Axle Deep in 2014

F and I closed out 2013 with a campfire and finger food buffet with friends in the Slabs as well as listening to the music at The Range.

We’d decided to head back out to Red Island for a couple of days. Instead of hanging out in the camp area, we drove out to a boat launch near the mouth of the Alamo River. As he gazed out towards the Sea, F asked, “I wonder how soft it is out there?” and gently guided the truck off the hardpacked road.

As luck would have it, the sand was soft. F looked at me and asked me to air down the rear tires to see if we could back out. I did but when we tried to move, they dug further into the sand burying the truck past the axle.

Truck and camper stuck in sand

…On the plus side, it was really easy to get in the camper…

Stuck truck

What we didn’t know was the sand is only a foot deep underlain with soft sticky mud! Fortunately, after taking turns digging we were able to drag some old carpet from the boat launch area. We also aired down the tires to 4 PSI and we were able to drive right out!

Tire ruts

Sitting nice and low with 4 psi in the tires!

5psi, aired down

Later, long after we were unstuck, we were treated to a pretty sunset over the Salton Sea:

Sunset on the Salton Sea

Sunset on the Chocolate Mountains

Below Sea Level Peakbagging

Hanging out below sea level leaves few opportunities to grab a summit or two. However, F and I decided it would be a good idea to end 2013 with a bang and head out to Red Hill Marina for a couple of “summits” after we checked out the mud pots: Red Island (-137′) and Red Hill (-127′).

Red Hill Marina County Park

Sprocket was a big fan of the mud near the Alamo River:

Dirty Sprocket

From the park, we ambled down toward the beach, past some cool looking rock formations. The Salton Sea is down from it’s highest levels leaving a salt encrusted perimeter. The air smelled salty like being at the ocean but yet I could see mountains across the Sea.

Rock formations

Salton Sea

Salton Sea

After poking around on the beach, I headed over to Red Hill (on the right) and then over to Red Island (on the left).

Red Island and Red Hill

We loved exploring the park and I really got a kick out of grabbing another couple of below-sea-level summits for 2013. It made for a really nice adventure for the three of us!