Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Font's Point

I'm adding something to my list of "100 Things To Do Before I Die." I want to visit Font's Point again.

Font's Point is a towering limestone outcrop overlooking miles of the most foreboding, tortured badlands in the Southwest. Just two hours from San Diego, it's center stage in the Anza-Borrego Desert, which itself is one of the last best places on earth. Also, one of its best kept secrets.

I discovered Font's Point twelve years ago on a whim, the way so many of the best things in life are found, led there by an innate adventurousness I inherited from my mom. I'd never seen a real desert before, but one day, finding myself on an extended leave from my job, set out in my Jeep to go four-wheeling in the desert. Never mind that I'd never been in the desert in my life, never mind that I was by myself, never mind that I'd never had my Jeep in four-wheel drive before. I was inexplicably drawn to the Anza-Borrego Desert, and it was love at first sight.

Font's Point isn't easy to find, I just happened on it by turning off the pavement and hotdogging out across the sand. After a few miles, I'd gone as far as I could drive, so braked and cut the engine, and started walking up a long, moderately steep incline. It was hot, but I had plenty of water.

As my eyes topped the rim, my breath caught. Laid out before me, below and as far as I could see, were the Borrego Badlands, miles of barren rock strata that had been down-dropped and eroded into fantastic rock forms a million years ago. Harsh looking, steeply-jagged peaks, and corrugated hills of dried mud thrust up from twisted sedimentary layers, fractured land faults, rich fossil beds, and sunken mesas in colors impossible to imitate by man.

It was a stark, arid terrain where nothing grew and no one lived, and it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. I felt like I was standing on the edge of the earth.

Below, a road beckoned, isolated, remote, narrow and twisting, and begging for me to explore it. (I couldn't find the road on any of the desert maps, but happened upon it weeks later the same way I found Font's Point - by four-wheeling across the sand in its general direction. That was another memorable day.)

Standing at the top of Font's Point and looking far off in the distance to the east, the land drops suddenly to 235 feet below sea level to the weird and frightening Salton Sea. There, buzzards roost on leafless, lifeless trees. Strange, foul smelling sulfurous substances smoke and bubble up from the ground. Streams run an unnatural fuchsia red. The whole place looks like a scene after a nuclear blast. I don't like it there and stay away.

But Font's Point calls me still, and I hope to go back there.


Karen Fenech said...

Sounds like it could also be a great setting for a scene in a novel. . .


C.C. Harrison said...

Yes, Karen, it is, and I've used it in my to be published book called, "Bad Company." My heroine gets stranded there after her Jeep drops off an earthquake fault while she's chasing the bad guy.

Anonymous said...

Yes, C.C. I remember it well. It truly is a remarkable place to visit. Words cannot describe. BB