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Desert solitude in the heat of the summer

by surfponto 1. September 2009 05:00

While most people were trying to escape the record high temperatures by heading to the beach, I decided  to head out to Anza Borrego for the day. This trip would be solo since my claims of a fun desert adventure fell on deaf ears. Mary simply wasn't buying it. She said something about triple digit temperatures and that was that. She was right, the weather had been over 110' for the past week out in Ocotillo but that failed to dissuade me. 

I dropped down into Ocotillo around noon figuring if I was going to experience the desert in the summer why not do it at midday when temps would be peaking?

As expected, Ocotillo was a ghost town, without a soul around. Seems those residents that live out here year round were holed up in their homes watching their satellite TVs with their air conditioners cranked.

Torote Canyon Anza BorregoHeading deeper into the desert, I did see one brave soul on a motorcycle. He had stopped in the shade of an Ocotillo at the Carrizo Badlands overlook but he was the exception to an otherwise deserted highway.

Further along S2, I turned off the road at Indian Gorge. I shifted the transfer case into low, more for fun than necessity, and lumbered up the sandy, rock strewn trail. While the trail into Indian Gorge can be traversed in a high clearance 2 two-wheel drive vehicle, the soft sand and boulders do require your attention. Getting stuck out in the midday desert sun would not be fun, and could be downright dangerous. 

Torote Canyon Trail HeadThe trail head to Torote Canyon is less than a mile up the jeep road and is marked by a small weather-beaten sign. It was here that I parked the LandCruiser and proceeded up the canyon.

The hike is a relatively easy hike up a sandy wash. Almost instantly the canyon walls rose around me and I found myself fully immersed in the solitude of Torote Canyon.

About a 1/2 mile up I came to the first "Elephant Tree"  which seemed to be growing directly out of rock. The Elephant Tree's twisted trunk gives Torote Canyon its' name, 'Torote' being the Spanish word for twisted.

At this point I opted to turn around. I would leave the rest of the hike for another day when the temperatures were a bit cooler.

 

 

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