Trailridge Runners 4WD Club
Thanksgiving Moab Trip 2008
by Gordon and Christy Howe
Day 1 - Hell's Revenge
After settling into our hotels and meeting up for dinner at the Moab Brewery on Friday, we all rallied at the Visitors Center on Saturday morning. Present were Gordy, Christy, and Logan Howe; Karen Feary, a friend of the Howes who lives in Moab; Darryl and Arnold Turner; Mike Moore and his friend Roger Briden; Rich, Cathy, Aaron and Jordan Horiuchi; Wilson and Jennifer Hagg, Greg's Jeepster friends from Santa Fe; Larry and Paulette Mcgimsey; Patrick, Patricia, Benjamin, and Samantha Davis.
Hell's Revenge tip over challenge

We started out with the jaunt up Baby Lionsback to raise the testosterone level to appropriate heights and make sure everyone's cameras were working, then proceeded to Hell's Revenge, one of the more popular 4WD trails in the area. Only medium peril awaited us on the mostly slickrock-filled trails and domes, as the old-timers broke in the newbies to the area. We tooled along, mostly uneventfully but taking in the spectacular scenery, to the overlook to the Colorado River and Negro Bill Canyon for a scenic lunch. With no one willing to entertain us by attempting the climb up Hell's Gate, we were missing Ray about this time, so Darryl tried to talk some other unfortunates who showed up (not in our group) into it, but they were having none of it. So after lunch and the ever-popular Cowboy Hill, Darryl had to resort to driving through a pretty deep "hot tub" for entertainment, which most of us followed him through.

After Larry and Paulette needed winching up Tipover Challenge, they provided further color to the day by being the only ones to incur body damage, kissing the rock on the squeezy part towards the bottom and scratching the rear bumper. The group increased by 4 at dinnertime with the addition of Matt and CarolAnne Schwall, and Dave and Robyn Hamor (sans the munchkin).
Hell's Revenge

Hell's Revenge Hot Tub

Day 2 - Gemini Bridges and Long Canyon
As Robyn pondered which was the greater peril, Dave's driving or leaving the baby at home in the hands of his parents, we proceeded up the steep cliff (with drop off), overlooking the Spanish Valley, then on toward Gemini Bridges. First we went past Gooney Bird Rock, to the intersection with the Gold Bar Rim Trail. At this point we took an alternate route to arrive in Bull Canyon below Gemini Bridges.

Gemini Bridges Bull Canyon

This trail branches off Gold Bar Rim in a 3 mile southerly and then westerly direction past Two Tortoise Rock before intersecting with Bull Canyon. This trail was new to all of us and provided some good route finding, views, and new obstacles. We only encountered one person on this section of the trail, a bicyclist coming from the opposite direction who had lost a bunch of skin. He was interested in where we had come, and we asked the same of him.

Finally at the head of Bull Canyon we munched our lunches while gazing up at the bridges, complaining of another perfect day in paradise. The kids (some young and some not so young) ran up and down a sandy slope at the end of the slot canyon. Then we went back up and approached Gemini Bridges in the traditional manner, from the top. It was Patrick and Patricia's turn to worry about the peril level and hold their kids' hands for dear life while reading the memorial about the guy who failed in his attempt to drive across the bridge. "Lost his life doing what he loved most", said the plaque. The last part of the drive was a surprisingly spectacular drive down a very narrow Pucker Pass into Long Canyon, underneath a giant fallen rock with huge photo ops, and winding down through an extremely red canyon, past Jug Handle Arch and back to Moab.

Long Canyon, Pucker Pass

Day 3 - Poison Spider Mesa
Up past the switchbacks and the "Waterfall", we all made it through "The Wedgy" thanks to the spotting by our fearless leader Darryl. Across the Whoop-Ti-Dos and the High-Speed-Mesa, Logan was really getting into it, as Gordy relinquished the wheel for most of the day. Another power lunch at Little Arch, followed by much slickrock scrambling and awesome views, then it was time for the daily entertainment.

Poison Spider - Mike Moore

While Wilson and Mike were heard banging on Wilson's Jeepster attempting to tighten a bolt on a leaf spring, Darryl turned up a steep something which the guide book said not to do and spent a few minutes trying to get back down. Then we found the sand. While Mike hooked up a strap to pull Larry and Paulette out, Darryl and Wilson became playful, driving up and down the slope, and Logan looked on jealously. Then we continued on to the overlook which allows 360 degree views. On the way back down, Larry and Paulette once again claimed the body damage award, bending their tailpipe on the Waterfall.

Poison Spider - Wilson Hagg

Poison Spider - Dave and Robyn Hamor

Day 4 - "It's Always an Adventure with Gordy", a.k.a. "What, Me Lost?"- Lunar Canyon, Hidden Canyon Overlook, Bartlett Rim, and Bartlett Wash
This day started out innocently enough, until in the parking lot it was noticed that Darryl's jeep had a seriously bent front stabilizer connecting link. After Arnold tried unsuccessfully to beat it into submission with a sledgehammer, we took off up north of town on the Blue Hills Road, which quickly turned into a lunar-looking landscape (Lunar Canyon), just past Brink Spring out in the middle of nowhere.

Lunar Canyon

After a wrong turn and some regrouping, we made our way across a lot of flat slickrock, (more of Lunar Canyon), a challenging ledge step and joined a section of the 3D Trail. We were just beginning to wonder where the spectacular scenery was (ha, ha), when out we popped atop the spectacular overlook of Hidden Canyon.

Lunar Canyon, exiting

The sun decided to cooperate by coming out as we all found rock furniture to enjoy the view, eat our lunches, and watch the rock scramblers of the group enjoy the slickrock on foot. There was to be no dozing off post-lunchtime: we found a very challenging uphill section on the way to the "alternate way out" before popping out onto yet another awesome overlook (where the heck were we here, anyway?). Good thing it was a great view, since we had to perform further damage control to Larry's tailpipe and stood around while Gordy and Matt arm-waved, consulted Google Earth and Matt's GPS, and got out maps I've never seen before trying to figure out where to go next. It at least resulted in finding the correct exit "trail" to Dubinky Well Road, but then our leader proceeded to drive right past the entrance to Bartlett Wash Road. Rich and Cathy bailed us out with the helpful 2nd Edition of Charles Wells' book. CarolAnne in the meantime had decided that it was the Ladies' Run and tried to launch their jeep airborne when she got her confidence up in Bartlett Wash. I guess in the end we only got lost three times - all in a day's adventure. We all topped off the day with an awesome "Happy Birthday" dinner for Arnold overlooking town at the Sunset Grill - awesome food, awesome views, and awesome company!
Bartlett Overlook

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