Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Journey Becomes the Destination

Christmas Eve looks like a perfect day to make our way out to the Wind Caves. Still lots of wind kicking up dust in the valley floor, but it clears nicely as we head out the highway toward the Salton Sea.

Split Mountain Road takes us through an interesting area of what look like "permanent boondocking" spots spread out across the desert. Several mailboxes line the side of the road, some shade and storage structures sit next to various RVs.

The "turn off" to the caves is Fish Wash. For a natural trail, the washboard is really bad for a couple miles. But when the wash narrows, the Wows begin.

We'd scene beautiful pics of this gorge on Sue's and John's blogs, and are still unprepared for how truly spectacular it is.

Our first hint of what's to come
This is definitely a Jeep trail, with large rocks to navigate around soft sand, through some narrow turns. You're not going to get lost here, but you can take the "wrong" side when the trail gives you a choice :-)

We make several stops along the way, walking and scrambling up small cut-outs in the tall walls. There is little vegetation and we only see a couple birds, but the many colors and textures of the rocks is beautiful. 







Pam gives me perfect directions to find the caves sign. 

I miss it. 

In all fairness, there are two vehicles parked in front of it, and it's not very big! So we get a couple extra miles of scenic desert trail until we're confident we've passed it.

Didn't remember the hiking poles (the first part of the trail definitely needs them), and didn't dress in layers so I'm already hot in my sweatshirt. But we figure to make the hike anyway.

No dogs on trail greets us at the trailhead. There are a couple other hikers here, more are coming up the gorge, we decide this is not the time to be "those guys" who ignore the rules.

Across the gorge is one visible cave so we can say we "saw" them. The drive back is like a whole new place, with fresh views and different lighting - and more Wows.



 

"Extra" views through the roof
We would do the trip again, even if we never hike the short trail to the caves. 

Ezra and his folks arrive on Christmas evening for a couple of wonderful days together in the desert. Next post!



14 comments:

  1. we are still in civilization visiting family, but your pictures stimulate a bit of hitch itch!

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    1. That's how I felt when we were back in Santa Clarita all of November :-) It is wonderful to be on the move again.

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  2. Bummer that it's a jeep road that Ruby cannot do. Looks wonderful. Bummer that it's a no Tessa trail. Are they sure they don't want her to advertise the place?? How wonderful that Ezra is bringing his folks for a desert visit with you. How do you manage to house 5 people?

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    1. No, Ruby would definitely not make the trip. We'll have to go back and take you guys with us - the Jeep has a comfy back seat :-) She'd be a great spokes-dog wouldn't she. We could fit all of us in here okay for one or two nights, but we got them a motel room instead :-)))

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  3. Tessa looks like she enjoyed it, even if she didn't get to go on the trail. What a cutie-patootie!

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    1. She loves to get out and explore, and is a pretty good trail blazer.

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  4. That's terrible they won't let Tessa on the trail. Silly rules. Happy New Year!

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    1. They probably don't really mean HER :-)))) Happy New Year to you and the fam!

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  5. Looks like a fun ride even without the hike. I think that serpent rock moved from The Slot since last year.

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    1. It really was a great drive!! Hmmmm, I'd like to see that happening :-)

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  6. I forgot all about the no dog sign. We met a couple coming up the trail as we were coming down with a dog. It was very empty that day except for us. Darn! There is always the next time:) But I am glad you drove further down the canyon. The road further on to Sand Canyon is so pretty. You are right about the drive to the Wind Caves being great all by itself. We missed the sign the first time, also. It is way too small and not exactly near where you drive. Not sure if that is on purpose or not.

    Glad you had family and Ezra come to visit for Christmas. Fun times I'm sure:)

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    1. I kept saying "This is right where Pam said the sign should be!" Didn't think that the vehicles were there for the trail :-) We almost missed the 17 Palms sign the day before, so it might be intentional :-))))

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  7. Another place we really must go next time we're in Anza Borrego! The drive looks beautiful, even without the hike, as you said. I'm learning that it's a good idea to take my hiking poles along, even if I think I don't need them -- every time I don't take them, I wish I had them! Then again, there are times that I think, "Why am I dragging these darned poles along?" :-))

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    1. Definitely! There have been a couple times when they would have made all the difference, and this trail was one of them. The gorge is beautiful all the way to and past the caves, you and Eric will really love it.

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