car camping in anza borrego

A couple of weeks ago we finally tested out our new mini-camper! I’m a total scaredy-cat when it comes to cold weather, so we’d been waiting for a few days that looked warm enough. I have almost every possible camping location within a 3-hour radius loaded up in the weather app on my phone, and am stalking them incessantly, so when we saw a 3-day window in Anza Borrego State Park with days in the 70s, we finally took Ellie on her inaugural voyage!

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En route to Anza Borrego!

Lily came with us as she was in town. We took much longer than planned to pack up the car, but finally hit the road (after turning back twice for a forgotten phone, then forgotten pillows!) and made it to the park around 4pm. We had decided to stay in Borrego Palm Canyon Campground because it looked like the Palm Canyon hike nearby was pretty, and because we liked the idea of staying somewhere a little nicer and more organized (ie decent bathrooms and a designated fire pit!) for our first trip with the e-camper. I was definitely inspired by this blog post to check out Anza Borrego, and we were so glad we went (thanks for the inspiration!!).

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Spot our site, right in the middle!

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At first we were a little disappointed with the campsite (112) we got – we arrived pretty late, a lot of the best sites were already taken and ours felt like it was right in the middle of a ton of other people. But it’s amazing how secluded it felt once the sun set – we couldn’t hear anyone and really felt like we were much further from the other campers than we were. We cooked dinner (hot dogs / veggie dogs with peppers & onions) and got the fire going, and sat around drinking box wine and talking until it was time to crash.

The next morning after a leisurely breakfast we set out on the Palm Canyon hike. It’s a relatively short hike but took us a long time as we kept stopping to look for the bighorn sheep that Anza Borrego is famous for, take photos and dip our feet in the stream. We also definitely veered off-course several times. It was easy to lose the “official” trail but also easy to keep traveling in the right direction.

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The palm canyon for which the trail is named was so lovely. A little oasis in the middle of the rocky, hilly desert. We stopped in the shade for a snack and a little rest before heading back to camp.

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The second night was windy and we had to make sure to secure all of our gear before going to sleep, but I was so grateful to be sleeping in the e-camper and not a tent! I can’t believe how well I slept that night. I don’t think I’ve ever been reluctant to get up while camping before, but I was so cozy that I wanted to stay in bed as long as possible! Fortunately, we spotted a group of bighorn sheep up high on the mountain behind our campsite, so I could watch them from where I lay as Ezra got his camera out and took some photos.

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We packed up to leave, but decided to stop and see the rust sculptures just outside the town of Borrego Springs before we left the park. Really cool  and impressive! And a little eerie to see stuff like this in the middle of nowhere.

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Driving home took so much longer than expected because of the crazy rain storm across Southern California… and it was really weird to come home from warm, dry desert days to a flooding Los Angeles! But it saved us on getting the car washed, so there’s always that silver lining. We had such a great time trying out our e-camper for the first time, and can’t wait to go again soon!

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