Anza-Borrego Desert, CA

Mar 3rd, 2018 to Mar 10th, 2018
Cost: $880.00 Partner Organization(s): Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Service Type: Environmental Conservation Number of Participants: 10

Trip Logistics & Participant Requirements:

We will leave Charlottesville on Friday evening and head over to Austin’s house in Northern Virginia to spend the night. Early Saturday morning, we’ll fly out of Dulles Airport and arrive at Los Angeles where we’ll pick up our two rental cars, do some exploring, and then drive down to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park where we will set up our campsite – your new home away from home. On Sunday we’ll do some exploring around the park and Monday is the first day of our service work. Wednesday will most likely be our free day and we can go on a day trip to either San Diego or Joshua Tree depending on everybody’s interests. We want to make the most out of our visit to Anza-Borrego, so we plan on doing some adventuring every afternoon after our volunteer work depending on what everyone’s up for.

Our returning flight to Dulles will depart from Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon and we’ll be getting back to Northern Virginia Saturday evening. You’re welcome to spend the night at Austin’s house, somewhere else in the nearby area, or head back to Charlottesville once we get back to Dulles. Everyone will be back at UVA by Sunday.

We’re looking for participants at least as tough as John who gets teary-eyed watching Spiderman movies. The most important requirement is a positive, flexible attitude. Make sure to send any last minute texts to your friends before we arrive because we’ll be spending the week without service or, for the most part, technology (carrier pigeons will be provided for an additional fee). We will spend the whole week camping and working outdoors, and will be sleeping in tents and preparing all our meals over a campfire, which studies suggest is the quickest way to bond as a group. Since we’ll be in the desert, we will experience fairly warm days (mid 60s-70s F) and cooler nights (mid 40s F).


Service Activities

We expect to be working in coordination with environmental scientists and seasonal rangers to eradicate invasive species, as well as potentially performing trail maintenance and other much needed environmental conservation efforts. So get ready to do some intense weed-whacking against the backdrop of the Anza-Borrego scenery. the We might also get the chance to work in the cultural resources or paleontology programs.


Recreational Activities

Walk along Mission Beach in San Diego, hike through the canyons and to the summits of Anza-Borrego’s many trails offering expansive vistas, stroll down the Hollywood Boulevard and Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, experience the sunset against the California red rocks and watch the stars emerge, and everyone’s favorite – eat some ice cream. If the park’s trail names mean anything, then we’re in for quite a ride. Bring your fire-proof jackets to Hellhole Canyon, watch your back in Coyote Valley, breeze through the Wind Caves, and bring all of your CA radness to Cool Canyons. There are so many places to go and things to see near Anza-Borrego we’ll never get bored. But don’t worry, we’ll get to do some hardcore bonding around the campfire too, so bring your playing cards and whip out those recorders and bongos from 6th grade because we’re gonna be jamming. We’ll also be visiting during peak wildflower season (not to be confused with wildfire) so get ready to do some flower watching. Word on the street is the valley is scattered with rusty twisted metal sculptures of dragons so be on the lookout.  


Regional Background

Anza-Borrego Desert is California’s largest state park and is known for its expansive terrain, paleontological research, and wide array of plant and animal life. The park was established in the early 1930s, named after Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza, and with the support of the Anza-Borrego Foundation is dedicated to the preservation of the unique desert landscape. You can find washes, wildflowers, palm groves, and cacti within the park’s expansive 600,000 acres (it’s one-fifth the size of San Diego county!). It is also home to roadrunners, golden eagles, kit foxes, mule deer, and bighorn sheep as well as iguanas and chuckwallas, which are cooler version of iguanas.


Community Background

The Anza-Borrego Desert area has a rich cultural history. There is evidence that Native American tribes have been living there for up to 12,000 years, including the Cahuilla, Cupeño, Diegueño, and Kumeyaay. They are known for their expressive petroglyph and pictogram rock art depicting historical ceremonies, the fears and joys of life, and the mysticism of the supernatural. These works of art have only been rediscovered in the last 25 years and are thus very well preserved. Once the 18th century Spanish conquest reached this area, many of the Indians entered the Franciscan missions which affected local populations. The acquisition of the region by Mexico followed by the California Gold Rush further displaced and impoverished the native tribes. During the 19th century, as more native peoples entered the California workforce, they faced discrimination and low wages. We hope to gain a greater insight on the heritage of these native tribes and a deeper understanding of their story.


About the Site Leaders

Austin (amb6sg) is a 3rd year in the engineering school studying Computer Science. He met John in fourth grade and can’t quite seem to get rid of him. He led the Grand Canyon trip last year and is excited to head out to California this time. Austin has also been on the ASB trip to Moab and a camping safari in Africa so he loves the great outdoors. Despite his ability to trip over almost anything, there’s nothing he enjoys more than a good hike with some great people. If he’s not adventuring outside, you can probably find him jamming on his sax or petting a stranger’s dog. You can’t stalk him on Facebook, but rumor has it if you search hard enough, there’s a super awkward picture of him in band class back in the day. He can’t cook to save his life but he can make some mean nugs. The key is to flip them over halfway through putting them in the oven to get that nice crunchy texture on the outside and juicy in the inside.

John (jfp5ut) is a 3rd year English and Economics major who’s more excited to talk to you about his Philosophy minor. He lives in Gooch making sure his residents’ knives are less than 4 inches and their fish are non-aggressive. He went to California once as an angsty pre-teen going through an Avril Lavigne phase. He may still be in that phase. He went on ASB’s Charleston trip his first year then led it (with major Dad vibes) his second year. He met Austin in fourth grade when he transferred to his elementary school then followed him to high school then college.