(THIS IS MONDAY’S POST)
We sure are having problems with a slow internet connection at our location beside Coyote Mountain in the Clark Dry Lake area east of Borrego Springs. So slow that it took somewhere over 4 hours for my Sunday night blog to post. It was after midnight sometime when it finally published. Having T-Mobile cell phone connection problems as well. Had hoped to call Aunt Jean in Florida later Christmas Day but could not get a connection. I drove all the way into Borrego Springs Sunday night even stopping and getting out on Christmas Circle in hopes of a connection, but nothing!!!! Well at least I got see the Christmas lights on the Circle.
Clouds were lying on top of the San Ysidro mountains this morning so we knew there was no point in going anywhere up to any mountain destinations. Figured we would concentrate our days hiking and Jeeping to the desert floor not too far from where we are camped. Font’s Point and it’s awe inspiring views of the Borrego Badlands is probably one of the most scenic places in the area and is popular with folks at sunset. Figured that was a good place to kick off our days activities.
FONT’S POINT OVERLOOK
Font’s Point is located only a few miles east of us so we were only minutes reaching the turn off point into the desert off highway S2. Four wheel drive is recommended to traverse the 4 mile sandy wash to the Point. With recent rains we noticed the sand a bit on the soft side. But it was nothing to what we would encounter a few hours later deep in the Badlands themselves.
GET ALONG LITTLE DOGGY DOGGY
This was not our first time to Font’s Point and although our memories were a bit faded we did know we would be in for some spectacular views. And we knew we had better have Pheebe on a leash as the cliff top drop into the Badland canyons was immediate. Rather than me trying to explain Font’s Point to you I will try to do it through my photos which of course doesn’t even come close to the beautiful awe inspiring sweeping vistas that are really there.
OH NO NOT MORE SELFINATORS!!
We were sooooo lucky this morning to be the only ones there. The air was still with only a single silent crow circling and soaring with the wind currents coming up out the many small rugged canyons. No kids hollering and no tourists chattering. Some days we just get lucky.
TELEPHOTO SHOT TO THE EAST OF THE DARKER BLUE SALTON SEA AND THE LIGHTER BLUE CHOCOLATE MOUNTAINS
ANOTHER TELEPHOTO SHOT FROM FONT’S POINT LOOKING BACK TO COYOTE MOUNTAIN AND YOU CAN SEE OUR RIG WHICH IS THE LONG WHITE ONE ON THE LEFT IN THE CROPPED PHOTO BELOW
From Font’s Point we made our way back out to S2 and turned east heading for mile marker 32. Just short of 32 we turned right onto a winding Jeep road and headed 8 miles south looking for another scenic overlook. We had our book with us and without it we never would have found our way to the ‘Vista del Malpais’.
WE STRIKE OFF ACROSS THE DESERT FLOOR
CRESTING A BLIND RIDGE
Before reaching our destination our man made Jeep road across the desert floor ended and we soon found ourselves in the first of many desert washes (dry creek bottoms) we would eventually end up desperately trying find our way out of a few hours later.
THIS IS WHERE WE WENT FROM THE HIGHER DRYER JEEP ROAD DOWN INTO A SERIES OF SOFT SANDY CREEK BOTTOM WASHES
DROVE A LOT OF MILES TODAY IN THESE SANDY WASHES
We did find the second overlook without too much difficulty and realized right away we had been there before and we had got there stuffed tightly into the back seat of a Jeep Wrangler. We were with another couple on a Jeep tour along with a dozen other Jeeps at the time. I’m thinking it might have been back in 2009.
OUR SECOND SCENIC OVERLOOK TODAY CALLED ‘VISTA DEL MALPAIS’
HEY I JUST SAW A RHINOSAUCEROUS RUN BEHIND A TREE DOWN THERE
Leaving the overlook we had intended to follow the same Jeep road back to S2 but decided at the last minute to head the other way following another road deeper into the Badlands. Oooops!!
It was a beautiful sunny day with a slight cloud cover and all was well as we bounced and jostled our way between tall clay and rock river banks on either side. We had no idea where the soft sandy wash led but we just kept following it for probably 10 miles or so until we came to a sign saying ‘Cut Through Trail’ pointing to a Jeep road leading up and out of the wash. We took that road relieved to be out of the sandy wash which seemed to be getting softer and wetter the further we went. We had come through a few oozy spots but not to bad. Cut Through Road was hard packed sand but it only went a couple miles and ended at another wash. Tire tracks led to the left so we turned up the wash in the direction of S2 probably 15 miles away by now. Knew we needed to go in that direction so off up the wash we went. Now things started to get a little hairy.
WE STARTED GETTING INTO SOME WET MUDDY SAND
We followed the tracks in that wash for quite away as we began slogging our way through deeper wet sand. I had to keep my foot into it and not lose our momentum in spots where we swoozed, swayed, and sashayed ourselves from side to side at times. Things were getting worrisome and sure enough we reached a spot where only an army tank could have got through. Managed to get ourselves turned around and headed back down the wash again having to bull our way through the soft spots. I was soooooo glad we had decided to put bigger heavier treaded tires on the Jeep last Fall. Those tires and Libby’s beefy engine pulled us through some bad spots today. But then it got worse.
STOPPED HERE ON THIS ATV TRAIL AND WALKED AHEAD TO PEER OVER THE NEXT RIDGE AND SAW GULLIES FILLED WITH WATER…..HAD TO BACK OUT OF HERE
Backtracking down the wash to where we had just been we somehow lost our bearings. Despite knowing where we were at all times because of the mountain tops we could see we just couldn’t find the Jeep road we had come in on. We ended up in another wash which had even more wet sandy areas than the wash before. We did climb out of one wash onto a narrow ATV trail but the trail proved impassable for us so I had to back all the way down into the wash again. That happed 3 separate times today. We floundered around up this road and down that wash re-tracing our Jeep tracks trying to find a way out.
BACKED ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THAT WET SANDY WASH AND MANAGED TO GET TURNED AROUND
It was now close to 2 p.m. and my thoughts began turning to other things such as did we have enough gas, yes we did. Did we have water on board, yes we did. Did we have warm clothes along, yes we did. Food?? Yes, half a can of peanuts. We could see the sun glinting off vehicles along way off over towards Ocotillo Wells and knowing we were now closer to there than where we had come from we decided we had better see if we could make our way in that direction. We saw vehicle tracks leading down a very wide wash heading in the general direction of Ocotillo Wells and knew this was our last option so off we went keeping our speed up in the sandy mud river bottom. Did I mention up to this point we had not seen a soul except a couple dirt bikers heading in a different direction.
KELLY GOT HERE SAYING SHE HAD HAD ENOUGH STRESS FOR ONE DAY AND WAS GOING TO HITCHHIKE BACK TO BAYFIELD
Following the wide turns of the wash we finally spotted a single rider on a dirt bike coming our way. I slowed down coming to a stop on what appeared to be some lighter colored and hopefully harder packed sand and luckily it was just what I thought it was. I quickly jumped out of the Jeep and waved the biker down. He was an older chap and chuckled when I said we were kinda lost but not really lost but like we can’t find the right roads to get out of here. He said for us to keep following the tracks in the wash we were in and it would take us right to Ocotillo Wells another couple of miles along. We did that and he was right.
LIBBY DID MANAGE TO GET HERSELF A LITTLE DIRTIED UP TODAY
Oh what a relief it was to finally get out of the soggy wash we were in and onto a soft sandy ATV trail which led us to a wider hard packed sandy road that in turn took us into the camping area of the State Park and out to highway 78. Smooth pavement never felt so good as we made a right turn onto 78 making a bee line for home. We had been bouncing around in the Badlands for about 6 hours of which 4 of those hours were spent trying to find our way out of wherever it was we were.
SURE GLAD WE HAD THESE TOUGH TIRES ON TODAY AS WE POUNDED OURSELVES OVER MANY ROCKS ALONG THE WAY
Coming into Borrego Springs we headed straight away to Jilbertos where Kelly picked up a big Polloassada Burrito which is what Jilbertos is known for. The thing must have weighed about 15 pounds. She got some other Mexican food too and we were soon headed back to our rig but not after I had zipped into the Nature Store on main street and bought us a map of the whole area showing were all the Jeep roads, washes, and points of interest are.
I WAS REALLY PLEASED WITH THE WAY OUR LITTLE JEEP LIBERTY HANDLED HERSELF TODAY SLOGGING AND GRINDING HER WAY THROUGH THOSE SOFT MUD AND SAND WASHES
All in all looking back now it was a fun day but at the time when we couldn’t find our way out of the Badlands it seemed like anything but fun. It will go down as one of those times we will not easily forget. We have temporarily misplaced ourselves in those Borrego Badlands before but today took the cake and because of that we will remember today’s little Borrego adventure for many years to come………..
MONDAY NIGHT SUNSET
GROANER’S CORNER:(( A young blonde was on vacation in the depths of Louisiana. She wanted a pair of genuine alligator shoes in the worst way, but was very reluctant to pay the high prices the local vendors were asking. After becoming very frustrated with the "no haggle" attitude of one of the shopkeepers, the blonde shouted, "Maybe I'll just go out and catch my own alligator so I can get a pair of shoes at a reasonable price!" The shopkeeper said, "By all means, be my guest. Maybe you'll luck out and catch yourself a big one!" Determined, the blonde turned and headed for the swamps, set on catching herself an alligator. Later in the day, the shopkeeper is driving home, when he spots the young woman standing waist deep in the water, shotgun in hand. Just then, he sees a huge 9 foot alligator swimming quickly toward her. She takes aim, kills the creature and with a great deal of effort hauls it on to the swamp bank. Laying nearby were several more of the dead creatures. The shopkeeper watches in amazement. Just then the blonde flips the alligator on it's back, and frustrated, shouts out, "Damn it, this one isn't wearing any shoes either!"
“In very large sponge colonies in the ocean, there's a soaker born every minute.”
Candice get any better!
College student: "Hey, Dad! I've got some great news for you!" Father: "What, son?" College student: "Remember that $500 you promised me if I made the Dean's list?" Father: "I certainly do!" College student: "Well, you get to keep it."
We did the same "we're not really lost" episode last year. Probably the same washes and trails you were on. The "Cutoff" trail sounds real familiar. We were looking for the Pumpkin Patch. Never did find it.ReplyDelete
Ed and Sharon
What a suspense-filled blog. My Oh My! Kelly, hang in there. A lot of those pics look like the moon or another planet. Certainly Badlands. Nice blog Al. Glad you leashed the Pheebs, and glad you gat a map. :-)ReplyDelete
Holy Lost in Space!! Do you carry a hand held Garmin or any kind of GPS?? That might be a handy "purchase" when exploring..Dennis got us lost once while walking and we ended up walking 8 miles before we knew where we were at..and I will never let him live it down!!ReplyDelete
Beautiful photos of Fonts Point and the Badlands. Glad you made your way back. I know it is a horrible feeling when you don't know where the trail leads and when and where it will end.ReplyDelete
Been there before, not a good feeling until you are out. Nice detailed off road map is the thing to have. Great post and pics.ReplyDelete
Pheebs is saying in that last photo of her, 'Dad, I knew where we were the entire time'. 😃ReplyDelete
I remember watching enough old cowboy movies that I wouldn't want to venture into anyplace called "Bad Lands" (or "Mal Pais" either)! I'm glad you finally found your way back.ReplyDelete
Wow looks like you had your selfs a really exciting adventure. Exploring and seeing some amazing sights. love the pictures. Too bad we do not have a 4wd vehicle so can't get into those amazing places. We will enjoy them through you pictures.ReplyDelete
Glad you two can still handle such adventures, and your Jeep can too. As Mrs. FG used to say, we're not lost, we're just on the road less travelled! Spectacular landscape. At least Kelly was still smiling at the end.ReplyDelete
Oh my gosh, Al! Your pictures of the Badlands are amazing!! Bill and I saw the ones in South Dakota in 2011 and will never forget them. Like George, we will experience these through your pictures, for now. So glad you found your way out! I was worried!ReplyDelete
That's really scary! But you guys were smart to bring along water, food, warm clothes, etc., and enough GAS. Glad you made it out okay - that's a great car! :)ReplyDelete
Wow that's not a good feeling, that is such a cool area to explore.So easy to get turned around,we worried about that a time or two.ReplyDelete
Wow what and exciting and probably a little nervous adventure. I love the pics you shared especially Fonts Point. Glad the dirt bike rider happened your way with the right directionsReplyDelete
4 wheel drive takes you off the grid places.
Sounds like a fun adventure, even if you were turned around a bit. You basically were safe and smart enough to have gas, water and a bit of food. Glad you found your way back out with a bit of help. We found that Verizon has a much better signal than the At&T or Tmobile units when travelling. Plus our Wilson antenna booster unit really increases the bars on our cell and data connections.ReplyDelete
I wonder what the Verizon signal would be out there, if it is good I would go with Straight Talk from Walmart as you won't have a contract and can let go if you choose to stay with the company you are using now.ReplyDelete
Your pictures are incredible.
Wonderful shots from Fonts Point! Nice that you travel with such a great model too. We had similar adventures near Ocotillo Wells too, knowing where we were but not knowing how to "get out and up". I'm glad you confirmed that Libby is more than up to the task of taking you into the wilds - more adventure awaits :-))) I think you need to make a dictionary of "Al-isms" just to see how big your special vocabulary is!!ReplyDelete
Nice pictures! I agree, this is some of the slowest internet we've ever seen (except of course when the isn't any.) Must be all those bloggers uploading images to their blogs. ;-oReplyDelete
Your images bring back memories of Fonts Point, to which I didn't drive my big truck, for sunset. Seems a good map is important out there. At least you were prepared. I'm sure Pheebs could have led the way. Even Verizon wasn't great out there two years ago.ReplyDelete
It appears that Kelly is now with you on most trips, while she used to stay home while you had the house in Congress.ReplyDelete
This is such a great area for Jeep explorations. But getting lost is so very easy, even with a map!! We had tough time during our last visit finding the route out even with a map. With few signs and lots of newly created roads, it is tough down there. Glad you eventually figured the route to pavement:) Magnificent photos!!ReplyDelete