I started by driving to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in my little Honda Fit. Not the best choice for many of the dirt roads in the area, but workable for the one leading out to The Slot, a small hiking trail inside a canyon crevice.
The road leading out to The Slot is so small that I literally drove past it, had to turn around, and find it the second time. Luckily, not many people travel that way so a U-turn was completely safe on the 78. It was a dirt road and was a little unsure about taking the turn off the pavement. I had heard that driving on packed dirt was ok, but anything loose and soft could cause me to get stuck if I had to stop since I did not have 4-wheel drive. One car wide, I slowly made my way down the bumpy packed dirt. It got looser as I went and I hoped no one would come down the other way. Luckily for me any cars I came across were nice enough to pull off the road and allow me to pass on the firm dirt. My heart was in my throat by the end but I arrived at my destination safely.
The road opened up to a small undesignated parking area where I saw a few other vehicles. I pulled off and parked and I spoke with a man standing by his car. I asked if I was in the right spot, if there were other people he passed while inside The Slot and where the entrance was. Yes, yes, and as for the entrance it was straight ahead. Yes, down that big drop off.
The entrance wasn’t at all what I had imagined after reading about it on so many different websites. It was a barren land that stretched out to some mountains miles away with one specific crack to be explored. There were no visual markers of any kind accept the road and other cars in the area. It was deserted, like a desert of course.
I slowly slid down into The Slot, the gravel was loose near the top and I struggled to find secure spots to place my feet. Once near the bottom the ground became more rigid and easier. Going down is always harder so I wasn’t too concerned about getting out. Once at the bottom I noted the stone marker for the exit. Yes, you could definitely lose track of where you are going in here and completely miss your exit point if you are not aware of your surroundings. I hoped there were no turn offs or if there were any they were clearly marked and started my journey.
The Slot was totally worth every effort to get there. I journeyed down the path and it slowly got more and more narrow, the rocky edges squeezing in on me. At times the were spaces only shoulder width wide and some were angled funny. I slithered through them and continued on my way. Rocks hung above in some sections and I hoped the wedging and gravity tricks of the world held strong as I passed underneath. The formations were amazing and I closely examined the sandy sides. The tops of the rocks were completely smooth, carved by the cool breeze that occasionally ran through The Slot. The undersides were often scattered with tiny ridges that might have been where water droplets washed away the looser sand. At least that is what I imagined.
I reached the end and it opened to a wide jeep trail. I continued down the path, knowing that I could follow it to make a 3.5 mile loop. I heard a loud rumble coming from the path behind me. I hoped it was the wind or a passing plane. To be honest, I never found out what it really was. The jeep trail was hot with beautiful views, but once you saw one part it was the same all the way through.
I turned around, cutting my hike down to about a mile, and headed back to The Slot trail ready to explore it for a second time. It was just as amazing as the first time. I reached the end, saddened that there was not more to explore, and climbed out of the gap. Wow, what an adventure. This has to be my best experience yet!