Happy 226th Birthday America!!
It's SUMMER, and the heat is on! Summer Jeepin!-Yea, it's here!! With a drought looming, the only bright side of a low snow pack is that higher elevation trails are open earlier then most years. I would take the water instead. Let's all be VERY careful with fire this summer. The Hayman Fire and others tell how dry ALL Summer it will be. No open fires and smoking can help, but it just only takes one mistake.
The HoboJeepers have a full plate of trails on their 'wish list' in 2K2 til October. The same trip reports will be published here in the newspaper. June was a busy month, as we arrived back from Moab over Memorial Day Weekend, then on separate trips we took on over Carnage Canyon (June 2), Spring Creek (June 15), and Jenny Creek (June 29) trails. On July 13th, the HoboJeepers will host the 4th Annual Hobo Run 2002 over the traditional Kingston Peak Loop again.
Ahhhhh, Moab! Moab, Moab, Moab! It has a nice ring to it doesn't it? MOAB, It's a place like no other! Slickrock jeepin' is quite different from any Colorado jeepin'. With 'sandpaper' like traction, only gravity is your enemy. The beautiful reds, whites, and peach colors of the rocks add to the scenery of every trail you challenge. We are so fortunate to be only 7 hours away. Moab is 'Jeepin Heaven'!
The HoboJeepers met early on Thursday May 23rd and ventured west on I-70 towards the Slickrock Gods for the long anticipated 2002 Memorial Day Weekend. Leaving in the smoke of the Schoonover Fire behind, it reminds one of the fire danger. Though I heard that night Denver got a couple of inches of snow! Colorado's crazy weather!!
The 2002 MEMORIAL MOAB group consisted of: Paul 'Weiszguy" Weisz (CJ7) and his son Brett "Weisdude", Marc 'Nugget" Gilbertson (CJ7), Jed "Clampett" McClelland (CJ7), Steve "Moose" Gilbert (TJ) and his bro Jon, and myself (Bill "Willy" Hallinan-CJ7) and my jeepin' sidekick Molly. Jed and Marc both avoided the long 'jeep drive', and opted to tow instead. Jed and Marc were the 'newbies' to Moab this year, and they are pros now.
Before the trip, we had all made some upgrades to our Jeeps. One of mine, was to get rid of my plastic valve cover. Thanks to Hobo Ken Kordes one Saturday we replaced it with aluminum one. Well, on our 1st gas stop in Rifle, and to do a quick check to see if the valve cove is leaking, ummm-it's not, but there is oil everywhere (oil was being sucked up into the air cleaner)! Thinking that is was just plugged PVC, I get a new one, a new air filter, and some oil at a Napa in Rifle. Off we go. Next stop was the campsite north of Moab. We arrive and set up camp. I check the air cleaner only to discover it's caked in oil again! Hummmmm. I was amazed it even ran with hardly any air, and the oil being sucked into the carb. Well, I went into Moab, stopped by to ask Dennis Ervin and Ernie Krebs of MHJC (in Moab for the weekend).
Ernie followed me into Moab to search for an answer. Ernie sees that the hose from my carb to the PVC is pinched off from the air cleaner container. Yea!! We get some new hose and another air filter and problem solved. Thanks Ernie! I promptly spend about $6 at the car wash degreasing the engine (which would attract way too much Moab sand). So if anyone ever has a similar problem, check the hoses, as they can create a nasty backpressure.
There were just a few more 'camp fixes' for the weekend. Paul had some pressure problems with a bad Napa oil filter, and provided Friday night's camp entertainment as he replaced his right front u-joint on his CJ7. Marc took a cordless saw-zaw to his newly installed rock guards to prevent tire rub. I also replaced my fuel pump, as it was leaking some oil off the gasket. Nothing can stop the lure of the Slickrock Gods.....
We had our only fire of the weekend Thursday night, since the whole area was under an open fire ban as of midnight. Jed had brought a lot of wood, oh well. Paul switched out his tires with his onboard air, and we all were psyched and ready to hit the first trail--the famous 'slickrock' 4+ Hell's Revenge in the morning!
Day 1: HELL'S REVENGE TRAIL
On Friday May 24th 2002, the 5 Hobos set out from camp towards Moab and City Market. For Memorial Day Weekend, it wasn't as crowded as I expected. The temps were pleasant, as we headed off to the trailhead. We aired down and disconnected for the weekend near Lion's Back. If there is one trail you ever do in Moab it has to be Hell's Revenge. It's what 'Slickrock Jeepin' in Moab' is all about. You climb on slickrock for most of the trail, and the scenery along the ridgeline is spectacular! After the Easter Jeep Safari's, and with Well's book, it's pretty hard to get lost on this trail these days. Also, with more tires on the trail these days, the slickrock is becoming more and more blacktop. Please try to eliminate excessive tire chirp around corners to help keep the slickrock cleaner.
One thing about this trail and others in Moab, it that they are full of mini 'obstacles' that would make any Colorado trail envious (especially Poison to Gold Bar Trails). We only saw less then 10 other rigs on the trail, but then again it was Friday and a lot of people were still working. A great view at the overlook for lunch with temps in the 70's, and puffy clouds canvassed the red rock scenery----ahhhhh Moab!!
We took a look at Hell's Gate, and then it was off overlook to catch the loop west towards and around the Black Hole (which is a small crescent-shaped cliff) and up to the higher ridgeline of slickrock. One turn above it is pretty intimidating, with a 200+ drop off. If your steering wheel devilishly turns left on you when you want to turn right, you'll be sucked down the 'Black Hole'. The climb was fun, as some steep slickrock climbs and turns kept you on your toes.
HELL'S REVENGE TRAIL
Once on the ridgeline there are a few depressions (tubs). We took on the easiest, and the other two (one called Mickey's Hot Tub) has a steep exit. Steve and I recalled the 'trail comedy' story at Mickey's from last year with the 'good ole boys from Meeker'. One by one we entered and exited the tub, the slickrock traction makes the climbs effortless.
Once off the steep dome descent back into the small valley of sand, we made it over to Tip Over obstacle. Paul and Jed took a shot at it, and did great! With a series of ledges, and an off camber ledge near the top, tire placement is key. Paul even got a little 'tippy' though as the obstacle suggests.
We headed back out the tight leaning gulch and thru some wicked articulation spots on the sandy stretch to the highway. Before heading to town we showed the newbies 'Potato Salad Hill'. No one was there, so Jed decided to give it a try 'just to get a feel for it'. At first, he didn't get very far, and then he locked in his hubs ;) He headed up, and the series of ledges attacked back like Pickett's Charge. He made it to the last ledge before leaning left a touch--ummmmm! Yep, enough is enough as he backed down. Hey, someone had to give a show for the hikers across the creek waiting patiently for someone to 'roll'. We all headed back into Moab for provisions and back to camp.
A planned nite run for 6pm over Seven mile Rim was cancelled. But later on that night about 10pm, everyone except for myself took a run up to the sandy washes around the Gooney Bird as the almost full moon shined bright. It seems new campers by the dozens descended on our camping area that night, as I had to fend off a few wanting to camp right next to us (I mean next to us). Everyone came back in around midnight from the moonlight run, and settled in with dreams of another day in Moab.
Day 2: FLAT IRON MESA & East BEHIND THE ROCKS TRAILS
On Saturday May 25th 2002, the morning sun shined on the slickrock cliffs above camp as we set out camp towards Moab and City Market to meet MHJC Patrol 11 to run Flat Iron Mesa together as planned. After waiting awhile, we finally got word they were running Hell's Revenge instead, so we headed for Flat Iron Mesa ourselves. We headed on Hwy 191 some 20 miles south of Moab. Even though I hadn't run it before, I took my trusty Well's book out and lead the way. With just 5 of us, we were able to make more ground and even throw in part of Behind the Rocks trail in the afternoon.
Arriving at the NE Flat Iron Mesa trailhead just off Hwy 191, we locked in and set odometers to go where the trail took us. It was nice to see some different country. The trails to the south do not have as much slickrock, but afford some challenging obstacles. I hit the 1st written about obstacle, so I knew I was on track. We all made it thru, and down a steep loose hill towards the Red Brick Road. Once I found the easy road, and after finding the right turns, I took us over to the NW part of the trail and the edge of Hatch Wash.
This section of trail ran along Hatch Wash heading SE and away from Flat Iron Mesa. Numerous small ledges and slickrock climbs kept us smiling. One in particular is called 'Tilt-a-Whirl'. Unless you hit this one coming down just right, you could go end over end. Spotting everyone, we made it thru with some nice articulation. We reached along the rim to a nice overlook and had lunch with a great view of the canyon 500' below. The sun was a little warmer today, as it was in the mid 80's. Once we filled our stomachs, and some put on some sunscreen to prevent 'lobster legs', we forged on.
FLAT IRON MESA/ EAST BEHIND THE ROCKS
The next leg of our journey was going to be around Hammerhead Rock and finding 'Easter Egg Hill, and the narrow ledge that dropped off 200'. Soon I was at the Easter Egg, and we spotted each other past it without 'coloring' it. It's quite intimidating to go thru without a spotter to tell you 'you have plenty of room'. Hummm, that could be anywhere from a foot to 1 inch of 'room'.
Just some hundred yards later we came across a big rock that only afforded one little room for error. That error is in the form of a 200' drop into Coyote Canyon. This is very intimidating when you're driving, as you can't see the ground out your passenger door. We took our time with safety in mind, and got everyone by nice and easy. I had to make Paul do 2 three point turns as his right front was heading for slippage down the cliff face. Once we got ourselves together and our heart rates down, I lead everyone on out some easy trails to the main county road, and SE to Hwy 191. With some time to spare, we stopped at the rest area north of the Hole in the Rock Museum for some cold 'Dew' from Steve, with some cool shade and green grass for a well-deserved break.
Being about 3pm, we decided to do the Eastern leg of Behind the Rocks Trail starting just north of us off Hwy 191. With Well's book by my side I found the turn and we locked in. The 1st hill (seen from Hwy 191) has a series of ledges as it climbs out of the valley. Another fun obstacle just above that was just as fun. Once on the ridge, we passed the beautiful scenery of numerous slickrock domes to our north in a wilderness study area. Passing along smaller obstacles, we came across the 'High Dive' and 'Upchuck' obstacles.
Paul was the only one brave enough to try going down this steep sandy/ledgey drop. He made it down til the last ledge and bound up his right front tire. Trying to reverse out since he couldn't turn, he snapped his front u-joint (and yoke). Now in 3WD, he unlocked the hub.
The trail got easy and sandy, so we headed out to the county road towards Hwy 191. We stopped at the sand dunes for some fun. I was already running low on fuel, and was reminded as I was tooling up and down the dunes. Jed got some good air off the dunes. All played out, we headed towards Hwy 191 and Moab for gas and food for Sunday's long Poison to Gold Bar trip. Back at camp, since there was an open fire ban, we all huddled around Paul's Jeep as he changed out his right front axle. He finished about 11:30pm, and we headed off to dream out tomorrow's 9-hour ride.
Day 3: POISON SPIDER/ GOLDEN SPIKE/ GOLD BAR RIM TRAILS
On Sunday May 26th 2002, the game plan included running Poison Spider, the 1st part of Golden Spike, then loop back around Poison. Well, as you will see it didn't turn out that way. We left pavement and hit the Poison Spider trailhead about 9am. We made our way up the first switchbacks. There are numerous small ledgey obstacles that greet you up to the mesa. Easy to hard lines could be attempted depending on your mood.
Once on the mesa and thru a small squeeze, we ran across the sand mesa back to a small drainage and a fun loop hill climb just up from the creek bed. It has a very steep grade for about 20 feet, enough to get the heart racing. Heading up the sandy creek bed, we came across the 1st sets of obstacles one of which is named "The Waterfall" It's actually a set of ledges before it on a tight curve that are challenging. Then the waterfall is a 6-foot sloping wall to climb. Everyone climbed up nicely.
Then a series of FUN obstacles awaited us, as one is called "The Wedgy". With everyone walking through, we were up on Poison Spider Mesa. Through the "Whoop-ti-dos" (a series of high bank sandy turns), the flat easy mesa turns up the A/C as airflow is increased. We stopped at the grave marker where the Mesa was named. The story has it, that a poison spider bit a little girl while they were traveling, died from it and was buried there.
Trekking northeast, we came off the mesa to a sandy area. We headed north onto the Golden Spike Trail following the white spikes on the trail, and the faint black tire tracks, the trail was pretty easy to stay on. The trail follows mostly slickrock as it heads north. We soon came across the "Launch Pad", which is a steep ramp that tests most carbs (of those who still have them!). Jed was able to get a great tire lift photo on a small side hill just after that!
Onward we pressed on the slick rock as we reached the 'Skyline Drive'. This is a long steep climb to some great 360-degree views of where we were and where we were going. Dropping down and to the right is the perfect lunch spot as everyone (even the Jeeps) was shaded for the break! Sometime before that there must have been a trail back to Poison Spider. I looked for it after lunch, and never saw it as we headed on up to the overlook. So, it looked like we were committed to doing the whole loop. Steve didn't mind too much, even though he was going to travel to Telluride after the 9 hour trail ride.
Soon after a nice cool lunch break, we headed up the 'Narrow Ravine' and some tight creek bed Jeepin'! Just ahead is a small deep tub that was fairly dry this year. Above that is a steep 1-2' ledge just above the creek we all negotiated with different lines. More obstacles up the ravine till we reached the white slickrock of Moab.
POISON SPIDER/ GOLDEN SPIKE/ GOLDBAR RIM
Since we are heading north, and most if all the rocks and ledges run west to east, we encountered rock ledge after rock ledge. I've never counted them, but I'm pretty sure there are over 40 of them of all sizes. The bigger ones get your attention though. Yea-----Finally, our 1st view at an overlook looking down on Hwy 191 and the long line of tourist waiting to get into Arches National Park across the valley. At this point in the trip we were about 5 hours in, and not the place to "have problems". The weather also turned a lot warmer as previous days. Brett 'Weiszdude' walked faster then we jeeped and beat us to the crack. Now heading along the rim's edge we traversed more rock ledges and obstacles until we finally reached the infamous "Golden Crack". Or as Scott Maxwell's son Pete would say, "Moab's Buttcrack".
One by one, the Hobos crossed the Crack with some articulation and a few bumper scrapes (that's what they are for right?). First-timers to the Crack, Jed and Marc walked thru looking like pros. It seems every time I run the Crack, I tend to take the left highline, because my right front seems to always catch major air! Some said 'backup I missed that shot', so I did and momentum almost tipped me over. There were some guys in a big Chevy Blazer that got some smiles out of us (we have the 'trail comedy' tape to prove it). They guy dented in his front driver fender bad. We watched a few more cross, then hopped in our jeeps to get 1st in line as a traffic jam was forming.
More obstacles like the 'Golden Stairs', which are a series of rock ledges in which CJ7's hit both tires at the same time. We passed up on 'Double Whammy', and ended up behind two broken Jeeps being towed out (we did get around them later). The 16-mile Poison to Gold Bar Loop is a combination of the previous days trails in Moab. With numerous rock ledges, obstacles, and of course slickrock it's a day of endurance for both driver and Jeep. At last year's Memorial Moab, we did the Poison Spider to Gold Bar Rim trails on the last day with 4 Jeeps and it took us with no breakdowns about 9+ hours. This year with 5 Jeeps, we were able to keep moving and take a few more breaks from the heat and do it in 8+ hours! The nice stat is---------NO breakdowns!
We saw 2 separate people running alone on this trail again this year, not a good idea. DO NOT RUN ALONE on this long trail! Too many things can happen, and you are to far in to hike out. Don't rely on your cell phone either, as we sometimes couldn't get out there. If you breakdown here, you are a few hours by jeep going out either way with many numerous obstacles to still limp over. Prepare for the worst and bring spare parts, water, fluids, sleeping bag, food, etc…
Finally, after 6+ hours, we reached the beginning of Gold Bar Rim Trail. We were ready for some smooth trails, but all we encountered were more rock ledges and obstacles---PHEW! Around the Gold Bar Canyon, the trail comes within a few feet of a good 400' drop. Not the kind of turn you want to take at night (stay right!). Another few miles or so later we finally reached the sandy bottom and out past the 'Gooney Bird Rock'!! Once in 2WD, we raced down the sandy washes and headed north to below the main mesa that leads out down the cliff side down to Hwy 191 and the welcome pavement! At the highway, Marc and I got some free air from Paul and we headed to the Texaco for some ice cream where we met up with Jed. Another great trail with great friends!
Moab-it's all that and MORE!!
The following storyline of Carnage Canyon by Scott 'Mad Max' Maxwell HoboJeepers:
On Sunday, June 2nd 2002, the HoboJeepers consisting of Hobos: 'The Toolman' (Ken Kordes-CJ5), 'Weiszguy' (Paul Weisz-CJ7 & son Brett-'Weiszdude'), the 'Colonel' (Chris Potter-CJ7 & son Jason), with his guests Bill Rainbolt & his daughter Amy, and myself 'MadMax' (Scott Maxwell-TJ with my sons Tom and Pete) departed for the Carnage Canyon Trail near Left Hand OHV. At a quick gas stop in Boulder we ran into the forest ranger that helped with the Left Hand Canyon clean-up over the last several years. We stopped and talked to her for a little while. She was in search of enough water to float a kayak, but was having some difficulty there. From there, up to the Carnage trailhead we went.
Carnage is a great little trip that took us about 3 hours to run. A little way up the canyon we ran into three fairly stock TJ's. One was hung up on some rocks and his buddy strapped him off. As they let us by they asked what trail they were on in that they wanted to make sure they avoided Carnage Canyon. 'Ooops, too late'. Needless to say they turned around and headed back down. We also had three full size blazers behind us.
Carnage is a real blast, with obstacles the entire way up the trail. In some places the combination of water and the lose dirt/big rocks made minor obstacles a lot more challenging then normal. This is no place for rigs with open diffs and no lift kits. Most of the major obstacles had go-arounds though.
CARNAGE CANYON TRAIL
We all successfully navigated thru the 'squeeze' obstacle up Carnage Canyon. Paul tried a more difficult line to the left, but the steepness of the two boulders involved kept forcing him back to left boulder, and a little rocker panel action even on the highly lifted jeep running 35's was in order. Paul decided that until he got his new sliders installed the best route (least damaging) would be the left side where the rest of the gang headed. This was the last we saw of the full size Blazers, so don't know if they made it through here or not.
There were a bunch of great obstacles the rest of the way up. Some were bigger rocks requiring the correct approach. Others were 'rock strewn' sections that required picking your line in advance, and then navigating by 'memory and feel' as you got into the rocks. A little spotting from fellow Hobos helped as well.
Tom (my son), was the designated photographer and was clicking pics as we progressed up the canyon. Once up in the saddle at the top where the road runs into Left Hand Canyon we stopped for lunch. From there, Paul led us down through the playground and on to a 'dump bump' style obstacle he and Hobo Jed had played on before It sure was nice to have the tip over section blasted out, safety over challenge. 'Thanks' to who ever did all that hard work. As the Colonel was attempting the dump bump he caught a bounce or two and when coming down busted a front knuckle. Good thing we were close to the exit at this point. After airing up from Paul's compressor we headed back to town after a great morning of camaraderie and wheelin'.
Once I got home, the faithful trip leader rushed to get the pictures developed to make the newsletter. And what did he find? No film in the camera. No problem, Tom and Pete whipped out some photos from memory. Who says you need a fancy camera to take great pictures. Thanks Tom and Pete for the "photos". Later of course only to find out the scanned drawings were too big to download. Oh well, at least the Jeep didn't break down. "Jeep, Jeep,"
The HoboJeepers are looking forward to the 4th Annual Hobo Run 2002 on July 13th, and All-4-fun 2002 in Silverton! Be safe this Summer Jeeping and with fire. Get out and enjoy your Rocky Mountains---
See Ya on the trails..."Jeep,Jeep"
Bill Hallinan HoboJeepers