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A Summer Haboob in Borrego Springs

Updated: Sep 11, 2021

We visit Borrego Spr. at least once during the summer for some sensible walking, swimming, dawn tracking in the dunes, and we're always hopeful for a thunderstorm. A good series of thunderstorm cells rumbled across the Salton Sea area on Aug. 31 and Borrego Springs received the 'outflow boundary' results in the form of a 'haboob'. Basically, it's a dust storm created by thunderstorm downdrafts and resulting atmospheric ripples radiating out from the storm. Arizona is famous for them. It quickly went from a sunny afternoon to a flying debris apocalypse with 50 mph winds in short order.

One of our favorite things to do in summer is get up before dawn and head out to some dunes to look for animal tracks. Sidewinders are particularly special. This is a sidewinder 'lay' or bed. Based on the sharp details showing the segments of the scales, we just missed finding this snake.

A sidewinder trail. The snake was moving towards the photographer, with its head to the left.

Nothing beats Borrego Valley light.

It had rained lightly here, west of Font's Point. The tracking substrate was great.

More great Borrego Valley light.


One of the washes had new mud (!) and we found kit fox tracks. It had stopped to drink from a puddle and left a bunch of tongue marks in the mud.

More kit fox tracks. They have a lot of fur on their feet, compared with gray fox. Probably an adaptation to deal with heat and loose sand. Think snowshoes.

Rabbit tracks.

One of the washes. We took off our shoes and had a great barefoot journey and 'mud treatment' down the wash.

Some kind of metallic wood-boring beetle, adapted for creosote camoflauge.

Some of the hills behind downtown Borrego Springs, above the churches.

Hard to lose each other that morning.

Indianhead in the background. I usually wear a mask for moisture retention in hot weather. Ahead of the times.

Patterns left in mud by foam popping.

Coyote slide.

More coyote.

Creosote midge gall.

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