Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
Activity: 4×4, Scenic Views
Trip Dates: 12/2-4/22
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.
Pursuing Balance Through Adventure
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