December 13, 2002
This is part two of the December 13th trip to Anza Borrego. We started off with a quick trip up Borrego Palm Canyon where we were treated to a rare closeup glimpse of Desert Bighorn Sheep. After visiting the oasis at Borrego Palm Canyon we headed south through Borrego Springs and West Butte Mountain and "The Slot".
I guess I wasn't paying attention and forgot to turn off on Borrego Springs Road from Christmas Circle and found ourselves passing Borrego Springs Airport on Palm Canyon Road. I noticed my mistake and took a shortcut south on Borrego Valley Road back to Borrego Springs Road and the " T " intersettion near "Casa Del Zorro". There are just too many roads with borrego in them around here. Finally on the right road we passed through the "Texas Dip" and made a left turn onto HWY 78. Just a few miles away was Buttes Pass Road but it is marked with just a small sign and is easy to miss. Luckily I had set a waypoint on my Gps and slowed down as it came up on our left.
Last time here I was in my small truck and I had to keep my speed up to get through the sandy sections. This time I was in my Toyota Sequoia and is had no trouble negotiating the soft sandy sections and high center problem areas.
After parking at the top of the Slot "No. 1",we decided not to head up to the summit of West Butte but headed directly down the sandy and eroded trail into the slot. From the start it dosen't look that interesting but the view quickly changes.
I had looked up some geocaches in the Anza Borrego area and plotted out a course on my GPS. We took a brief detour up a side slot canyon looking for "Slots of Fun" and ended up shuffling sideways through a foot wide trench. We reached the top of the side canyon and neared the GPS waypoint for the Slots of Fun Geocache. Dave G. and I climbed up and over the top of the small ridge and hunted around for it while Dave S. scouted out the nearby slots. Ginther found the slot geocache and I logged in.
After repositioning and conceiling the cache we headed back the way we came to the main wash. As the side increased in height I climbed up on a slippery ledge above and took this photo of the Daves sliding through. Even fanny bags had to come off . My feet were too big to stand crosswise so I had to slide them in a shuffle to get through. It wasn't too bad until the sides increased over your head. Not a great place to be if you are claustrophobic.
Finding our way back to the main wash we entered the slot's narrowing walls and smooth sandstone features.
We let Dave G. go first since he had not been here before. As we inspected the features we noticed bat guano and unusual dry waterfalls throughout the wash. Deep into the slot my gps lost satelite reception and we followed the trail downstream.
In a few places large boulders seem wedged precariously above your head ready to topple. Evidence of rockslides were apparant as we had to step over recently fallen sections. One large tower section had broken away from the cliff sides and was cracked and ready to go.
We safely emerged from the walls of the Slot and entered the end of the wash. As the mouth of the canyon opened up I pointed out the small windcaves up ahead and to the right. We headed up toward the ridgetop and climbed above the wash for a better look. The cool breeze felt great and looking back towards the "Dropoff"
These windcaves are small but worth a look while visiting the slot. Some caves form holes that go completely through the rocks and out the other side. Looking back down into the wash Dave G. noticed three unusual square blocks that appeared stacked neatly in a row on the hillside below. Knowing is was getting late we headed back down into the wash and the tough hike up the sandy Dropoff.
After slogging up the slippery slope to the top of the Dropoff we headed back to the car and were treated to great views of the Borrego Badlands. Along the way we pointed out the Teddy Bear cactus to Dave G. and watched two huge crows perched on a branch overlooking the slot.
Once we got back to the car we I had a beer and we took a brief break and ate a snack. It was closing in on sunset and we still had one more trip to make through Split Mountain. We decided to got for it and made the return trip down Buttes Pass Road and back onto Borrego Springs Road.