Off-roading in Desert Canyons

A Daytrip Adventure

Guys. How freaking cool are these canyons?? We drove our Jeep all up and down them.

They’re in one of our favorite deserts, the Anza-Borrego.

A couple weekends back we knew we wanted to go somewhere, but didn’t want to deal with the hassle of camping (yes, I said it). I LOVE camping, but sometimes it’s just a big hassle.

You have to find where you want to camp, check out the rules/regulations, reserve a spot (if necessary), meal plan, grocery shop, pack everything up, and scout out things to do in the area. Then when you get back you have a ton of things to clean.

We just weren’t in the mood for all that for this trip.

So instead, we woke up at 6AM, made sandwiches and prepped food for the day, and hit the road. On our drive to Anza we actually encountered a little snow storm(!!!!) as we were driving through the mountains. We weren’t expecting it at all! On the way home the snow was so bad that the police actually closed the mountain road and we took a long detour home instead. Wow.

There were a ton of Jeeps and other off-roading vehicles on the trails we were on, which was cool to see. Love being a part of the off-road community.

A word of warning

While we were on the trail we had a bit of a scare with Shadow…

We were pulled over on the side of an off-roading trail and were checking things out on foot. I had Shadow leashed, but she was about 7 feet away from me. Suddenly, I heard her cry out and noticed a big yellow thing attached to her paw…she had stepped on a cactus ball.

Without even thinking I darted towards her and ripped the thing out with my hand. Then it was stuck in my hand and I started bleeding. She still had a couple spikes(??) stuck in her paw that I quickly worked to pull out (she was not thrilled about this situation).

So. A few things. I’ve heard horror stories of how when a dog gets pricked by a cactus, they freak out and try to get it out by biting it, therefore getting the cactus spikes all over their face, nose, and mouth. So horrible.

I think that’s why I pretty much lunged at Shadow to get the thing off of her ASAP — the last thing we needed was a cactus infestation on her face! Or if she had tried to walk, she would have lodged the cactus farther up into her paw. We were miles from civilization, cell phone signal, and paved roads.

Second, what a lesson. Wow. I’m definitely going to be like a helicopter dog parent from now on in any desert environment (already was, but I guess not enough!). The little cactus ball that got her was hiding in the gravel road, no other cacti in sight.

And finally just an FYI: dogs are allowed in Anza-Borrego, but they can’t be on hiking trails or in the wilderness. They are allowed on all the dirt roads, at the Visitor’s Center, and regulated campgrounds. These rules are to protect your dog & the native wildlife to the park!

So anyways, that’s it. Debated not sharing the Shadow story because I feel like the worst dog mom, but wanted to get the word out to always be *vigilant* in desert environments with your dog.

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