We just ran a day trip with six rigs in Anza Borrego, hiked through a lesser known slot canyon that provided this spectacular desert view. We have some great pictures to share and will get the whole story and pictures posted up here real soon!
Anza Borrego Camping and Exploring
Our October SoCal Overland trip was a great adventure, exploring with a Tear Drop trailer, camping, off-roading, and a birthday.
We rented a Tear Drop trailer from our friends at Little Guy Trailers in San Diego. The Tear Drop was perfect for us, allowing us to pack in all of our gear and get us through seven days of travel.
The additional front rack on the Tear Drop was perfect for our water containers, gas cans, firewood, crates, and EZ Up shade.
Using up all of the extra trailer space helped the kids to have extra room in the Jeep and not feel like they were being packed in like sardines.
Our first destination would be Fish Creek in Anza Borrego. We actually took this photo on our departure day as our arrival into Fish Creek would find us exploring under the cover of darkness and a few twinkling stars.
As we pulled off the pavement and aimed our rig up Fish Creek under complete darkness, we were determined to get up into the canyon as far as possible and away from any other campers.
We passed by the Fish Creek primitive camp turnoff and continued up the canyon with our Tear Drop in tow. Everything was going well, despite the limited lighting being produced by the stock Jeep headlights and overall lack of visibility in the dark canyon.
While the Jeep was up for conquering the night, I was concerned for the Tear Drop and navigating large rocks with the low solid axle of the trailer. The last thing I wanted to do was rip the axle off of the trailer.
A few miles up into the canyon we came across even larger rocks (boulders) that I knew the Tear Drop would not be able to clear unscathed. So, in the darkness of the night and deepening sand, I needed to put the Jeep into reverse and start backing my way out of a tight spot.
With some creative clutch work to keep all four Jeep wheels clawing for traction and the trailer plowing sand in reverse, we were able to get to an opening that allowed us to turn around. Tear Drop unscathed! Everyone celebrates, well, at least I did.
After our little adventure, we were all feeling hungry for dinner and eventually a good nights sleep. So, we pointed our rig toward Fish Creek primitive camp and scored a large flat spot for us to comfortably set up a big camp away from any other campers, and this also allowed the kids to run free.
The next morning, with sun shining we were able to see where we actually landed in Fish Creek, which as I mentioned turned out to be a great spot. We would definitely take this spot again in the future.
As we prepped breakfast and packed lunches for the days adventures, we watched the temperature climb from 80 degrees, to 90 degrees, and eventually by late morning, the temperature would hit 105 degrees.
We used both of our shades for cover from the sun and heat. But the best thing was to jump into the Jeep and turn the air-conditioning on at the lowest temp with fans at full speed.
A short distance up Fish Creek canyon, we arrived at the Anticline, a formation of earth pushed up from below.
Our Jeep also decided to jump into the Anticline scene for a photo opportunity.
As the noon time heat peaked at 105 degrees, we decided it would be a perfect time for the family to get out and stretch their legs with a strenuous 1 mile hike up to the wind caves.
With our water systems full, we were determined to hike up to the wind caves. Here is our oldest doing her best solo climb up the rocky trail.
Approximately one-third of the way into our hike, we stopped for a scenic view of these lands that were once covered in a sea of water.
While our water packs helped to keep us hydrated, there was not a drop of shade to escape the fire ball in the sky.
We made it to the wind caves, despite the heat. The kids immediately started exploring everything and found this cool side window to peek out from.
We all enjoyed making the ascent up to the wind caves and had fun exploring in and out of the different areas of shade and sun.
The kids eventually found a cool place to spend time making shapes in the sand while we allowed our bodies to cool off before heading back down the trail under the heat of the afternoon sun.
Back in the Jeep with air-conditioning at full power, we continued up Fish Creek and into Sandstone Canyon.
Sandstone Canyon continues on for a long distance. Though there is a technical section, where giant chunks of sandstone have fallen down from the canyon walls and now block the original trail. The technical section is not completely impassable, but traveling without a second rig made us think twice about conquering a hard core section this day.
We decided to take a break, explore the sandstone boulders by foot and let the kids run around, and climb on the Jeep.
We worked our way out of Sandstone Canyon, making sure to enjoy the vertical canyon walls along the way.
While this trail is fairly easy, it is an impressive drive, particularly in the sections where the canyon walls close in, allowing just enough space for a vehicle to squeeze through.
After exiting Sandstone Canyon, we backtracked out of Fish Creek Canyon, stopping at Shell Reef for the kids to explore and search for ancient sea shells.
We found many pieces of sea shells, which we closely inspected and enjoyed holding, but made sure to leave those pieces of history where they belong for the next visitors to find.
The hills of the Elephant's Knees make a perfect backdrop for Shell Reef exploring.
That evening we had a birthday celebration for our oldest. We celebrated with a noise making candle and chocolate brownie topped with Nutella. Somehow we always have a way of inventing a new delicious desert on our trips.
Incredibly delicious that Nutella topped brownie is! "Most amazing thing in the world", she says.
After our previous day of exploring we needed to re-fill the gas tank and cans. The closest gas would be in Salton City, next to the Salton Sea.
While fueling up and enjoying some ice creams, our little Minion was attracted to this sand rail, which was all pimped out Minion style, with a giant Minion sized driver.
While I had been to the Salton Sea as a kid and remember the bad smells and dead fish, it turns out that Kathy and the kids had never had the experience of being at the Salton Sea. A short drive brought us right near the shore line. This day the weather was a little gloomy with smog filling the Coachella Valley.
Mom leads the kids out to the stinky shoreline.
One of our destinations for this adventure was to get the kids to the Pumpkin Patch in Anza Borrego. After leaving the Salton Sea, we took the dirt Pole Line Road down to Tule Wash, which would bring us to the Pumpkin Patch.
Taking the short cut off over to the actual Pumpkin Patch.
Similarly to how a pearl grows from a tiny spec, these giant "pumpkins" in the Pumpkin Patch grew underground, starting from a small spec of dirt. Over time, these specs of dirt and sand stone grew into larger and larger size sandstone balls.
There are still many well defined pumpkins in this patch, though a few have been obviously damaged from the weather and foot traffic.
Finishing our third day in Anza Borrego, we decided to make it back to camp before sundown, giving us plenty of time to cook dinner over an open fire.
We love cooking over the open fire when we are camping. Delicious brie burgers with grilled onions, fresh tomatoes, and lettuce. Yum, delicious.
As the sun set behind the hills, we got some relief from the days heat and started to organize ourselves for our next day departure.
On our morning of departure, we got in a good breakfast and starting the process of packing up all of our gear. The kids were helpful and even made a list of our gear that needed to be remembered and packed up into our Tear Drop trailer.
Fish Creek would only be our first destination on this week long adventure.
Thanks Fish Creek. We had a great time here and are looking forward to visiting again soon.
Fish Creek departure with our Tear Drop in tow. Here we go, off to our next destination.
After leaving Fish Creek, we would cross the desert, once again through Salton City, and north toward Palm Springs.
We decided to take the kids for a suprise ride on the famous Palm Springs tramway.
The parking lot was at a bit of an angle. To ensure extra security beyond leaving the manual transmission in gear and parking brake in a full lock, I decided to push a chunk of firewood behind my rear tire. Such high class.
The Palm Springs tramway would quickly bring us from about 2,000 feet elevation to over 9,000 feet in a matter of minutes.
As the kids get older, we will plan to hike the final distance up to San Jacinto peak (10,834 feet) and camp on the mountain top.
But for this day, we decided to hang out at the restaurant and enjoy lunch with incredible views of the Coachella Valley
As we ascended up the face of the mountain, we would go through five life zones of plants and animals living on this rocky mountain.
Looking out beyond one of the five cable towers and across the desert, we have visions of Joshua Tree National Park more than 20 miles in the distance.
We really enjoyed our adventure in Fish Creek and Anza Borrego. We hope you can join us next time.
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