Desert Assault in an NSX?


Adventures Stowell Web


  Anza Borrego State Park is located about 70 mi.'s east of San Diego. It's that barren, desolate area you hit just before clearing the mountains on descent into Lindbergh Field. From the air it doesn't look like a very exciting place, maybe a few rattle snakes, scorpions, scrawny cactus... But if one goes there, the experience is way different from what you'd expect. Borrego teams with life and interesting land features. There are oases, water falls, streams, canyons, caves, mountains, more vegetation variety than one can count, and yes, the occasional rattle snake, scorpion, and other interesting wild life.

Libbi Heckman and I did a quick day hike called the 'Slot' outlined in Jerry Schad's book, "Afoot and Afield in San Diego County" - recommended reading for all area hikers. It is located on 78 about 10 mi's into the park at Butte's Pass (very small brown sign). The drive in from La Costa features many twisty roads, perfect for testing the limits of driver and vehicle. Though we didn't probe the outer envelope of performance, we did manage to keep it interesting enough not to fall asleep at the wheel.

I originally thought we'd park at Butte's Pass turnoff and walk to the Slot trail head. However, the sand was compacted enough that caution was thrown to the wind... and we turned the NSX into our personal desert assault vehicle! Watch out world we're going to see just how far 300HP and 4" clearance will take us. About a mile... yes a mile... off-road we pass the equivalent of Maw and Paw Kettle on retreat. They were just sitting there next to their VW bus, in the middle of the serene desert, sipping Mai Tais when we passed their place of repose. By this time of the morning they were evidently well along toward feeling no pain and the sight of an exotic machine passing their quiet camp only barely penetrated the malaise. Heads turned slowly in sync with our movements. Neither said a word but you could just read their thoughts, "Maw did you see what I saw? Is that one of them new fangled infernal combustion machines? Sure are making them things small these days. Sounds like it needs a tune up, that noise and all, really..."

We did finally get to a spot where the intrepid explorers (us) did not dare to venture forth another foot. The car was parked and we walked the few 100 yds to the Slot hike trail head.

This particular hike I have done many times. It never disappoints as it has a bit of everything, wide vistas taken in from Borrego Mt. peak, interesting canyon scrambling, ending finally with a quarter mile long, narrow, serpentine slot walk completing the circular day hike.

And yes, on the drive back out, Maw and Paw were still sitting where we had left them some 6 hrs before, sun'n and drink'n. Our passing was the mirror opposite of the trip in, heads turned slowly, neither spoke but confusion was clearly evident. I'll bet they call it in to the UFO society.

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