Anza Borrego Exploration
||Some scenic trail riding out near
Blair Valley Campgrounds.
Another great weekend.
We drove to Blair Valley Campground Friday, had the place to ourselves.
We took a drive up to Agua Caliente Friday afternoon, after setting up
camp. It's OK, a little expensive, and "elderly" looking.
The hot springs that is enclosed in a glass partition looks as if it
would be just the ticket in the winter time, after a day on the trail.
There is also an outdoor hot springs. Neither is large enough to
really swim in, community bath tubs for the most part, heheh. NO
Also stopped at the Vallecitos Stage Station campground. You have
to pay here as well. Nothing there to really make it worth paying
Blair Valley is free, plenty of room for large groups.
It was almost spooky it is so quiet. House battery on the RV
sucks, needs to be replaced...really needed a charge Friday night.
It was so peaceful out there I just couldn't bring myself to start the
generator, so we did without.
Saturday, Danny (YJBREAKER), Bob (Robert-R) and Bill (YJBill) showed up.
Bill left his rig at home, rode JAFO with Bob. Danny said he saw
Blair in Ramona, thought he might be coming out. Sure enough, the
short bus came rolling into camp with Blair (Blair Will) and Seth (sethmark),
and Seth's dogs Indiana and Buddy!
Ready to go.
We decided to head down to Canyon Sin Nombre via the highway, then go up
Fish Creek to the Pinyon Mountain Trail. Up Heart Attack Hill and
back to camp.
As soon as we hit the highway, I developed a bad case of death wobble.
Aired the tires (TSL bias ply's) up to 30 psi, they were at 20 psi.
That made it a little better, but I still didn't trust it. 25 miles of
highway to go, ughh. Fortunately S-2 is not heavily traveled.
We made the drive at about 50 mph.
Anyway, we took Canyon Sin Nombre to Arroyo Tapiado to get to the mud
caves. They weren't as spooky as I thought they would be. Quite
amazing actually. We went in the smaller one, where you walk
through a narrow crack in the hill. It ends at a large cavern with
a hole in the top.
Blair and Danny in the crevasse that leads to the
The larger "cave" is actually just a passage through a very narrow wash
IMO. We hiked up it a half mile or so.
Machelle, in the wash from the "big cave".
Then we headed up to Sandstone Canyon. This is a box canyon with
no outlet. The terrain gets rougher towards the top.
Entrance of sandstone Canyon.
When we got back to Fish Creek trail, Blair and Seth decided to head out
via Split Mountain Trail. The rest of us headed up to Heart Attack
Hill via the Pinyon Mountain Trail.
Bob was first in line, got half way up Heart Attack Hill when his rear
end started banging, bucking, and binding. We got Bob stopped and
took a look at the situation. There is a rock that makes a
convenient winch anchor at the top, so we went that route, and got Bob
safely to the top. I went next, had the winch ready, just in case,
walked right up it.
Heart Attack Hill, most maps say this is one
I let this obstacle get into my head and was convinced I was going to
have problems on it. Made my day when I went right up. It's
not that difficult, just a head game.
Danny came up last, he's open in the front, so went to the wire almost
immediately. Danny has a Ramsey 8000 lb winch. Not sure what
model...line speed is INCREDIBLY SLOW. I thought my Warn 10k was
slow, it's a race horse compared to the Ramsey.
Slow line speed made the climb a PITA. Every time Danny got over
an obstacle he had to stop and let the winch catch up. Line speed
is important people. Take a look at the line speed on some of
those cheap winches. If you don't have crawler gears, you're going
to outrun your cable. Just something to think about.
Once at the top, we decided to see what was up with Bob's rear end.
We got some plastic bags with dirt in them set up to catch the gear oil,
and popped the cover...YIKES...CHUNKS. Gears were destroyed on
Bob's D44. He said that this was the second time he'd had a set of
We tried leaving the rear driveshaft in, but the rear end kept binding
the entire drive train. We finally pulled it out after I pulled
Bob up through the "Squeeze".
Things were much better with the rear driveshaft out, and Bob drove it
the 2 miles down the highway, back to our camp with no problems after
reaching the trails end.
After some talking about it, we finally decided the best thing to do was
to have Danny take Bob and Bill home. They would return in the
morning with a trailer to collect the Jeep...and that's what we did.
Machelle and I had a great time. Did a little more real wheeling
than I thought we would, which is always a good thing.
As always, good to see those that made it out. Hope to see more of you
We definitely plan to return and do some more of the scenic trails
around the Blair Valley Campground.
End of another great day with good buddies, and a good
Bob (PS, take a metal container if you want a campfire)
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