It’s only been a couple of hours since the sun has risen, but I could already feel the heat steadily building as the early morning rays hit the base of my neck. It was going to be a hot one. Indigo bushes, desert willows and all sorts of cacti pepper the baron landscape. In the distance, a modest mountain range to the north and off to the west, an endless stretch of rolling sand dunes. The Anza Borrego Desert is always quite the scene to soak in. The massive state park spans more than 935 square miles and is home to a wide range of animals such as mountain lions, tarantulas, antelope squirrels and the elusive big horn sheep. Temperatures here can reach up to 110 degrees in the dead of Summer and if you come unprepared, it can be an unforgiving environment.
Posted at the edge of my trunk, staring off into the distance and my Columbia hiking boots at the base of my feet waiting to be donned, my gaze was suddenly interrupted by several cactus bees curiously swarming the new intruder close to their surrounding nests. Dodging the pesky insects, I laced up my boots and gathered the handful of things necessary for the trek. A camera, my Hydro Flask bottle and a small backpack. Light and fast was the approach. A heavy pack will only feel heavier when trudging through the desert in the summer heat. Just beyond the sandy lot, completely out of nowhere, there laid a crack in the Earth. From afar the natural wonder could easily be missed, but from where I stood, the gaping cracks were unmistakable and somewhat imposing. The cut in the terra firma in front of me, tucked away in the Anza Borrego Desert and notable for its unique geology, eroding walls and very narrow passages was the ravine known as Slot Canyon.