Originally posted May 9th, 2012
Now that I have had some time to digest the incredible experiences that have transpired, I suppose its time to put them into words.
Where to begin? This started as just an idea to try to get more GCLC members to experience what Rami, Nick and I have been talking about. Moab is like the landscape of an alien planet. Rock formations and cliffs unlike anywhere else on earth. It has to be seen to be believed. I spent some time tonight going back over the 1000 or so pictures that I have and nothing comes close to displaying the enormity of what I have seen.
The drive out west was fairly easy and uneventful. I left Jersey around 7am on a Friday morning and got to Moab on Sunday evening, just in time for dinner. As usual, I was the last one to arrive. The condo was really nice and almost new. Each one had a 2 car garage, laundry, full kitchen, 3 bathrooms, etc. It’s the only way to go. Beats the heck out of camping.
Monday morning was spent swapping tires and prepping trucks, but Nick led Steve, Jim and the Hausers over to Fins and Things for a warm up run. When OB and I were ready, we met the rest of the group on Hells Revenge. I ran that trail last year so I let Mike drive my truck. We both had a blast. It is a very fun trail with some optional obstacles. Mike got a bit off the line on the way up Hells Gate and came pretty close to rolling my truck back down the hill. He handled it well, backed her down, and tried a different line and she walked right up without drama. Of course, while the front right was 3 feet off the ground I started to think about how I would drive 2200 miles home with no glass in the truck. Luckily, things never got to that point.
Tuesday we ran Top Of The World. This is one of those trails that I would consider mandatory for anyone who has never been to Moab before. It is absolutely breathtaking when you get to the top. The trail starts out at around 4300 feet, which is pretty much the base elevation of Moab and the surrounding areas. The trail ends at about 7200 feet when you get to the lookout point with the obligatory picture with the vehicle perched atop a towering rock. No thanks, but don’t let me stop you. I believe Martin had a spiritual experience here. I was just trying to hold back the vomit.
Wednesday was Cruise Moab event registration and vehicle inspection. That took a bit of time and we all wanted to walk around town and do some shopping for the family. Moab is a pretty cool town. A bit of a tourist trap, but very “granola”. It obviously survives on tourism and the primary attraction is any outdoor activity. From climbing to mountain biking to motocross to hiking to kayaking and rafting, etc. It’s all there for the taking. Every retailer knows that their income is based on that and they’re extremely supportive to the clientele. Even the gas stations had compressors to air up tires. Not your typical electric coin op units, but 2 stage belt driven shop compressors complete with air fittings. Every type and manufacturer of 4WD can be seen within the town. Buggies roam the streets and parking lots. It’s pretty cool.
We found some decent restaurants, but our favorite was this little hole-in–the-wall Mexican joint. Some of the best burritos I have ever had. We actually placed a take-out order on the way off of Pritchett when we got cell service.
Thursday was Pritchett Canyon. This is the most difficult trail you can register for at CM. While we were airing down, there were very few words spoken between all of us and the tension and apprehension could be cut with a knife. They rated it as an 8 and that was very confusing for me as Golden Spike and Behind the Rocks were rated as 7. If those were 7s, Pritchett should have been a 14. It was intense. Each obstacle was harder than the one before with a little bit of canyon driving through unimaginable beauty to ease you into it. You can get a sense of the trail from the pictures, but they truly don’t do any justice to the intensity of this trail. Fortunately we had a great trail leader, who really was having his doubts when he showed up to look us over. Apparently 80s and other full bodied rigs don’t do well on this trail. However Nick and Joe did a really great job spotting the big fat truck through some ridiculous stuff. I couldn’t believe that my truck climbed as well as it did, but the amount of traction out there is staggering. 1 lug on 1 tire is enough to bring the entire truck up. It’s awesome, but you need to learn to unlock faster than you lock. Truth be told, I ran 99% of the obstacles on all trails (except Pritchett) open on all 3 diffs. All you need was a tiny bump to catch and you’re over.
In any case, Pritchett was the highlight of the trip for me and the most fun I’ve had in 20+ years of wheeling. It was freaking awesome. The GCLC group knows how to climb rocks. It’s what we do and we do it well. The trail leaders were blown away by our attitude and approach and the way we all helped each other get into more and more stupid situations and constantly laugh about it. Oh, and Martin totally rocked that trail. He needed a bit more winching than I did, but there’s no shame in that considering some of the obstacles we were trying to climb. At one point or another we ALL had to pull cable to drag our stuff over. There were winch anchor points drilled and set into the rocks. I had to winch to a giant rock above me on a steep slope. As I started to drag my truck up, the rock, which was roughly the size of my dining room, started to move towards me. I probably pooped a little right there, but all I needed was just enough to drag up my rear tires, and in a second or two I was up. It was intense and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Friday was Behind The Rocks and was a step down from Pritchett. More like 7 steps down. Nothing was scary or intimidating. Not to say that the trail was “easy”. It wasn’t, but we all pretty much walked through it without issue. Once again, Nick really stepped up and spotted a bunch of vehicles through. In fact he was great about that all week. I even learned to trust him (mostly).
Saturday was the longest day on the longest trail, Golden Spike. This features the obligatory Moab obstacle “Golden Crack” which is a 2’ wide fissure in the rocks that you need to traverse. It makes for a really nice photo, but is not really difficult. Of course Chris managed to rip apart his rear bumper anyway.
Sunday we all packed up and got ready for the long drive home. We went out to breakfast at the Moab Diner and hit the road. This was without a doubt the best wheeling and social experience I’ve had with this group and I consider it a privilege and an honor to be part of it. Thank you GCLC.