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Anza Borrego Mud Caves

1302 4wd 01 Anza Borrego Mud Caves Toyota 4runner
Kevin Blumer | Writer
Posted February 1, 2013
Photographers: Jaime Hernandez

If it’s “Pseudokarst,” is it “Pseudo Spelunking”?

It’s amazing how long it can take to scratch a particular itch. The Anza Borrego mud caves came onto my proverbial radar screen about a decade ago while reading a hiking and exploring Web page.

The planned trip was put on the backburner for many reasons, but one was that the mud caves are in a corner of the Anza Borrego Desert State Park that I don’t often visit. It takes longer to get to and it’s more remote once you show up. Other destinations were easier propositions.

The mud caves’ number came up last winter when my brother Joel and his wife Emily came down for the holidays. They were living in Utah at the time and were glad to escape winter’s icy grip, if only temporarily. What better way to have an adventure than to go some places that are new to everybody?

As usual, the 4Runner was well-stocked with tools and gear. We were prepared to fly solo, but we didn’t have to. Jaime Hernandez in his 80- series Land Cruiser and Josh Burns in his new-to-him TJ Wrangler completed our vehicular trio.

Anza Borrego’s mud caves are in an area of the park called the Carrizo Badlands, which are home to slot canyons, deep gorges, and two well-known one-way drop-offs. The area is well-mapped and trail signs are numerous. Still, it’s a place that can spell trouble if you show up sans map and common sense.


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