Anza-Borrego Retreat


WeMoveQuoteJoin us for a weekend of camping, relaxation and light hiking in Anza Borrego Desert State Park!

MEETING: In lieu of a planning meeting, all participants will receive a phone call from a representative of WillTrek. The official itinerary, pack-lists, and other important information, etc will be discussed. Participation in this logistical detail is mandatory. If you prefer to meet in person, please inform us as soon as possible!

The General Plan:
Friday, November 15th: Depart from Wardance Training Center, drive to Anza-Borrego. Once we arrive and set up camp, we’ll go on an afternoon hike before returning to the campsite and settling in around the campfire. Dinner? Turkey-Gumbo!

Saturday, November 16th: Rise with the morning sun, but wake up with some coffee/tea. We will break our fast with a bit of a splurge… wait for it… pancakes – OHYEAH! Don’t worry though, because we’ll need the energy to spend the entire day on our feet – hiking, exploring, participating in custom workshops and general jollity. Lunch: a middle-of-nowhere picnic. If the ants don’t carry us away, we will play a bit with our camera settings and find good spot to watch the sunset. Dinner on Saturday – Butternut Stew. It’s in season.

Sunday, November 17th: All good things must come to an end – but we don’t need to bug out so quickly. We’ve reserved this day to drag our feet. Once we pack up the campsite, we’ll have most of the day to grab another hike or, perhaps, hit some of the more touristy spots in the area. Let’s leave this day open and see what strikes our fancy!

We’ll drive back sometime that afternoon/evening, returning to Wardance Training Center. Hopefully we’ll be ready to return to our urban lives, feeling refreshed and reset, although – sure – probably a bit tired and wanting our comfy beds and a steamy shower, but also satisfied and enriched by our experience together in such a striking and alien environment.

Getting There

Where are we going?
  • The closest town is Borrego Springs, CA.
  • Population: approx. 2,500 with maybe 1,000 seasonal residents – Elevation: approx. 600 ft.
  • Many describe Borrego Springs as a Palm Springs that existed 50 years ago.
  • There are 2 shopping malls, several restaurants, accommodations of every kind and unique shops.
  • There are no stop lights in Borrego Springs and night time lighting is kept to a minimum to protect the extraordinary magnificence of the starlit sky.
Where is Anza-Borrego Desert State Park?
  • From Costa Mesa: approx. 135-150 Miles depending on the route (2 1/2 to 2 3/4 Hr drive) – Basically, we’ll take the 55/91 to 15 Sorth, past Lake Elsinore, and through Temecula. From there, we take Rt. 79 behind Palomar Mountain State Park, to State Road 22 into Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (link to map)
  • Borrego Springs and Anza-Borrego are quite isolated. It’s between a whole-lot-a-nothin’ to the North, a little-more-but-not-really-anything to the South; and some interstates through the desert to either side. This is important because cell phone service may be spotty, making communication and impromptu group coordination more difficult.
Car Pooling
  • We have two sedans to transport everyone and their gear.
  • Please note, the train will leave on time.
  • The departure time & location, and any individual carpools to the “launch point” will be arranged at via the logistics meeting/phone call.

The Campground

Borrego Palm Canyon Campground

Palm Canyon CampgroundBorrego Palm Canyon Campground is an ideal place to stay. It’s located right in the center of the park, the campground is just a short walk from the main visitor center, the Borrego Palm Oasis Trailhead and the adjacent town of Borrego Springs.

  • There are 148 sites, including ADA accessible sites, RV sites, Horse sites and group sites.
  • Campfires are allowed, unless there is a Wild Fire Danger advisory.
  • Campsites do not have much shade. (However, each site does have a permanent ‘shade structure’ over the picnic table.)
  • There are toilets, showers, trash receptacles, fresh water and picnic tables at the campground.


Because we will be “car camping”, our tents and group gear can be left at the campsite each day. However, each person should have and carry their own personal gear in a small day-pack – while storing their excess clothing and whatnot in their tent. The expected weather conditions will be discussed and a ‘check-the-box’ style pack-list will be provided during the logistical meeting.

Personal Gear:
  • Hiking Boots & an old pair of sneakers for hiking in the water!!
  • Comfy Day-Pack
  • Refillable Water Bottles/Hydration Bladder
  • GOOD Socks (+ carry an extra pair)
  • Headlamp/Flashlight
  • Small Knife, Matches, Small First Aid, TP
  • Sunglasses, Sunscreen & Lipbalm with SPF
  • Map/Compass/GPS
  • Hiking Poles?
  • Camera? Watch? MP3?
  • Bandana? useful
  • Extras (laces, batteries, contacts, etc…)

Group Gear:
  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Pillow
  • Earplugs? For sleeping.
  • Books, cards, games, hammock, etc.
  • Travel Mug
  • Food (see Menu item below)

As the saying goes: USE LAYERS!!
  1. Base Layer: Your base layer should be made of merino wool (popularized by brands such as SmartWool, Ibex and Icebreaker), or synthetic fabrics (such as REI MTS, Capilene, PowerDry and CoolMax polyester). Rather than absorbing moisture, these fabrics transport (or “wick”) perspiration away from your skin, dispersing it on the outer surface where it can evaporate. The result: You stay drier even when you sweat, and your shirt dries faster afterwards.
  2. Insulation Layer: The insulating layer helps you retain heat by trapping air close to your body. Polyester fleece, merino wool and goose down are excellent insulators. Polartec 100, 200 or Thermal Pro polyester and other synthetic insulations such as Thinsulate provide warmth for a variety of conditions. These are popular insulators because they’re lightweight, breathable and insulate even when wet. They also dry faster and have a higher warmth-to-weight ratio than even wool. Classic fleece’s main drawbacks are wind permeability and bulk (it’s less compressible than other fabrics).
  3. Shell Layer: The shell or outer layer protects you from wind, rain or snow. An outer shell is an important piece in bad weather, because if wind and water are allowed to penetrate to your inner layers, you begin to cool off. Furthermore, without proper ventilation, perspiration can’t evaporate but instead condenses on the inside of your shell. Obviously, your shell layer should be roomy enough to fit easily over other layers and not restrict your movement.

Before & After the Climb
  • We suggest that you wear a set of comfortable clothes in the car on the way there, change when we arrive, and reserve that same car outfit for the ride home.
  • Each night, change into and sleep in your base layer for the next day.
  • Insulation layers and shell layers can be worn more than once, so don’t bring more than you need.
  • Pack your clothes in a small duffel bag, and your technical gear in your daypack.
  • Bring sandals, or something kind to the feet, for around camp and in the car.
  • Bring a small towel for freshening up (i.e. bird-bath style) or using the shower facilities.

An Example of “Layers”:
  • Base Layer: Polypropylene Underwear & Under Armor Wicking T-Shirt
  • Insulation Layer: Light-weight Fleece Pullover & Synthetic Zip-Off Travel Pants
  • Shell Layer: Warm Jacket/Rain Shell
  • Peripherals: Sun Hat


A list of prospective hikes and activities will be presented at the logistical meeting. From there, participants can decide which workshops they prefer and how active or educational the retreat will be.

ConquerOurselvesPossible workshops include:

  • Wilderness First Aid
  • Cooking for Camping
  • Tips on Mastering the Farmer’s Market
  • Compass Navigation
  • Yoga
  • Desert Photography
  • Scavenger Hunt

Possible hikes/activities include:

  • The Borrego Palm Oasis
  • Calcite Mine
  • The Slot
  • Dry Lake Beds
  • Mud Caves
  • Wind Caves
  • Galleta Meadow

Once everyone makes their picks, the ‘official’ itinerary will be listed here!

Getting Home

  • Sunday in the afternoon/evening.
  • The same way we came.
  • Food – We will need energy and will likely stop on the way home. (Not included)
  • Fuel – Food for the car, we will likely need to fuel-up.


To download a map of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park – CLICK HERE


The menu will be close to what is below. While the meal plan is fairly certain, there may be minor changes if, for example, a horde of ants decide to launch an expedition into the cooler. Also, we fully understand that our menu may not please EVERYONE – however we are doing our best given the budget, limited space and the dietary limitations that we know of. While we’re open to suggestions, we’re simply not be able to accommodate everyone’s individual preferences.

Lastly, we will endeavor to provide real, natural and healthy foods (as opposed to processed, preserved or freeze-dried) whenever practical. (Marshmallows excepted)

Friday Morning @ Wardance – Breakfast on the Go
  • Fresh Bagel & Cream Cheese
  • HB Egg
  • Banana
  • Coffee
Friday Snackaroonie – Meet the “FallRoll”
  • The tasty treat previously known as a Spring-Roll
  • But with a ‘seasonal’ twist!
Friday Night – A romantic fireside dinner. Awe, isn’t that *special*
  • Rib Stickin’ Turkey Gumbo!
  • Don’t worry, not too spicy.
  • Don’t worry, it’s okra free!
Saturday Morning – A little something for the soul…
  • P-P-P-P-Pancakes! Woo-Hoo!!
  • Banana
  • Coffee/Tea
Saturday Lunch – A good ol’ fashioned picnic.
  • Veggies
  • Crackers
  • Cheese
  • Hummas
  • Etc, etc.

Saturday Dinner – Squash Schtew
  • Guaranteed to get you in the mood for Thanksgiving.
  • Merriment and grocking of glogg.
  • The who in the what now?!
  • Tea & Hot-coco
Sunday Morning – “Just like home”
  • Egg scramble
  • Oatmeal
  • Fruit
  • Coffee/Tea
Sunday Lunch – Quirky Turkey
  • Build your own Turkey Sammich
  • All leftovers are fair game
  • Extra points for originality and audaciousness!


ByAllMeans-PaintThe total cost for this retreat is $299.00.

It includes:

  • Transportation to and from Orange County
  • All permits and campsite fees
  • All park entrance fees
  • All meals (except Sunday dinner)
  • Fun activities all day long
  • Some peace, solitude and escape
  • The ultimate retreat to reboot before the Holidays!!!

There are currently 3 spots remaining.

Spots will be allotted on a first-come first-served basis. An Early-bird discount of $25 will be applied for those who pay on or before Wednesday, November 6th. Should you need to cancel, a 50% refund will be made if your cancellation occurs prior to 1 week before our departure, however after that we will be unable to offer any refund.

To arrange payment – CLICK HERE NOW!

Important Message

On Safety:

The SAFE return of every participant is the first priority.

Entering the wilderness can be unpredictable and dangerous. Prepared and experienced individuals have become gravely injured, and even died, in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and the surrounding area. Should someone in our party become sick or injured, it is expected that all participants will assist in facilitating our own extrication or rescue.

All participants are expected to obey Anza-Borrego Desert State Park’s Rules & Regulations.

All participants will be required to sign a liability waiver.