, we then went across the street to the Alamo Mexican Restaurant – short on ambience but good on food. We ate outside in their patio area, and anything we couldn’t stuff ourselves with was boxed up. Maybe some dogs even got to eat the leftovers later; maybe not.
From there, we went west on Coral Wash first stopping at the Arch that you can drive through if you don’t have a camper. There was a bypass used by the Johns and a short way further up was the Tether Ball, a landmark that’s been around many years. Occasionally it gets vandalized as it was today: the ball and tether were missing. I’m sure someone will eventually put new ones on, as has happened in the past. Continuing up the wash, we came in sight of the Telephone Booth, not actually a booth but the type that sits on a post without an enclosure, the kind that the movie Superman had a problem with in trying to change into his outfit. It’s on the top of a high hill that has a very difficult access trail; we didn’t try. A little further on was the Street Sign, an actual sign from somewhere posted atop a little hill you can’t easily access, and which is part of a larger play area surrounding it.
Back out on Coral Wash to the Truckhaven Trail, part of the original route that connected the Salton Sea with Borrego Springs. That Trail ultimately joins S 22 and from there we went back towards home, turning at the entrance to Font’s Point, named after Father Pedro Font, the Anza expedition’s chaplain. aaaaViews from this point were awesome: extreme badlands below; Mexico to the south, the Santa Rosa Mountains to the northwest, and the Salton Sea to the east. This was the climax of the day and from there we returned to the resort, our great dinner, and excellent speaker. If anyone was dissatisfied with the day’s activities, they didn’t say so in time for a refund.