Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Tortoise hunt and move to Blythe, California

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 – Valentine’s Day – Location:  Albertsons parking lot in Blythe, CA

Last night, Eric cooked huge steaks,  baked beans and potatoes for dinner.  I brought over the remaining Julian apple pie and ice cream for dessert.  It was the best meal I’ve had in well over a month.  After dinner we sat inside and chatted for awhile, made plans to do some more tortoise hunting in the morning and called it a night.

It was around 10:30 in the morning that we got organized for our hunt.  Eric has always wanted to walk north over the berm and up to the mountains near the entrance to Joshua Tree NP.  So, that’s what we did. 

Here’s Eric and Shaena wandering around in the desert in search of the elusive tortoise.


As it turned out it was over two miles upslope to the foot of the mountains, so it was going to be at the limits of my hiking abilities.  As we walked along we didn’t see any burrows, but then Eric spotted one early in our hike and I’ll be darn if it didn’t have a tortoise hiding in there.  These desert tortoises are protected species so we couldn’t touch him.  I got as close as I could and took a photo of the burrow in hopes of getting him.  The sunlight was so bright today, I couldn’t see the replay screen, so just had to hope. 

What do you know!  Got a clear shot of her.  I’m thinking it is a female because the males have a long guard under their heads protruding from the shell.  This one doesn’t appear to have that.



I was just happy that the photo came out.  She is turned sideways in the burrow.  Probably heard us coming and was turning around to go deeper into the burrow.  Not quick enough.

As it turned out, we saw several more burrows but not one tortoise for the remainder of our hike.  There are the mountains we’re heading for.  The larger ones to the right in the photo.


As we got closer, we decided to head for the area with all the large boulders.  Right center of photo.


As we got closer, we could tell those boulders were huge and a lot of them.  Looks interesting.



Now the real fun begins.  These boulders are humongous!  Shaena is determined to climb to the top of the boulders.  Yuma isn’t so sure.


Wider view of what Shaena is climbing.



Shaena made it!


Not so sure if Eric has found the right path to the top.  I think he is just investigating the holes and crevices in hopes of finding a cave.


Yuma is saying this is a piece of cake.  These boulders are so big anyone can climb them.


After all this climbing, this is what we see.  The Chiriaco pass.  Way down at the bottom is I-10.  Off to the right through the pass is the Salton Sea.


If you thought we are at the top of the mountains, then look behind us.  We are way down on the first levels of these mountains.  We’re not young enough to make it to the very top.


Eric is pretty proud of himself.


Tried to topple this boulder, but to no avail!


Time for a little rest and water before we hike the over two miles back down the mountain slope.


The only thing of interest I found on the way down was this cluster of barrel cactus.  Never seen such a big cluster.  Nine of them.


After our long hike and climb, we came home to this.   This sign had been put in the entrance of our camping area.


Evidently, the water department is closing off this section to work on the pipeline near our camping area so we need to leave.  Since we were planning to leave in the morning anyway, I decided that if I was going to pack and move I might as well head east towards Blythe.   Eric and Shaena are going to stay the night and leave for Riverside, California early in the morning.

We said our goodbyes till next year and parted ways.  Had a good time and will miss those two wandering souls.  I wish them the best.

It was an hour drive to Blythe and I was in the Albertsons parking lot before dark around 5:30.  Just barely before dark though. 

I’m ready to post this blog and get something to eat for me and Yuma before going to bed.

See you later.


  1. Quite a hike you all had to day. That looked like one happy tortoise!I love the area with all the boulders. They are really beautiful. Too bad you got booted out of your spot. Happy Valentine's Day! ❤

    1. Thanks Dolly. Turned out to be a beautiful day for a hike. Temperature was warm but a nice cool breeze.

      Glad it was today we got booted and not the day we arrived.

      Happy Valentine's Day! 😘

  2. What great pictures. It would be wonderful to see a desert tortoise; glad your picture came out.Those boulders look huge and it is interesting how they are stacked. Yuma looks like he was having fun. So did your friends. Continued safe travels.

    1. Thank you. Exhausting hike and then a move at the end to top it off.

      Those boulders were large and fun to climb around in. I was really glad my tortoise photo came out. Those guys can hide. Rarely see them in the open desert. They feel you coming from a long way and move to their burrows.

  3. Very nice to get to hang out with some friends! Probably tired after that hike!Lucky to get to see one of those tortoise. Take care Dad. Love you.

    1. Thanks Steve. Long hike but enjoyable. Glad to see at least one tortoise. Love you.

  4. What a wonderful day. I've never seen a desert tortoise and will be looking for one in the future on our visits to that area.

    What a hike! Love the views from there. It's amazing how deceptive the distances are out here. Almost always a bigger hill to climb, isn't there?

    Is the whole BLM area closed or just the right side?

    Glad you had fun with friends! Always nice way to meet up with those you know and enjoy.

    Safe travels.

    1. Thanks Deb. They only closed two sites so everything else is still open. Crowded, so didn't try to find a place nearby for the night.

      There is a tortoise on the mountain side near you. That's where I found my first one. You have to be looking for them because they look like just another rock at first glance.

      The distance to the mountains is always further than it looks.

  5. What a fun visit you had there meeting with your friends again. And the hike looks pretty nice as well. Enjoy your time there and future travels on down the road.

    1. Thanks George. Tiring day but was fun. I'm glad I've gotten my hiking strength back to where I want it.

  6. Your friends hike with fairly large large back backs - look heavy. Yuma was up and down all over those boulders along with their 2 dogs. Good shot of the desert tortoise and steak dinners sound delicious. 🌵🌷🐢🐕😎

    1. Thanks Moonfly. Very observant. Eric carries a lot of weight because he's trying to get into shape and lose weight.

      He has been to this location for a number of years now but never felt strong enough to make the hike to these mountains.

      He felt so happy that he now has the strength to accomplish that goal.

      Maybe it was the steak😂.

  7. What a fun day with your friends! Great pictures! I love the photo of Gloria the tortoise in her burrow. Great job on the hike! Your pictures really help to tell us the story of your day! I love you!

    1. How did you know her name was Gloria?

      It was a fun day and I'm glad I feel strong enough to make these hikes now.

      Thank you. Love you too!

  8. I'm so glad your tortoise picture turned out so well! You completed that goal!
    What a cool hike that would be! Love the huge boulders, they look gritty smooth, if that makes sense. Yuma had fun and so did you and your friends.
    Too bad you had to move at the end of that hike but I'm sure that can't be helped.

    1. Thanks Patsy. Sure was glad when I pulled the pictures out of the camera there was one good one. Took a number just in case.

      Those were huge boulders and plenty of them too. Fun to scramble around on.

      Good to be back on the road again though.

  9. What a great day that was, and the pictures are outstanding! Your friends certainly look to be enjoying also! What a shame though you had to move at the end of the have more energy than me that's for sure. You do what you gotta do. Darn CA! Beautiful barrel cactus!

    1. Thanks Shirley. That was a unique group of barrel cactus.

      Wasn't fun having to move but couldn't be helped.

      My two friends and their two dogs had a great time. These young people! Yuma and I enjoyed the hike as well.

      Glad I got my tortoise.

  10. That was definitely a wonderful hike with your friends and a bonus being able to photograph the desert tortoise.
    The Water Department couldn't choose another site to work on. Too bad you had to move but now you're not too far from the "Q".
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  11. Thanks Rick. Definitely got my exercise. Glad we were able to find a tortoise and get a photo of it.

    Made it to Q this morning. Didn't drive here last night because I didn't want to search for a site in the dark.

  12. Hope the Electric Company doesn't disturb those Tortoise fellas. I've never seen a desert tortoise but at least now I have an idea where to look. Looks like you have begun your Eastward trek. Whenever we leave Borrego Springs we always figure that is the beginning of our long homeward journey.

    1. You're right Al. Already looking at points east. Always feel a little regret when I leave Borrego Springs.

      Those tortoises are sneaky guys. Hard to spot their burrows and really hard to catch one in the open.

  13. Wow! A desert tortoise. That would be so amazing to see. Great shot of her too. Thanks for showing us their burrows. I'll be checking if we ever get out that way.

    1. Thanks Dave. I was happy to see my photo of it come out so clearly. Eric and Shaena were the ones to show me where to look for them. They're pretty good at staying out of sight.

      Spent hours just to see this one.