If you have ever considered hiking to the top of Mount Whitney, there are basically two ways you can get there. There is the traditional route that is 22 miles round trip and then there is the short cut (i.e. the mountaineers route), which is the one we took. They say the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and while this route isn't straight, it's about as straight as you can get. This is the third time I have done this event and I can say that the weather could not have been any better. Actually, I would have preferred for it to have been a little cooler. But given a choice of what we had on this trip and what we have had in the past, this was a blessing.
Joshua Tree National Park is considered by many to be a mecca for rock climbing and bouldering, and I would have to agree. There are rock structures over a hundred feet high, with climbing routes galore scattered throughout the entire park. It is a truly unique place. But my favorite thing to do at the park is explore The Chasm of Doom.
The Chasm of Doom is a talus cave structure located in the middle of the park climbing possibly a hundred feet from the floor. While it doesn’t take any rock climbing skills, to explore the cave you do have to do a little scrambling (possibly beyond what you may be accustomed to), some crawling, some squeezing, and some overcoming of claustrophobia (if you happen to suffer from this).
The chasm starts right out on your hands and knees and with headlamps on...
Deep in the heart of the Anza Borrego State Park, about 2 hours Northeast of San Diego, there is a gem of a canyon filled with palm trees, tons of shade, pools of water, and waterfall after waterfall. This oasis in the middle of the desert is know as Cougar Canyon.
Before you start packing your gear for a quick road trip, there are a few hurdles you must overcome to get to such an incredible place.
I have been going out to these caves at least once a year for the past 5 or so years and I never fail to have an awesome time. It is always a great opportunity to play, explore, and even find a way to test our ability to overcome a little fear (only if the thought of getting stuck, wedged into a small pitch-black crevice a hundred feet below the surface and hours away from any professional rescue team could induce a little fear).
The mud caves are a series of caves created from the erosion and refilling of deep tunnels so thin, that you have to squeeze through most, and some on your hands and knees, and some even require belly crawling. I could go in for a while trying to give you a visual of what these structures are like, but I still don’t think you would get the true picture, so instead I will just share some images and videos from the adventure.
I would like to take this moment to apologize for taking the group on the sketchiest cave first. It really is best to work your way up to these things.
First, make sure you have your keys. Second, let someone (like Dan) lead the way on the more questionable caves.