Trailridge Runners 4WD Club
Thanksgiving Moab Trip
by Gordon Howe
The Thanksgiving Moab event was attended by 20 Trailridge Runner members; Glen Akins; Greg Beery; Ray and Andrew Comeau; Rich, Cathy, Aaron and Jordan Horiuchi; Gordon, Christy and Logan Howe; John and Kathy Howell; Rich and Mary Ann Loefflerr; Mike Moore; Darrel and Judy Turner; Rick and Erin Kilton; as well as two Moabites, Bill and JoAnne Hutton, A.K.A Eugene and RubyRed, and Kevin (in the black Grand Cherokee from California).

Saturday morning we started with some traditional slickrock trails by running the last third of Fins and Things before the always enjoyable Hell's Revenge. We managed to find a few new ways to attack some of the obstacles on Hell's Revenge.

Darrell showed us that even a stock Rubicon Unlimited could be coaxed up and over most of the obstacles. Once however, he did do a pretty good impression of a high centered turtle.

Andrew Comeau and Logan Howe provided entertainment attempting Cowboy Hill. Andrew was ultimately successful, Logan was not (got some good air though). Hell's Gate was attempted by Andrew Comeau and Rich Loefflerr. Both made it look like a walk in the park, still that didn't convince any others to participate. The trail was completed by running an obstacle that I personally had somehow previously missed known as "the chute".

How Mike Moore got his shiny Grand Cherokee through there I have no idea. I was watching the rock, the scrapes in it and my hardtop trying not to add to the gouges in the cliff. Tricky, because as you steer away from the rock, it tips your vehicle's top in the direction of the cliff. I believe it did bite Glen's new JK, but he said it was only plastic parts that needed to be replaced anyway.

On Sunday the group split up. Ray, Andrew, Rick, Mike, Bill and JoAnne Hutton, and Kevin (in the black Grand Cherokee from California) ran Steel Bender. The rest of us explored a few areas north of town.

First we drove out to Dellenbaugh Tunnel, a short distance off the Spring Canyon Point road. There we found the tunnel, which you can only walk through (it's more like a short cave with an opening at each end).

Nearby there is an interesting incised meandering stream valley carved into the slickrock just before a 300 foot fall which provided entertainment for some of us. We proceeded to Hidden Canyon to the east, along the north flank of Bartlett Rim and ate lunch.

This is an area of deep sand washes and dunes covered with sparse vegetation, sort of "hidden" between an unnamed ridge on the north and Bartlett Rim to the south. Easy scenic stuff; no one had any trouble except for a minor navigational error (wrong turn, went down a dead end sand wash). We ended the day with a trail that originates a few miles north of the airport on the east side of Highway 191 and climbs a flank of the salt anticline which is the geologic form that underlies Arches N.P. The trail starts at a location for viewing dinosaur tracks and proceeds up the ridge, getting progressively more difficult while crossing an extensive old mining site. Ultimately we crested the ridge and had a spectacular 360 degree view of the Book Cliffs and most of Arches N.P.

Meanwhile back at Steel Bender Rick Kilton reported that all was under control on that excursion, no breakdowns and there was little to report. His photos however reveal that it was not without some amount of consternation (amazement or dismay that hinders or throws one into confusion, e.g. "stared at each other and neither knew what to do"). I looked it up! See the picture if you need more convincing.

Monday, Bill and JoAnne Hutton and Kevin (in the black Grand Cherokee from California) lead us around the Seven Mile Rim Trail. Wow, three leaders, but we didn't get lost.

We took the side trip to view Uranium Arch and later lunched at a cliff that provided Ray with excellent terrain to entertain us with his scrambling about while we ate.

Just as I finally found someone who had some spare mustard, the call went out to, "saddle up!" Oh well, I guess we were there to 4-wheel, not watch Ray tempt fate and eat sandwiches with mustard. Soon we arrived at Kathy Howell's favorite section of tippy slickrock. We must have taken different lines, cause I missed the scary part. This was just before Wipe Out Hill. More consternation, but now you know what it means.

Ray put on his blue helmet, and I'm sure most of you know what that means too. He very adroitly drove right down to the bottom, turned around, and tried the hard way back up. There was a short pause, a little careful backing up, and he finished it off to a round of applause and many pictures.

Tuesday morning we set off for Tower Arch in the Klondike Bluffs area of Arches N.P. The same three leaders, with much the same results; we didn't get lost. This trail was enhanced by many dinosaur footprints in the slightly inclined sandstone bedrock which we climbed, as it was the trail for quite some distance. We took a minor deviation to look at some copper mining debris before cresting the ridge. This is a sort of "back way" into Arches, and surprisingly to me at least, the trail did not seem highly traveled. The downhill section was quite rocky with one tight squeeze between some boulders before squirting us out into the middle of the Salt Valley.

The dust flew as we cruised a couple of miles and entered Arches from the northwest. Did I say the dust flew? A few more miles of slow ledgey but not difficult rock crawling, mixed with a few sections of dune sand and we arrived at our lunch destination, Tower Arch. T-shirt weather on the last day of our outing left everyone satisfied with their decision to spend some pre-Thanksgiving time in the Moab area.

A few of us scrambled off to get a closer look at the arch while the rest enjoyed the scenery in a more relaxed fashion. No one crashed to their death while following Ray scrambling around the rocks, so we were left with nothing else to do but return to Moab via Salt Valley through Arches and out to the main road.

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