Full Moon Desert Hiking with Mike McElhatten
Visitors come to Borrego Springs to see something they’ve never seen before or learn something they didn’t know before. What they want is the same as I want in a new environment – a unique story, a story of a place not yet experienced. For visitors to Borrego, it could be a story about birds or flowers, geology or archaeology, or local history or even astronomy. And because of my background and experience, I get great satisfaction in the telling of those stories and being with people enjoying a moment in time out in the desert.
I was the manager of a State Park in Idaho for more than 30 years, and I loved sharing my knowledge with others. After coming with my wife Terri to live here permanently in 2011, I realized I didn’t need a job or extra money, I needed something fun. But I took on the job as Program Director for the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association – hikes, lectures, interpretation – things that required planning for a real place, Borrego Springs, a town with lots of personality but no hype or glitz. It’s for free-spirited visitors with important values similar to mine, like the purity of our environment, who come here to learn about and enjoy the desert. Five years ago, I knew everybody in the room who came to my lectures. Now I know 15-20% of them, so there are lots of new folks, and I appreciate the feedback from all of them, and I hope they enjoy what we have for them here in Borrego.
A favorite activity is my Full Moon Desert Hike, where the entire landscape takes on very unusual aura, and no flashlights are needed. One day a middle-aged couple from Cincinnati, Ohio came out west for the first time, landing in San Diego. On a whim, having never seen a desert before, they decided to come to Borrego. And that first night they saw the world in a way they’d never seen it before. Out in the desert under a full moon, it’s easy to feel isolated, but in a good way, seeing Earth from a new perspective – you’re on a little rock in a very big universe.
This is the kind of Borrego Experience I enjoy sharing with others.