Lori Carey Photography

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

Stone concretions at the Pumpkin Patch in Ocotillo Wells near Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California

Wowee I have been out doing so much shooting lately that I can barely keep up with processing, let alone blog about it...I need to start catching up!

We were in Anza-Borrego two weekends ago to photograph the Lyrid meteor showers. It was 106+ degrees out there and not fun. My husband joined me on this trip and he was a pretty good sport about it. One thing about going to Anza-Borrego, which is in the Colorado desert region of the larger Sonoran desert, as opposed to the Mojave is proximity to civilization; good or bad depending on your viewpoint. In this case it was an advantage because we decided to run into town (Borrego Springs) for some ice cream in the afternoon when the heat was making us cranky. We spent the day checking out some trails in the Badlands area before setting up to watch the meteor showers at Vista del Mapais, a lesser-known viewpoint overlooking the Badlands.

The photo above is of some of the sandstone concretions in an area of Ocotillo Wells adjoining Anza-Borrego Desert State Park known as the Pumpkin Patch. It is said that the concretions form in a manner similar to pearls, started by a piece of shell, a grain of sand or even an insect. The concretions in the Pumpkin Patch were formed in the sediments of the ancestral Colorado River some three million years ago. Natural erosion caused by wind and rain gradually reveals the strange formations. The largest patch of them are fenced in to protect them, but erosion continues to reveal more of them up on the hillsides.

If you want to go see them, take the trail through the Arroyo Salado Campground into the Arroyo Salado Wash. At 3.5 miles from pavement make a right at the turnoff for 17 Palms Oasis. Continue past 5 Palms Oasis and when you reach the next junction at Tule Wash, stay left following the wash until you reach the Pumpkin Patch on the right. An unexpected added bonus is a very clean bathroom located at the site. The trail is deep loose sand and 4WD is strongly recommended.

These type of globular masses can be found throughout the southwestern deserts. A few other places to see stone concretions in the Anza-Borrego area are Arroyo Tapiado, Arroyo Seco del Diablo and Cannonball Wash.

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