Sand to Sky Family Discovery Weekend at the Yurts

Saturday, January 24, 2015 - 6:30pm to Sunday, January 25, 2015 - 12:00pm

This class has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience.


Instructors Dennis Mammana and Paul Johnson
$105 Public / $95 ABF Members / $90 Children 12 and Under

Upgrade your desert experience by staying overnight in cozy, rustic yurts at the base of Borrego Palm Canyon! This season, ABF is offering three overnight courses that offer an in-depth look at the many sides of Anza-Borrego. All activities are based out of the yurts inside Borrego Palm Canyon Campground.

Participants share quarters in traditional yurts (round canvas structures on concrete pads with a wooden lattice framework and canvas roof). Each yurt is outfitted with four twin-size cots with 5-inch foam pads. Toilets are onsite and a restroom building with showers is just a short walk away.

Price includes two days of instruction, a one-night stay in a yurt and entry into Borrego Palm Canyon’s day-use area. All meals are on your own, there is a covered picnic area available for meal preparation.

Stargazing from Yurt Camp – Saturday, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Enjoy the night sky over California’s only International Dark Sky Community with astronomer Dennis Mammana.  On this fun evening you will learn to read a star map and find your way around the night sky, and will peer far into the galaxy (and beyond!) with the power of a 14-inch telescope.  Please bring a flashlight with red LEDs or covered with a deep-red cellophane to protect night vision.

Morning Nature Walk – Sunday, 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
As Borrego Palm Canyon Creek leaves the narrow confines of the canyon, it divides into several branches. One of those branches heads in a long wide curve to the north east, following the base of a 2,000 foot high rocky ridge. The group, with Naturalist Paul Johnson, will follow that branch on a leisurely walk to see the plants and animals which live along an active wash. Along the way we’ll look for bighorn sheep, birds, rabbits, ground squirrels, and maybe a coyote or two. There will also be dramatic views of recent landslides and the evidence of flash floods in and near the drainage we will follow.

Because of the runoff from the canyon and rain which often falls near the steep rocky ridges, this area has an especially luxurious display of desert trees and shrubs. We will sample a wide variety of these unique desert plants, to include ocotillo, desert willow, creosote bush, desert lavender, cholla cactus, smoke tree, and many others. If there has been winter rain, there is a chance we will see some early wildflowers along the walk.

While we will be walking off-trail for most of this hike, the terrain is easy walking in sandy washes. There will be a few cacti and scratchy shrubs, so you may want to wear heavy shoes or boots and long pants. The weather in January is often chilly, so bring layers of clothing, a hat, plenty of water and a snack. You may also want to carry a camera and binoculars.

Total hiking distance will be approximately 2.5 miles. We will meet at the Yurts in Borrego Palm Canyon and start the walk from that point.     

Classes Will Meet: Both class sessions will start at the yurts, so simply be ready for the session at the time indicated.

Information on check-in and other logistics will be included in an email you will receive after registration confirmation.

Participants staying at the yurts should bring the following items:
Food for all meals
Camp or cook stove and fuel
Sleeping bag / pillow / bedding
Flashlight, headlamp, and/or electric lantern
Camp chair
Reusable water bottle
Camp mug or cup
Personal toiletries
Shower towel/hand towel
Libations or other drink