Posted by: Brendan | January 4, 2010

Birthday Overnighter in Coyote Canyon

Dave & I left Idyllwild on Saturday and found our way to Borrego Springs on Sunday…

Mary helped work the logistics for this this trip- big thanks to her as we go into Baby Alert status. We arranged a meeting time in Borrego Springs on Sunday with her and turned off the cell phones at Paradise Corners. We started out on familiar trails in the greater Idyllwild area- some good stuff close to the Enduro route.

The singletrack was beautful…

…and tough.

dirt roads, 4wd roads…

dropping in

We arrived at camp a bit early so we decided to go exploring in Alder Canyon

The creek was flowing strong, good water for morning coffee!

We called Bailey’s Cabin home for the night. The cabin is an old cattleman’s shelter that’s been maintained by volunteers over the years. It is free to use but visitors are asked to tread lightly and clean up after themselves. We’re lucky that places like it still exist today.

We had some visitors Saturday night- two guys who were probably of drinking age & their three teen-something lady friends. They were friendly but didn’t stay too long. Somehow, in a twist of good fortune, we ended up drinking their beer while they split wood for our fire! True story.

Dave hooked up a tasty treat consisting of rice, seaweed, and Japanese fish.
For breakfast, we enjoyed warm burritos and coffee.

We bid the cabin farewell after a great night and headed down canyon- past the road’s end. The middle 10 miles or so of canyon were an exercise in route-finding & not-getting flat tires. The Middle Willows- a rich bird habitat & palm oasis- were thick, wet, and cool at the day’s peak heat.

We emerged from the Middle Willows a short distance from the top of the southern access point into the canyon. It’s a jeeper’s paradise, with lots of rock crawling and hidden gems to find. Because it’s so tough, we only saw a handful of other people with 4wd rigs. We explored just a bit of Cougar Canyon- enough to know we want to go back to the area called “Land of a Thousand Springs”

The Ocotillos were in bloom after the rains a few weeks ago.

We ended up “racing” a few jeepers down the canyon for a bit. They could move pretty quick. on the smooth stuff but once we got to a long rock garden descent we had the edge. 🙂

We arrived at First Crossing ready for a splash in cool water. The water was up to the top of my 29″ tire at the deepest point. Last year, when Mary & I attempted this as a loop it was up to our fork crowns!

After First Crossing the canyon flattened & smoothed out. We settled in to a desert cruise.

We exited the park and rendezvoused with Mary at just the right time. After a quick stopover at a fruit stand we found our way to a Mexican joint with stiff margaritas.

Thanks to all my friends and family for making it a great year and a happy birthday.



  1. Nice photos and I’m so glad you guys had a good run of the canyon. It’s always fun to pick you two up when your smiles go from ear to ear and you both have so many stories to tell. Cheers to another birthday and another fun year coming up. We just gotta figure out how to get the baby trailer down the canyon next time 😉 Happy Birthday Brendan!

  2. Rad birthday trip!

  3. Thanks for the recap! Sure beat the little 20 miler we did yesterday…Temps in the teens kinda kill the ride buzz.

  4. Thanks again and a thousand more times, Mary. The pick up at the bottom (and associated cold beverages) sure beat the heinous climbing up Montezuma’s Grade and Lost Valley that we did a year ago.

    Jim- Oddly enough, there’s a (small) part of me that actually misses 20 degree rides… maybe you need an early spring trip the Desert Southwest to get your blood flowing this season.

  5. Happy New Year and Happy Birthday, B!

    Trying to plan a trip to Cali sometime mid-2010…

  6. Nice write up. Awesome pics. I especially like the green bike 🙂

  7. […] B has a writeup here. […]

  8. […] on as he claimed it would take 12 hours.  We departed just after 4 pm and headed into the sandy Coyote Canyon.  The wind howled as high wind advisory was in effect.  Mt San Jacinto loomed in the distance and […]

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