Open Road 4Two
We Hit the Slots!
Seeking an overnight getaway, Open Road 4Two headed to the desert playground, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (Park). There is so much of the Park that we have yet to explore, so we figured it was the perfect time to have some desert fun while the weather is still cool. We have seen the videos of the amazing Utah slot canyons, and have awed at the beautiful photographs that capture the colors of Antelope Valley in Arizona. With that being said, the South Fork Palm Wash Slot Canyon held some magic of its own.
To access the South Fork Palm Wash Slot Canyon we headed Southeast from Borrego Springs on S22 towards the Salton Sea. We took the turnoff for Calcite Mine Road. There was parking right off the S22; or if you have a 4WD high clearance vehicle, you can drive down the wash. We choose to drive down the wash. About a half mile or so, the canyon narrows preventing vehicles from traveling further up the canyon. Just beyond this point you will see a large sandstone arch bridge, which marks the entrance to slot. The hike overall is relatively easy, although you will be met with some rock fall that will require some light scrambling.
As you make your way down the trail, the smooth wavy canyon walls seem to get tighter and tighter. Just as you think the walls are about to close in on you, the labyrinth leads you to a much wider canyon, which becomes the perfect place for a quick water break and for a selfie.
Since this is an out and back hike, you can make it as long or as short as you like. Note that there are a total of three forks to explore (we explored the south fork) and you can easily spend hours navigating the numerous branches of the slots. Always check the weather before you head out into the slot canyon. If there is heavy rain in the forecast, it's best to stay way from canyon hiking as the narrow passageways can rapidly fill with fast moving water and debris. Be sure to note the landmarks as you are hiking along and remember to pack plenty of drinking water.
As for camping, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park has eight primitive designated camping areas. On this occasion we selected Arroyo Salado, due to its proximity to the slot canyon. Once we hit the dirt road again, we were in search of a location where we could get a decent cell signal. Most of the sites tucked further back away from the road did not have a signal, so we headed back towards the entrance where we were able to secure a few bars. After a day with some healthy "Terrain Cure" (thank you to our friends at Nurturing Adventure for introducing us to this term), there is nothing better than setting up camp for a night underneath the stars. After setting up camp, we prepared a quick and easy meal, which we enjoyed with a hard cider.
Following dinner, we enjoyed a beautiful desert sunset and watched a few movies underneath the stars. It's amazing how restorative and therapeutic nature can be. We like to call these adventure outings our desert and/or mountain therapy, depending on our location. Take some time, set out a course, explore nature, and take in that healing energy of the universe. For the full Open Road 4Two adventure, check out our YouTube Video. Better yet, subscribe and become a Road Warrior!
Until next time...Adventure Awaits, we will see you on the Open Road!