Discovering the Magic: Sheep Canyon 2006

(2/24/06) The guys knew it was going to be a tough hike going into it. The weather predictions of a cold front coming through with rain and freezing temperatures swung the needle on the tough gauge a few more notches.

On our way there, snow silently hit the windshield and the car skidded on the ice a few times. We couldn't resist but to stop at Cuyamaca Lake and play in the snow a little. It was quite a contrast to the beautiful Anza Borrego Desert weather where we started our hike a couple hours later Saturday morning on President's Day weekend.

After we walked across a wide stream bed, climbed up a rocky revine, and meandered across Collins Valley, we reached my favorite campsite at the mouth of Cougar Canyon and set up base camp. Shortly thereafter we started our day hike through Cougar Canyon checking out the waterfalls, Temescal caves, and palm groves.

In the evening we had a fabulous mexican fiesta with chicken fajitas, mexican rice, beans, and a few bottles of wine and afterwards enjoyed Andy's incredible home-made Baklava around the campfire as we shared stories.

Fortunately the only time it rained was that night while we we're asleep. The next day was action packed with an aggressive day-hike hike up to Sheep Canyon South Fork and then backpack to our next campsite location up Sheep Canyon main fork to Sheep Canyon Bowl. I think everyone was stunned at the difficulty of the hike. Its one thing to read warning-will-robinson on the trip notes, but another to actually experience it. Fortunately, everyone caught their breath in the evening as we hovered around the campfire that night and engaged in some very juicy topics.

The following morning we we're blessed with a cloudless sky and the bowl warmed up quickly in the early morning dawn. On the way back down Sheep Canyon, we stopped at my favorite resting spot to soak in the rays and play in the stream. Everyone in the group agreed that it was paradise. We could have easily passed the rest of the day there sunbathing.

The hike out of Sheep Canyon went very quick. We reached the trailhead just after lunch and then had a last hurray meal at Carlees in Borrego Springs.

To summarize, the trip was absolutely phenomenal. But why read my boring trip report; the music video captures the trip better than I can ever explain.

Special thanks to Andy for all his help in planning, scouting, and assisting in this trip. Also thanks to Nathan for his picture contributions labeled Nathan.