Walter and Sara Let the good times roll
We left off in Part I, in San Diego ready to go to the Wild Animal Park aka San Diego Safari Park. We had another perfect day, in this case a few high clouds to cool things off so it wasn’t too hot to spend the day hiking around the park.

It was a Monday and there were very few people there. In fact, we got a parking space in one of the lots that was within sight of the entrance—unheard of in our past visits. There was no wait in line to get our tickets either and the grounds were fairly empty too.

A keeper had a caracal out for a demonstration and there were only a handful of folks standing watching so I got in close to take a photo. Here he’s eating baby foot off of her finger. These are gorgeous cats with tufts on their ears, who can leap in the air to catch birds.

Caracal at San Diego Safari Park

We wandered along through the displays and out to the entrance to the tram that goes out into the park. Tracy took this photo of us before we took the elevator down to the tram.

Walter Cooke and Sara Schurr San Diego Safari Park

The sun was glary but we were happy.

Here’s a panorama shot of the park from where we were standing.

San Diego Safari Park tram entrance platform

The tram ride is a wonderful way to get an introduction to the variety of animals here and to take photos of antelopes that you later can’t remember the names of. There were seats waiting for us when we walked up and we only had to wait a few minutes before the tram was full and we were on our way.

To start out there was this great Western Ruppell’s Vulture mantling his wings.

Western Ruppell’s Vulture San Diego Safari Park

And a white rhino being lazy. The park has done a wonderful job breeding all sorts of rhinos.

White rhino San Diego Safari Park

The giraffe’s were out too because it was feeding time. One of the expensive new safaris you can take at the park, takes you out on the savanna to feed the giraffes.

Giraffes San Diego Safari Park

When we got to the area with all the antelopes, there was this new mother standing behind a tree with her baby nestled at the base of it. I think she’s a Bongo but I could be wrong. In any case, the baby was very sweet. Our tram driver said she’d been born in the night so she was very new.

Bongo antelope and fawn San Diego Safari Park

On the north side of the tram route we went past a collection of critters that included this big dude. I don’t know what kind of deer he is but he sure has a swell rack. I think he was some kind of Asian deer but I’m not sure.

Exotic stag San Diego Safari Park

At the end of the tram ride we got an even better view of the giraffes including some youngsters.

Giraffes and youngsters San Diego Safari Park

The trail leads past the lion enclosure when you get of the tram and there was big daddy conked out on the top of the old jeep they have for them to climb on.

Lion asleep San Diego Safari Park 

Lion asleep on a Jeep San Diego Safari Park   

Isn’t he just the perfect picture of peaceful slumber?

As we hiked our way up to Condor Ridge we passed this Kilimanjaro Oryx posing for us.

Kilimanjaro Oryx San Diego Safari Park

The condors were hiding up in amongst the trees in their enclosure but we got a great view of the park and the surrounding hills. The plant collection up on the ridge is really wonderful with lots of palms and other cool stuff.

Condor Ridge Panorama San Diego Safari Park

On our way down from Condor Ridge we stopped to visit the elephants who were out in force on our end of their large enclosure.

One was searching for loose bits of hay under the railing and I couldn’t resist taking a photo of his trunk at work.

Elephant trunk at work San Diego Safari Park

There was a very young calf who was great fun to watch.

Elephant calf and mom San Diego Safari Park

He spent some time pestering this other slightly older guy but they still had a lot of fun.

Elephant calves San Diego Safari Park

The last stop on our way out was the flamingo lagoon. They were dancing—moving their heads back and forth and up and down and I had to try to capture it—imagine ballet music and watch their heads bob.

Flamingos San Diego Safari Park

We had hoped that the gorgeous weather would hold and we could go camping for a couple of days at Carlsbad State Beach but a small front came through with a forecast for rain and fog at the beach. So we headed inland to Anza Borrego State Park instead.

The first day it was a little cloudy and we got our new folding bikes out and rode them around the campground. They are really fun to ride. The folks in the campsite next to us were serious bicyclists. They spend an entire month in Borrego riding their bikes. They had a tandem bike and two singles and he does work on tandems for folks. He spent a lot of time looking at our new bikes and pronounced them very well made and perfect for what we wanted to use them for. In fact, he was so impressed with them he came back twice to tell us how great he thought they were.

Here’s Rosita and Fernando basking in the sun the next morning. Gorgeous weather AGAIN.

Rosita Casita at Anza Borrego Campground

That morning we took a hike to Pena Springs up in the Culp Valley which is part of the park. We’d originally thought we’d camp up there but decided it might be too cold since it’s at about 3,000 feet. Once we saw how primitive the road was in the campground we were glad we’d opted for the main campground down in the bottom of the valley. Rosita is hardy but she doesn’t have a lot of clearance and we wouldn’t want to get her stuck in a rut!

Walter Cooke at Pena Springs trailhead Anza Borrego

We didn’t find Pena Springs, which the trail guide said were very hard to find, but we had a good time hiking round in the hills and looking under likely bushes and watching the birds.

Here’s a panorama shot of the area we hiked through.

Pena Springs area Anza Borrego State Park

After our hike we found a spot to have our lunch. Here’s the view we had. Not bad huh?

Anza Borrego

On the way back down to our campsite we stopped at a view point that gives you a view of the valley that is Anza Borrego. It’s a huge park and wonderful if you like desert.

Panorama of Anza Borrego valley

In Part III, taking a drive around Borrego Springs, the town down there in the center of the valley, to look at the collection of incredible sculptures that are installed all around edges of the town.