Picacho Peak


Desert Southwest with Ken & Carmen
Feb 25-26, 2005
Guide- Bob Miller

Two days of fun in the sun.  Salton Sea, Imperial Valley, Imperial Sand Dunes and a trek in the Algodones Dunes Wilderness Area.

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

Day 2 - Saturday (continued)

"Garden of Eden" pocket

In 2004 I had a Western Scrub-Jay in here and this year there were ~six Green-tailed and ~eight Spotted Towhees.

One of the most awesome pockets in the dunes is called the Garden of Eden.  It is not very big but it is very dense for the middle of a desert!

Red-tailed Hawk nest

Red-tailed Hawk

This Red-tailed Hawk nest had three babies in it later in the year.  The adults like to fly over and scream at you! I have seen about eight Red-tailed Hawk nests and as many if not more Great Horned Owl nests in the dunes this year.

In some spots 35 foot tall trees were completely covered over by climbing vines and the vegetation was too dense to pass between trees. 

Pocket full of Apricot Mallow

Knee deep in wild!

A storm cell moving across the Chocolate Mountains was about 12 miles away from us.  All water that flows off this face of those distant mountains stops here at the foot of the dunes in the "pockets."

Black Mountain

Watching the rain fall on the distant mountains it was easy to see how the waters could run up against the dunes and become trapped in the pockets.

Chocolate & Black Mountains


Carmen & Ken

Out of the dunes and back to the Salton Sea!

Obsidian Butte, Salton Sea

Ken suggested a book I should read.  I read it.  WOW!  I have been exploring these deserts my whole life and have always had a thing about seeing water in the desert.  A man named Craig Childs has put it all into words for me!   "The Secret Knowledge of Water" It should be required reading for anyone who sets foot in the desert southwest and I highly recommend it to all.

Rock Hill


We took a walk out Rock Hill Trail at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR in hopes of finding one of the very few Yellow-footed Gulls that wintered at the Salton Sea this year.

Obsidian Butte, Ring-billed Gulls

Did not find the Yellow-footed Gull but did get to see several hundred thousand Ring-billed Gulls going out to raft on the sea.  A sweet sunset made up for it!

Salton Sea

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Photos Bob Miller