|Trailridge Runners 4WD Club
Thanksgiving Moab Trip 2009
|by Mike Moore|
|Day 1-Lockhart Basin
Eight Jeeps (and their occupants-Greg Beery, Mike Moore, John and Kathy Howell, Roger Briden and friend Linda, Gordon and Christie Howe, Don and Karen Lamprecht, Darrel Turner and Mike and Laura Baker) arrived in Moab on Thursday and all except the Bakers (who were hiking) enjoyed dinner at the Moab Brewery. Early, very very early, the next morning we met at the Visitors Center to begin the long Lockhart Basin trail-going from North to South with Gordon in the lead. The temperature was quite crisp, and the sun just coming up as we left the pavement on the way to the trailhead. We were soon at Hurrah Pass with its great views and the sun still casting quite the shadow.
We then took the Chicken Corners trail to the Lockhart Basin Trailhead and about 1 hour and 45 minutes after leaving the pavement we were on the trail. This is actually good time as Chuck Wells estimates 3 hours for this portion of the trip. Through a small wash, over a large rock, then climbing out of the canyon that became narrower and somewhat more difficult we topped a ridge from which we could see the Islands in the Sky Mesa to the west, the La Sal Mountains to the east, and the Needles District to the south. Shortly after this Don Lamprecht reported he was getting a loud squeal from his JK. With plenty of help, Don had a front wheel off and was looking for a rock somewhere in the brake or hub assembly. Not finding anything the wheel was put back on, the Jeep tested and the squeal was fixed. If only all issues could be fixed like that!! Somewhere along here Greg reported a knocking noise from the front of his stock Commando that occurred with each driveline rotation. More on this later.
It was about this time that we actually saw some big horn sheep, which broke our string of multiple years of coming to the Moab area and seeing no wildlife with the exception of a few lizards. We kept moving with hope of seeing a downed airplane before coming to the intersection that would take us down to the Green River. Upon arriving at the noted location, we determined that we would have to hike across two shallow canyons to see the downed plane. With the amount of daylight an issue we decided to bypass the plane for another more extended trip.
At the intersection, Greg and Darrel stayed to try to determine the source of Greg's rotational noise (or, as some suspected, to take a nap), while the rest of us ventured to the Green River going down Lockhart Canyon. After traversing multiple sandy washes and a gate, we made it to the end of the canyon and, if you held your nose right, you could actually see a little bit of the river.
Returning to the intersection Greg and Darrel reported that the rotational noise had been fixed with a tightened strap and we were ready to go. An easier road for about 15 miles brought us out on the Needles Overlook Road where we aired up just as it was getting dark.
We returned to town and had dinner at the Branding Iron Restaurant.
Day 2-White Wash Sand Dunes
Joining the group this morning at the Visitor's Center (at the much more reasonable hour of 9:00 AM) were Richard and Karla Harmon, Richard's son and girlfriend, Rich, Kathy, Aaron and Jordan Horiuchi, Mat and Carol Anne Schwall, Dusty and Micky Rhoades and Mike Moore's friend Dave Shipps. With Gordon again leading and with the assistance of at least 21 GPS units, 14 Chuck Wells books, 10 topo maps and one laptop with Google Earth loaded we were off to explore the White Wash Sand Dune area northwest of Moab.
After driving down a bunch of roads that really didn't have much going for them (except we did see some antelope-wow, two days in a row of wildlife) we arrived at Dripping Springs and the head of 10 Mile Canyon were we stopped for a 10-100 and a look at all our navigational devices to make sure we were at the right spot.
Soon we were at the Sand Dune area and we were off exploring. It did not take long for Rich to get a bit sideways on a hill. With a quick wench attachment to stabilize things from Dusty's Grand and Rich was off again.
Shortly after this, Darrel got caught in the same area with his front going up the sand and his back in a bush. After much manipulation on his part (and some smell from the clutch) Darrel was able to extricate himself without any straps or wenches.
A bit later, both Darrel and Greg tried to get to the top of this dune with Greg succeeding in grand style. And then it was on to lunch on a spot of slickrock that Gordon and Mat had found.
While at lunch a group of vehicles went by and ended up on the ridge in the back of this picture. After lunch we worked our way around them and the real fun of the day began. Gordon found a way between slick rock ridges and we stayed in and on the dunes finally working our way to the ravine bottom. A great big sigh of relief was heard at this point. We then followed the ravine to an exit and worked our way down some more non-descript roads to the point of entry earlier in the day.
In keeping with tradition, it must be reported that dinner this night was Mexican!
Day 3-Strike Ravine or Golden Spike
Mike with Dave Shipps, Roger and Linda, Don and Karen, Mike and Laura, Richard and Karla with family, and Dusty and Micky Rhoades left the Visitors Center at 9:00 AM to do a trail new to all-Strike Ravine. Within a couple of miles of the trailhead, despite multiple navigation devices, maps, Chuck Well's books, etc. the group was lost. Everyone missed the road on the other side of a campsite and continued up a nasty looking trail going up the hill. Perhaps everyone was looking at the nasty hill rather than for a well hidden road. After following a ravine for a mile or two (or maybe a half mile-no one knows for sure), we were pretty convinced we were going the wrong way.
We returned to a wide spot in the road and were discussing which way to proceed when 2 more Jeeps showed up. They decided to turn around and were going back before we were loaded up and headed in that direction as well.
Driving back we noticed the two Jeeps heading up what was apparently the correct road and one of them was having some difficulty getting up an icy patch on the road. We arrived at the start of the road going up and decided to wait to see if the two Jeeps made it to the top before proceeding. (They did not have CB's so, except for shouting, we were unable to communicate with them).
Dusty was watching them from a vantage point back up the road and we determined that we could be here for a long time, not knowing whether or not they made it to the top, so we decided to take a bypass. Glad we did as they caught up to us some time later and said it was very icy at the top and they decided not to go that way.
We continued to wind our way up hills, down into ravines, up hills, along ravines, stopping for lunch with a great view of the La Sals to our east. Continuing on we started down into yet another ravine and came upon perhaps the biggest challenge of the day- dropping over a series of ledges.
Don L was heard saying as he achieved the bottom of the ledges, "We must be crazy"!!
The rest of the drive out was spent examining an old mine and walking some of the top of Upper Helldorado. We will do that trail another day. After getting back to the highway we aired up and returned to town.
Greg Beery was trail leader for the Golden Spike trail run. Joining Greg were Kathy and John Howell, Carol Ann and Matt Schwall, Christie and Gordon Howe, Darrel Turner, and Cathy and Rich Horiuchi and their sons Jordan and Aaron. We started out early in the morning from the Moab visitors center because it was going to be a long day on the trail and daylight in November is a little short. We aired down at the entrance to the Poison Spider Mesa trail and got under way. We traversed Poison Spider quite quickly but still had fun on the various obstacles along the way to the beginning of the Golden Spike trail.
Once we got going on Golden Spike, we were afforded fantastic views along the way, including an overlook over the Moab valley and views of "Jeep Arch".
We did the famous and not so famous obstacles and had a great time.
Kathy took the name of the "Launch Pad" seriously -- good thing the Jeep didn't have wings!
At the end of the Golden Spike trail, Gordon noticed he somehow managed to rip off part of his steering stabilizer. After Gordon removed what was left of the stabilizer, we headed off down the Gold Bar Rim trail. Soon thereafter, we had to go up a steep ledge, which unfortunately ended up taking Rich's front differential and driveshaft beyond their limits. After Gordon and Rich removed the driveshaft and unlocked the hubs, the use of Rich's winch and a tow by Darrel got Rich up the obstacle. After that, low-range rear wheel drive was enough to get Rich's vehicle back to Moab.
Day 4-Ten Mile Canyon
The group was back together again as we followed Gordon down the roads with not much to say about them other than a few of us saw a Coyote running up the side of a hill. At Dripping Springs and the Head of Ten Mile Canyon we once again stopped for a 10-100 and discussion about which trail leads where. Off we went heading for the Green River. It wasn't long until Greg was heard to say he was going to have to bring out the buffer for all the pin-stripping that was taking place thanks to the narrow trail with lots of shrubs and trees and both sides. One place in particular got a bit tight, especially for the JKs in the group.
It wasn't long until we stopped for lunch. We then decided we weren't going to have enough time to get to the end of the canyon and get back in time for our early dinner at the Sunset Grill. So we returned to the midway exit and started back for town. Along the way Don L offered to take those that wanted to see the Secret Spire on a quick bypass to that site. So, Mike M, Dave S, Don and Karen, Mike and Laura, Dusty and Micky and Roger and Linda took off for the Secret Spire. It wasn't long before we thought it may stay secret as, even with all the navigational equipment with us, we briefly got lost.
But, we quickly found the way and the Secret Spire! As reported earlier we had a wonderful dinner at the Sunset Grill.
Day 5-Hell's Revenge
The fifth day found us lining up for a tour of Moab's most famous trail-Hell's Revenge, minus John and Kathy Howell and Darrel Turner. The Howell's and Darrel had to return home in order to prepare for their next adventure, a cruise to the Panama Canal. To prepare the group for a day's adventure on slickrock we first went up Baby Lionsback. And, what goes up on this day comes down into the deepest pond many had ever seen at this location and it was also very frozen. Then it was on to the trail. Up and over the slickrock fin, through an empty Lake Michigan, we took a look at the closed Lionsback climb. We then continued up and down to the top of Devil's Slide.
We thought about doing this one but when Mike and Dusty couldn't agree on the way to go down we decided to continue on until we reached Hell's Gate and for sure we would all do that one!!!!
So, off we go, overcoming several challenging ledges of varying heights. One, according to Roger, that was taller than his Jeep.
Soon we reached the overlook where we decided to walk out for the views of the Colorado River before having lunch. Then, we said, what the heck let's look at Hell's Gate before lunch. Walking over to the exit we found a well-built TJ that had obviously been rolled in the exit. Damage to the front and roll gage were very evident.
And, worst of all, large amounts of oil had been deposited at a rather critical spot of the climb out. With the oil and grease in the way, discretion overcame valor (and maybe we were just chicken) and we decided to forego for this year Hell's Gate.
After lunch, we were back on the trail, conquering rock walls, ledges and slickrock on the way to Cowboy Hill. Once there Mike, Roger, Don and Dusty successfully rode the hill to the top.
We then proceeded to the series of hot tubs at the top of the Black Hole area. Here is Richard and Karla going thru one now.
Then, it was down the steep tail, around to the Escalator (which we looked at only) and to Tip Over Challenge. The exit has been changed no longer allowing vehicles to go through the squeeze. We dropped down to the road and then went to look at Potato Salad Hill. After a few minutes of discussion we all decided to pass on the attempt. That night we had a great final trip meal at Eddie McStiffs. Another awesome Trailridge Runner Trip with great trails, great food and great company.