• Open Road 4Two

Solo Adventure to Ghost Mountain

You read the title right, I was out of the passenger seat and driving our 2016 TRD Pro 4Runner, Katsu SOLO.

With Randy leading the way in our 2017 Tacoma, we made the two hour drive to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (Park). The views were amazing along our route, with snow covering the peaks of the mountains. Once in the park, we made our way to Blair Valley. Blair Valley sits between Granite Mountain and Whale Peak. It is a beautiful area that is popular for dispersed camping. Just note that when camping, your vehicle can only be one car length from the road.

The Blair Valley Loop is an 11 mile scenic trail, which made a great place for me to gain some experience off-roading, solo. The terrain is packed dirt, sandy in areas, and some wash boards, but overall mostly groomed. On this occasion, after the area received some rain, there were a few mud puddles that we enjoyed wheeling through. There are three popular hikes that are accessible from the loop trail: Pictograph Trail, Marshall South Homestead, and Mortreros Trail. On this trip we ventured to Ghost Mountain to see the old remnants of the Marshall South Homestead.

The hike is somewhat deceiving, although the marker indicated that it is only a mile, it is a steep climb with more than 450 feet of elevation gain. The homestead was constructed in the 1930's as an experiment in primitive living and was occupied by the poet/author Marshall South and his family (wife Tanya and three children) for approximately 17 years. Near the end of his life, Marshall South admitted "the desert has a way of sapping dreams. And more often than not, heroic plans wilt bit by bit."

There are always those fun unexpected moments while exploring. While at the homestead, we stumbled upon a geocache. For the next lucky hunter, we left an Open Road 4Two memento, just be sure to read the instructions on the back!

We were losing daylight and with another rain storm on the way, we were unfortunately unable to do the other two hikes. Randy and I decided to complete those hikes on a future camping trip. Along the trail, we discovered some great dispersed spots that we made sure to reference for our next trip to the area.


Overall, this day trip adventure was so much fun. It was a great way to build my confidence for future trails and expeditions that we have planned.To see the full Open Road 4Two adventure on the Blair Valley Loop trail and our hike to the homestead, be sure to watch our video below:

Until next time, we will see you down the Open Road!


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