As part of our multi day Overlanding Spring Break Exploration of Anza-Borrego State Park, my son Alec and I headed for 17 Palms, a desert oasis in the Borrego Badlands.
There wasn’t anything particularly enthralling about a clump of Palm Trees in the middle of nowhere. It was pretty much one of those trips where it was more about the journey than the destination.
However, if this was a 150 years ago, and certainly dating back to thousands of years ago, I bet it was indeed quite thrilling to trek across this parched, barren, and unforgiving landscape and find signs of water.
17 Palms was named in 1889 when I assume there were 17 Palms. The number of palms at this oasis in the desert most likely is constantly changing, as a matter of a fact there are close to double that amount now. The water comes up through fractures in the rock in this spot which crosses a fault line.
We set out in our Toyota 4Runer TRD Pro starting the day off at Font’s Point. We traveled through washes in open desert and closed in small canyons. Fonts Point Wash Road to Short Wash Road, Ella Wash Road, Arroyo Salgado Road, then Truckhaven Trail to Seventeen Palms. We trekked around 40 miles enjoying the wonders of the desert and one thing is for sure 17 Palms, (or thirty or so), is a bit unusual in these parts and stands out as greenery in an otherwise sand colored world.
Alec and I appreciate you accompanying us across the desert as we found ourselves ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ in our 4 Wheeling Rig. There are more 4 Wheeled Adventures to come so stay tuned by turning a few gears: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you care to peruse the menu above you will see that PBTA ventures all over this great West of ours and participates in other forms of enjoying nature and seeking that balance that we all cherish. Each location or activity categorization is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. For great looking, top quality Adventure Wear checkout my line at SHOP APPAREL.
My son Alec was home on break from college, and that means its time to pack up the 4Runner TRP Pro for adventure. We joined my good friend and backpacking partner Dexter and his Jeep Rubicon that he purchased a few months ago. We arrived at Octillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area in the early afternoon on Friday and immediately started seeking the perfect dispersed camping spot in Octillo Wells’ 80,000 acres of 4 Wheeling pleasure.
This of course led to some Off-Road horsing around and a impromptu game of follow the leader up and down some of the hills on dirt bike trails. During this wheeling romp we settled on a campsite with spectacular views of the open desert, the mountains in the background, a hill between us and other groups, and a nice stone fire ring.
About mid afternoon we met our Trail Boss, Loren, a very experienced Off-Road enthusiast and his well appointed Jeep Wrangler, a friend of Mark and Linda, who arrived with their brand new Jeep Rubicon Hybrid along with their friend Jessica just after dusk. Now the gang was all here and we enjoyed an evening of Linda’s special trail gumbo around the fire and listened to Loren’s plan for the weekend.
Before turning in Alec and I jumped in the 4Runner and lit up the desert with our “Midnight Sun” off-road lights. “Alec when you drive up one of these hills and all we are seeing is sky who knows what is on the other side. Stick you head out the window and make sure it isn’t a drop off!”
After a pleasant desert sleep it was time for eggs and bacon with veggies scramble. Both Dexter and Alec complained that all they like is bacon next time forget the veggies. Dexter made everyone hot baked cinnamon rolls, with some type of camping Dutch oven. Dang this group eats well. I can really get into this leisurely morning camp breakfast thing.
Rig time! We loaded up and caravanned to Little Blair Valley. This was the first trail that I took in my 4×4 rig in Ana-Borrego and I feel the most beautiful. It is a winding sandy trail through what I can only describe as a garden full of gorgeous desert fauna.
Next stop “The Drop at Slot Canyon”. We did not go on the hike through ‘The Slot’ which I highly recommend, so I was trying to figure out what we were even doing there. That is when I realized that we were taking “The Drop” down into the Canyon. “What? We are going down that”, I exclaimed?! Alec and I had seen some jeeps struggling on “The Drop” when we hiked it last Spring Break. It looked steep and daunting to say the least. Dexter shushed me saying, “We don’t want to scare Linda”, who did not even like the idea of getting her tires dirty on her new toy. I was thinking scare Linda, what about me? I have seen this feature and it is a doozy. Trail Boss Loren led the way maneuvering down the steep grade, sometimes sliding, over a couple rather deep holes, making it look like no problem at all.
Then he charged back up the hill, btw it is One Way so as not to tear up the route, but don’t tell anyone, we didn’t know… Loren kept momentum and powered through the deep stuff as the Jeep rocked back and forth up the trail. Then all of our rigs made it down, all with big eyes, but with equally big smiles. Dexter with his big tires tried the obstacle back up. He did it without incident. Next Alec in the 4Runner attempted the same feat. He bogged down in the deep stuff about half way up. Backed up a few times still not making it. I overheard the Trail Boss reassuring Linda that the 4Runner TRD Pro is not a Jeep and thus not as capable a vehicle. That is when Alec proved the Jeepers wrong and slid the 4Runner into the more aggressive 8 Track Mode and powered up to the top, right through the rough spot. Next was Linda’s time she also bogged down about halfway in the deep steep rough spot shooting rooster tails of dirt high into the sky and the Jeep completely disappeared in a cloud of dust. Make sure you see the video. That was enough for her on this feature.
About that time arrived a group of rigs to come down and that is when we learned it was One Way only, oppps… We didn’t mention that we had already been down and back up. So we saw a Toyota Tundra and a Subaru Outback both bottom out on their way down. The others in their group had no issue.
From there we made our way out through the canyon on Borrego Mountain Wash Trail. The route had a couple spots that Loren directed us through making sure we lined our wheels up just so. The slot canyon was beautiful and it was here that we pulled over for an outstanding lunch. Linda fired up the grill and we feasted on shrimp tacos. Did I mention that this group sure knows how to eat their way across the desert? Alec and I scampered up the canyon rim for a superb 360 view of the entire area.
Next stop was the Pumpkin Patch. It was somewhat crowed, much different than when Alec and I were there during Spring Break on a weekday. Our Trail Boss Loren was underwhelmed especially with all the people there, but I reminded him that it was about the Journey not the Destination and he snickered at the comment. The journey encompassed open desert, through some mud hills with tight turns up and down the rugged area. Some of the trail was smooth sailing, some of it a bit jarring, but a splendid trek across Anza-Borrego back to camp.
At camp we savored a miraculous sunset, and more fellowship around the roaring campfire. Mark grilled the finest Steak and Salmon dinner. Simply scrumptious, everything tastes better out in nature. Alec and I enjoyed another night run in our rig before turning in. What a great first couple days.
Good food, good friends, good times, good grief just wait until the final day! Alec, Dexter, Linda, Mark, Jessica and Loren invite you to stay tuned for more of this adventure and other 4 Wheeling outings by doing the following: COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you go to the menu above you will see that PBTA travels extensively across this great West of ours in search of profound experiences in nature which we like to call. ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. A chance to recuperate from a busy work a day world and unload the stress of deadlines, appointments and work loads and just breath in Nature. Nature can help smooth out the rough spots in the road. The Menu is categorized by location and activity. Each is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. If you like Jessica’s cap then checkout SHOP APPAREL and pick up some Adventure Wear of your own.
The last day of our 4×4 expedition in Anza-Borrego was just as epic as the first couple for our Off-Road group of three Jeeps and my 4Runner TRD Pro. It is hard for it not to be an exceptional experience when you are in such a magnificent place with capable vehicles, good friends, and I might add an experienced Trail Boss to keep us out of trouble.
Another easy morning of waking up to a nice campfire and the smell of coffee, bacon and eggs that trail chef Mark prepared for all of us. Then it was trail time. We loaded into our rigs and off we went to Calcite Mine Trail.
Calcite Mine Trail
ANZA-BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK
Near Borrego Springs
4 miles, 675’ elevation gain, rated Moderate
The Calcite Mine Trail is a rough Jeep Trail in and it is frequented by Off-Road vehicles and hikers alike. If you hike this spot it will be 2-3 hours. If you go by 4×4 you might spend about an hour at this spot.
We perched our rigs above the canyon rim overlooking a caravan of about a dozen or so 4×4 vehicles exiting. The trail is very narrow with a drop off. I am very glad that we did not meet up with this other group on our way down. That would have been quite a predicament as there is only room for one vehicle. There would have been a lot of backing, maneuvering and easing by needed in a case like that. The canyon was very cool and we had great fun weaving our way down the incline and then up towards Calcite Mine.
When we reached the spot marked Calcite Mine on our map we lined up our Jeeps and 4Runner for the glamour shot and then searched around for the mine. We just scampered about the general vicinity, but did not venture off on the walking paths. We saw nothing that resembled a mine. I did a internet search on my phone and it seems that we were not the only ones not finding a mine. I believe there isn’t an actual mine, at least of the type that one conjures up when you think of a mine with a tunnel or a shaft. So it appears it is all about enjoying this canyon and this spot, which is well worth it mine shaft or not.
Then it was off to Font’s Point to top off our desert journey.
ANZA-BORREGO DESERT STATE PARK
Near Borrego Springs
8 miles, 6547’ elevation gain, rated Easy
This was my second time to this wondrous spot and for my Full Trip Report on this must do event click Fonts Point.
Our 4×4 group was astounding by this overlook of the Badlands and Trail Boss Loren pointed out the different places off in the distance that we had been the day before. Jessica kept posing for pictures on the edge of the cliff and Mark kept nervously reminding, “Don’t stand so close to the edge”. (We have all heard about those trying to line up the perfect picture at the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls and that ends up their last.)
Fonts Point is a dramatic setting with 360 views of the Badlands, distant mountains and lots of desert.
This is where our group of intrepid desert Off-Road explores bid each other farewell. What an awesome time! I can hardly wait to adventure with these folks again. It is nice when you are 4 Wheeling in a desolate area to have another vehicle with you just in case, but when you have a whole group of fun people in an amazing spot… Well, that is incredible and an experience to remember.
Thank you for joining Alec, Dexter, Jessica, Loren, Mark, Linda and I in the Anza-Borrego Desert where we found ourselves ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. “Finding ourselves” is exactly what PBTA is all about. Being out in Nature enjoying profound experiences is a perfect way to connect with friends, love ones and ourselves. I am pretty sure that this group will be hitting the trail with our rigs before too long and regardless I know that I will every chance that I get. If you go to the menu above you will see that Off-Roading is not the only activity that PBTA takes part in. Each activity or location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. You can stick with us by doing these simply tasks: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW, and SHARE. I travel this great West of ours in search of the type of adventures in nature that help heal the rips and tears that a busy stressful work a day world sometimes inflict. ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ is good for the soul and you should enjoy adventures in Nature as much as you can. It certainly helps balance things out. On your next Nature outing you might need Adventure Wear. PBTA literally has you covered click here: SHOP APPAREL.
Fonts Point is certainly a must do. Whenever you see pictures of Anza-Borrego looking out over the badlands- that is Fonts Point. As my son Alec and I surveyed this inhospitable land from high on this point it seemed so rough, so alien. Still you couldn’t help but be awe struck even with it’s unfriendly, unwelcoming nature, because at the same time it is so full of wonder and beauty.
The creases in the landscape, canyons, and mountains are from millions of years of uplifting from earthquakes, erosion and deposits that shaped this splendid sight.
Alec and I did this adventure as part of a multi-day trek through Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. We actually camped in our rig the night before just a ways in off of the road. Early the next morning, just before daybreak, there were some vehicles whizzing by trying to photograph first light at the point.
It is recommended that you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle to access this spot, however some have braved the sand trek 4 miles in and 4 miles out with regular cars. I would think that if you follow the tracks, keep moving and don’t veer off into the softer sand you should be okay, but then again…
Alec and I appreciate you stopping by to discover more about Fonts Point and of our spectacular trip in and around Anza-Borrego. Stay tuned as there is always more 4 Wheel fun to be had by completing a couple simple tasks: COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you checkout the menu above you can checkout the rest of our adventures at Anza-Borrego: 4×4 Trek Across Anza-Borrego, El Diablo Drop Off, Pumpkin Patch OHV Trail, Anza-BorregoTrail Ride, Anza-Borrego 4×4 Trail Ride Part 2 and under ‘San Diego Hiking’: Borrego Palm Canyon, Arroyo Tapiado Mud Caves. For that matter let me say that PBTA travels all over this great West of ours to help you discover some fabulous adventure ideas. Hiking, Backpacking, Canoeing, Kayaking, Sailing and so forth and so on. It is all about using Nature to get our busy work a day lives with the stresses of deadlines, and quotas balanced out with places that can put the pieces back together. Once you get inspired then you will need Adventure Wear. We literally gotcha’ covered at SHOP APPAREL.
Brett Woods, my good friend and Jeep Fanatic, took me out in desert near Hesperia to show me a thing or two regarding OFF-Roading and in particular, Rock Crawling. This was my third time OFF-Roading, so I was certainly green and wide eyed.
Brett and I go way back racing Hobie Cat Catamarans. Everything that he does he does full bore and he is a quick study. I taught him about racing fast catamarans. He crewed for me one year and we were the Hobie 20 High Point Earner for Southern California, the hot bed of small catamaran sailing. We went on to race against each other later on the one man Hobie 17. Brett Woods went on two win 2 National Championships, and yes I was at the events. The student went on to beat the teacher.
Brett does that, he picks up a Hobby or Sport immerses himself in it and quickly masters it. He has done just that with the sport of OFF-Roading. He has his own company JeepSWAG where he supplies after market OFF-Road Jeep parts. He also is a Jeep Trail Guide.
We met at Pilot Rock OHV Trailhead, which I will have to drive one of these days, but we were there for just a couple of obstacles. I had already been introduced to OFF-Roading, and then my son and I hit a route on my own, but this was to be oh so much different.
Here is how the day started. Brett signals me toward a bend that was heading up, but my full view of it was obscured by brush. There was a guy standing next to the spot. Brett gives the guy a warning that he might want to move as I was a newbie. The guy’s jaw dropped and his eye’s bugged out, and he exclaimed, ”And your sending him up this?! Well, it is a TRD Pro…” Of course I heard this story after the feature…
So Brett is out guiding me up this steep spot, before I know what is going on I have a wheel clear off the ground. I am pretty much a teeter-totter. Brett jumps up on the wheel with a smile from ear to ear bringing it back to earth, and when he steps off again the wheel again teeters skyward. I am left commentating to the camera that I cannot believe that I just did that.
Next Brett shows me how its done heading up this steep hill with lots of large bumps powering his modified Jeep Wrangler up the hurdles. Then he gets out and picks his way down to direct me up. I am thinking to myself there is no way, but there is the hand… motioning me forward. I try twice but cannot make it up. Brett comes over and says we are going to skip this lesson. We could probably put the 4Runner in a more advanced mode and go up the hill at a different angle, but that’s okay not today.
We got back on the road to another favorite spot of Brett’s. We traveled through the desert turning off on some dusty lonesome road. I would come up over a ridge were all I could see is sky and then I would see Brett’s Jeep down below. I was just glad that I was still on the dirt road.
We went and checked out the California Aqueduct, and then into a rocky brushy area. Where Brett introduced my “Mall Crawler” to thorny undergrowth. (“Mall Crawler” is a term I became acquainted with through Shala Youngerman, another sailing champion friend who happens to have a 4Runner TRD Pro as well. “Mall Crawler” is what she refers to mine as. She said for me not to embarrass the TRD Pro- pretty much like Peyton Manning told the kid in the commercial to just rub some dirt on it when he hit him in the back of the head with a pass when he had the kid go long. The brush baptized my rig with a couple pin stripes which had me cringing . “Oh that will buff right out”, Brett assures me. Then he needed to move a large rock after it scrapes down my brand new predator steps. ”You might need a little spray paint”, he mentions, as I roll my eyes.
We then parked the ”Mall Crawler”. (Yes Shala, I am wearing this label as a badge of honor. I accept it not as a derogatory expression, rather as a complement that you think my rig is a beaut- although Brett is working on getting my tires dusty to be sure.) We clambered into the Wonder Wagon, Moded-0ut Jeep Wrangler, to see how much trouble we could get into.
The first thing that Trail Guide Brett said was your probably not going to ever take your vehicle to a place like this, (ya’ think?!), but you need to know how to maneuver in such a spot for you may have to go over terrain this nasty for a short distance if you find yourself in a situation. I have to tell you when he drove the Jeep up to this dried up stream bed that was all big boulders my first thought was what the XXXX! Then the next notion was this is frick’n awesome, as he expertly drove his rig up and over boulder after boulder. A few times coming down pretty hard on the armored undercarriage. The vehicle’s tires would slide down the side of rocks moving the whole rig. It was crazy! Hopefully the video will do the event justice, but truly you have to be there to believe it. However, this river of rocks is to remained unnamed for a couple reasons. One to keep it unspoiled, and secondly the unexperienced could really get themselves in trouble in a gully of stones of this magnitude, especially in an area of loneliness and extremes such as this desert wash filled with axle breaking, fuel tank rupturing rock.
Time has no value when you are in a ruggedly beautiful spot doing something that is unusual, defying and out there, (literally), one might ask, “WHY”. Why would you brutalize a sweet ride like this Jeep? Why take the chance of a serious break down leaving us stranded in the middle of no where in a place few have been. Nature is not hospitable when it comes to mistakes, especially in a place so unforgiving: no water, HOT in the day, COLD at night, and home to fanged predators. Some with claws, some with stingers, some with 8 legs, some with rattles… The answer to the question “WHY” was answered by Sir Edmund Hillary when asked about Mt Everest, ”Because it is there”. Still, I was glad we were “there” in Brett’s Jeep and not my 4Runner.
Then Brett maneuvered the Jeep around in a tight bend area of the dry stream bed and said, ”ok your turn.” “What?!”, I said in dismay! He replied, ”Look, we are probably going to get stuck, we are probably going to have to self rescue, we will probably have to dig our way out, but how else are you going to learn?” Oh, well when you put it in those terms… Well, let’s do this thing!, I exclaimed.
I would have thought that you want to avoid the biggest boulders, and find a way around them, but what is the fun in that? Besides, as Brett directed, you want to get the rest of the rig high over the rocks, not in a position that one of those stone blocks might catch the under belly of the Jeep. What an adventure through the maze of boulders, crawling over rocks that I would not have thought possible or at least sane. It was an amazing journey weaving our way through and over a mine field of rock rubble.
The axle breaking, undercarriage damaging threat portion of this ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ outing was concluded, but the fun was far from being done. Next we sped along a road of sand winding through hills of shrub brush to ‘Hill 582’. This spot some folks have gone to a lot of work to make this a little desert oasis for OFF-Roaders. It’s another of those climbs when you get to the top you just hope you are still on the path and not tumbling down a ravine. You should be weary, as when you get to the top you turn or else. Once on top you enjoy a desert garden that has been planted and cared for meticulously. There are some plaques commemorating the location, and best of all it is an excellent location for train watching. We saw a couple trains rolling down the track while we were there. The engineers are all well aware of ‘Hill 582’ and they sounded their horn for us.
The last part of our 4 Wheel trek was along a ridge with seriously steep drop offs on both sides with just enough room for the vehicle. We finally ended up looking down a crazy embankment. The road to the right had been washed away and was unusable. So there was just this straight down. I said to Brett that I saw this line when we went by earlier below and that I did not think that even he should do it. It was ridiculously vertical with an abrupt exit, as the last portion of the path was washed out. This of course just sounded like a challenge to Brett. He eased the Jeep down with a minimum of sliding. It appeared so steep that it looked to me that he could almost go end over end. I yelled there is no frick’n way I am going down there! Not in a million years! So he came back up. He was stopped at the entrance that had a sharp start, as I mentioned, but after a couple attempts managed it and powered up the hill gunning the engine. But now what? It would be a lot of work to back the 4Runner along a narrow and dangerous route before finding a safe place to turn around. So Brett jumped in the Toyota 4Runner drove down part of the hill to the washed out road and maneuver around to face the rig in the other direction. This was not an easy task, especially on the nervous owner, watching the tail end of the ”Mall Crawler” sticking out over space, and then the front wheels barely on the road, as he jockeyed it around. But soon we were retracing our way along the winding ridge top.
Wow! What a day! Intro to Rock Crawling 101 my butt! If this is a Freshman course I would hate to see the Senior level class. Such an extraordinary experience.
Thanks for joining my good friend Brett and I as we found ourselves ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’, out in the middle of the frick’n desert, 4 wheel’n stuff that, to me, seemed impossible and if not impossible than certainly a bit crazy! But hey- what is an adventure without a little crazy, right? If we are to find that balance we seek from the mundane, the everyday, the chatter, the busyness, then profound experiences in nature is the thing that can swing that pendulum back in our favor. For more balancing, and believe me I recognize balancing, when my 4 Runner TRD Pro was teeter-tootering to and fro on that first feature, then stay tuned for more exciting adventures on 4 wheels, (or two if you are doing one of those balancing stunts), by doing this: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. Get a hat like the one that I am wearing and other top quality Adventure Wear at SHOP APPAREL. If you go to the menu above you will discover that PBTA ventures to many incredible locations across the West in a variety of different types of excursions. Each item in the menu is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently.
7 miles, 270’ elevation gain, 3 hour duration, rated: Moderate
This is not your Charlie Brown Special Pumpkin Patch, and there isn’t a “Great Pumpkin”. The Great Pumpkin can be found on the Pumpkin Rock Trail in Norco, CA.
If you want to checkout this Pumpkin Patch in Ocotillo Wells, out in the Anza Borrego area, you will need a 4×4 for there is soft sand and rock. For a capable rig it shouldn’t be much of a problem that is unless you are looking for trouble, er… I mean adventure. My son Alec and I tested ourselves a few times briefly and purposely veering off to the soft sand. There was also a place or two that we stopped the rig and got out to survey the situation when tackling a steeper rock corridor section.
We also checked out Shell Reef. This whole area has plenty of off-shoots. Since we were alone without a backup vehicle to pull us out, should we go to far in our exploits, we didn’t get to crazy exploring all of the soft sand trails that seemed to stretch in every direction. It certainly looks like there are places to test out the notion, how far is to far?
Casting one’s eyes across this field of pumpkin sized boulders, which make up this very peculiar rock garden, you can’t help but wonder how in the world did this natural phenomenon occur?
Well if you are planning on planting such a garden it could take awhile, say 4 million years. It seems that it starts with a seed, actually a pebble, bit of bone or other such objects and then season by season river sediment layered the object. After being buried deep below the surface this garden of pumpkins made it to the light of day through erosion and earth moments.
Thanks for joining Alec and I on this 4×4 excursion to the Pumpkin Patch. The desert has many strange and wonderful sights to be uncovered when you find yourself ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. Stay with us for adventures by doing a few a couple easy tasks: COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you care to peruse the menu above you will see that PBTA ventures to many areas of interest throughout the West and on different types of adventures as well. Each location or activity is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. If you like the shirt that Alec is wearing they are available at SHOP APPAREL.
CBI Offroad Toyota 4Runner Covert Baja Front Bumper
Zeon 12-S Warn Winch with Spydura Pro Synthetic Rope
Prinsu Full Roof Rack
Baja Design OnX6 30” LED Light Bar mounted in Bumper
BFGoodrich All-Terrain Tires
N-Fab 4Runner Predator Steps
ARB Maximum Output On-Board Dual Air Compressor
Baja Design Squadron Sport Amber Pocket Fog Lights
Roam 95L Rugged Heavy Duty Storage Cases Mounted on Roof
Ceramic Coating Armor Detail
Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Black-Out Insignias
Fire Engine Red D-Ring Shackles
Factor 55 Insert with Fire Engine Red D-Ring Shackle
‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ Off-Road is about being able to do things and go places others can’t. I am a avid hiker and there were places that I could not or certainly should not bring my sporty little Audi. So I sold the car answering the call of the wild with a rig that I have been having built out. I have discovered my TRD Pro is not only a worthy vessel to get me to the trailhead, but an Adventure all in itself. My son Alec is fine for a hike or a backpack trek now and again, but Off-Roading or Over-Landing? He is all over that! There are more adventures off-road to be had, so I invite you to join me seeking Balance through bold, exciting and profound outings in Nature. If you go to the menu above you will see that PBTA ventures to many exciting places all over this great West of ours sometimes on four wheels, sometimes on two, with a pair of hiking boots, or a paddle, but it’s always a good time outdoors. Each location or activity is a separate website and thus would need to be FOLLOWED independently. Please leave a COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you are interested in Adventure Wear, such as what I am modeling in the picture, than please checkout SHOP APPAREL.
El Diablo Trail was definitely a step up for my son Alec and I during our 4×4 Trek Across Anza-Borrego. We exited the vehicle plenty of times on that trail looked the rough spots over and my son spotted me on which way to take each feature. The one actually sketchy thing we did was on that road.
This particular obstacle was called “El Diablo Drop Off”. It was pretty much like being on the Bunny Hill at the ski resort and accidentally ending up on a Black Diamond. El Diablo Drop Off was a steep decline on a narrow road with a drop off on one side. The path looked like it had moguls on it.
We thought okay we can do this… Well, what I was not counting on was that we were pretty much titter-tottering down this decline, meaning we only had two wheels on the ground at a time.
Later on Instagram and I was watching a Bad-Ass clip of a cool Jeep doing some really dumb thing, after we had done our trip and I said. “Alec that is where we were!”
Actually in the clip the guy does that feature “Like a Boss”. When I did it with Alec spotting, it was much more terrifying with me braking and the rig teeter-tottering. And then there was the Holly ShXt look on my face!
Thanks for joining Alec and I, alone in the desert far from any help, no cell service, no Calvary coming to our aid. We took on ‘El Diablo Drop Off’. I suppose we could have stuck our tail between our legs and headed back the way that we had come, but we had come a long ways. It looked dicey, but little did we know that it was sketcher than we even thought. I hope you saw that video on the PBTA YouTube Channel where you could see the rig teeter each time I braked, and you could see the wheel not turning with the other- because it wasn’t touching the ground! Craziness when you have little experience. There is a saying ‘What doesn’t kill you makes your stronger.” Well, we are stronger, we have more experience, and we are more confident thanks to ‘El Diablo Drop Off’. We found some of that Balance that we all seek, by physically balancing on two of our 4 wheels at a time- Now that is Adventure! For more ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ say tuned by performing these easy tasks: COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. The menu above will inform you that we have interests in other adventures as well. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. We can set you up with adventure wear, just checkout SHOP APPAREL.
Anza-Borrego is a special place of open desert, badlands, slot canyons, washes, oasis of palms, and even dried mountains of mud. Anza Borrego is California’s largest State Park featuring 500 miles of paved road way and rugged 4×4 Jeep trails of natural desert beauty making it a meca for Off-Roading in Southern California. It’s more than 600,000 acres, located in the Colorado Desert, are wild and unforgiving, but stunning and spectacular.
This was my planned visit with my son to Anza-Borrego. I say “planned” as months earlier after hiking East of San Diego, peak bagging Volcan Mountain, I went further seeking some Off-Road experience and ended up, to my surprise, on the edge of Anza-Borrego on a 4×4 trail, Blair Valley. Although I loved every minute, I did not feel my rig was totally outfitted at the time to take on Anza Borrego. I bought my Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro for just this reason, to be able to hike places that I would otherwise not be able to reach, with Anza-Borrego, in particular, in mind. Since that time I finished My Build and felt more confident that my rig was up to the challenge of I this beautiful desert wonderland.
My son, Alec, and I spent his Spring Break in Anza-Borrego State Park, three days hiking, exploring and over landing, in other words traveling Off-Road and camping.
There are places in Anza-Borrego that would be rated HARD and should only be attempted by more advanced Off-Road enthusiasts. I stayed away from those obsticales. One- I don’t want to screw up my rig. Two- I don’t want to get stuck. Three- we did not have another vehicle with us to help if things went South. So we took it easy. I got recommendations from a friend that is a Jeep Trail Guide, Brett Woods of JeepSwag.com, and he knew what I was looking for.
This article will cover how we cut across part of Anza-Borrego to get to the sand dune type of area. The trek for the most part was fine, but we did manage to find ourselves on a trail called “El Diablo”, the name should have been our first clue that we were in for more than we bargained for, but I will leave that adventure for another post.
We had explored the Arroyo Tapiado Mud Caves the day before, which by the way is a long drive of at least a dozen miles of dirt. Alec and I camped for the night near the caves after a quick 4×4 dusk venture.
The following morning we headed out on our trek across Anza-Borrego. We first explored an interesting out and back 4×4 trail Arroyo Tapiado. When you see a nice trail it is hard to just pass it by. Then we were off across the desert towards Ocotillo Wells. We put miles and miles of sand, dirt and rock behind us and each and every mile was fabulous with varying terrain. One of the last sections of the journey was on pavement as we made our way to the Pumpkin Patch a magical place with unusual boulders.
The directions of the day’s 4×4 trail trekking started out on Tapiado-Diablo Cut Across past the peak, West Mesa. After about 2 and a half miles it runs into a short stint on Arroyo-Seco Del-Diablo, left on Diablo Drop Off- which we were on for about 2 and a half miles past the peak Middle Mesa, the infamous Diablo Drop Off feature itself is just passed the middle of that stretch, turn right on Fish Creek Wash which goes 10 miles to pavement, but what we did is veer off to the left on Loop Wash which pretty much parallels Fish Creek Wash, and latter the two trails join back together a couple miles later. That empties onto the paved road, Split Mountain Road. We turned left on the 78 for a short distance before getting back on the trail and off toward other 4×4 adventures at Shaw Peak, Shell Reef, and the Pumpkin Patch.
Our Off-Roading trip across Anza-Borrego was everything that we hoped it would be and we feel more confident in the rig and it’s build, as well as our abilities.
Thanks for joining Alec and I on this fun Off-Road Adventure cutting across a portion of Anza Borrego. It was an wonderful experience and we enjoyed the Father and Son time in this magical desert environment. Stay with us for more ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ Off-Road by doing something very easy: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you care to checkout the menu above you will find that PBTA ventures to many wonderful spots and takes parts in multiple types of adventures. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. So, you might need some adventure wear, well- I literally have you covered. Please go to SHOP APPAREL and get yourself outfitted.
Activity: 4×4 Off-Road, Dispersed Camping or Boon-docking
10.5 miles, elevation gain 415’, 3 hour duration, rated Moderate
Sedona’s Outlaw OHV Trail, at least compared to other features in the area, is much more remote, filled with red rock radiating the rays of the setting sun in glorious splendor showing off it’s colorful mesas, towering pinnacles, and picturesque buttes. As you ramble along the primitive road, through a Sedona desert scene, the experience feels right out of an Old West Movie. It is nice to get away from Sedona’s 4 million annual visitors and into the 1.8 million acres of National Forest Land. There are even sections out there that you can boondock and just enjoy the big, rustic outdoors and dispersed camping.
You can piece together a more tame road and make it a loop and that is what I did, but the coolest part is as marked on the map I have enclosed in this article.
Outlaw Trail, as you might have guessed, is aptly name as it was once trodden by desperadoes, gunmen and other shady and despicable characters of ill repute attempting to allude the long arm of the law.
Much of the journey is peaceful and very scenic, and not a problem for most 4×4 vehicles. There are however, several spots where you will be happier with a rig with high clearance. You may still wish to hop out or perhaps have a some one do a little spotting, as you maneuver over some steps made of slabs of bed-rock and other obstacles. The Outlaw Trail has an moderate 4×4 rating.
It was perfect for what I was seeking as I found myself ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ Off-Road. It had scenery as big as the whole outdoors, just incredible Western beauty in every direction. The trail provided a place for me to camp just a little off the grid, so to speak, and enough of a road challenge for it to be an adventure. Loved it!
Hitting the trail in a 4 Wheel Rig in this part of the country is simply awesome. That is the whole reason I got it, to enjoy nature and go were I could not have gone without it. Stay with me as I continue to explore in my Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro because there are more adventures to be had. You can accompany me and my loving Nature antics by doing these easy things: COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW and SHARE. Go the menu above and you will see what else PBTA is up to and where. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. I have adventure wear for you at SHOP APPAREL, check it out.
Pursuing Balance Through Adventure
‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ on the Road Less Traveled.