Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Moab


I love to run trails. Outside, natural trails. Nothing like it anywhere. Running a city is a great way to explore it, but running a trail gets you out and into the natural wonders that our Earth has to offer!

Saturday is my normal day of rest.
That was good as it allowed the three of us - My good friend Tom, my trusted dog Molly, and I - to make the drive from Denver to Moab. About 350 miles, it takes about 6 1/2 hours. Once we got there, we drove the Klondike Bluffs trail, Baby Steps trail, and the Tower Arch trail. From a parking area, we did the 1/2mile trail to Tower Arch (it is inside the boundary of Arches National Park). Then, back in the jeep, and off to check in at the hotel.

This is an annual event that is a group from an internet forum. The group is Jeeperz and can be found at www.jeeperz.com. Both Tom and myself are members of the Colorado Chapter. Just as an aside, mile 13 of my marathon is dedicated to this group of friends and Jeepers!

We went to dinner at a restaurant with some of the people that had arrived from the group. TomVe, a friend from California, asked if I was going to take movies and pictures this year like I had in the past. I told him that I was planning on it. As the mobile member of the group, I had the chance to get really great photos as I run alongside the jeeps on the runs.

Sunday was the start of the trail runs.
Some of the group started in Montrose, Colorado. They ran trails on Saturday while the rest of us headed straight for Moab. They drove to Moab Sunday morning.
The four rigs in Moab already decided to drive the South side of Fins & Things and the loop on the North side that included Frenchy's Fin and Kenny's Climb. Two fun obstacles on the trail. You can out more about this trail here*.
As a group, we ran Moab Rim. The Moab Rim trail is a challenging trail that climbs a cliff edge right by the Colorado River. You can find out more about the trail here*. There are two major obstacles on this trail. The first is a step that is about 3 feet tall. A driver has to keep their wits about them as they climb this step while being very aware that the cliff is directly behind them. I ran this very steep trail as the Rigs drove it.

My friend, Maggie, an elmentary aged young lady ran most of this trail with me on the way down. It was not the only trail that Maggie would run with me. She is a good kid and is often faster than I am! This was the second year that we have run together.

Monday was a long trail.

Monday was the day that we drove Metal Masher. This trail is a long trail that travels across dirt road, slickrock and long stretches of very fine red sand.
There are many obstacles on this trail including Rock Chucker, Mirror Gulch and Widowmaker. You can find out more about this trail here*.

I ran most of this long trail. There are many trails that diverge from this trail and I had to wait for the rigs to catch up (often). I was running a long (earned) downhill section. When I got to the bottom, I looked back and saw that Maggie was following behind me. The dear young lady had followed me from her parents' jeep. We had fun talking and viewing the countryside as the rest of the group caught up. I continued a run while Maggie opted to join her parents and smaller sister in their Jeep.
I was proud of my friend Tom as he was able to realize a goal of his. It was to drive over the Widowmaker obstacle. Widowmaker is a 7 to 8 foot wall at approximately 80 degrees. It is a tough climb for any rig. He attached the winch rope to a hard point and was able to take the obstacle and place another notch on his Jeep.

Tuesday - Hell's Revenge Trail!
Hell's Revenge is one of the penultimate trails in the Moab area. You start by climbing a steep, narrow slickrock fin. The first time you jeep (run) this trail can get the pucker factor going. You can find out more about it here*.


Wednesday was a divergent day.
The larger rigs elected to do Pritchett Canyon (probably the toughest trail that a rig can actually drive. You can find out more about this trail here*.
I was not a member of that group. 4 of us elected to run the Steelbender trail instead. Steelbender is a challenging trail with 2 named obstacles. You can find out more about this trail here*.
Our group only got as far the obstacle named, The Wall. That is where we experienced one of us rolling over. 270 degrees worth. He tried the obstacle but got off the correct line. His driver side back tire feel into a crack on the wall. that forced his rig over to the left. He could have pulled out of that, but he had installed a thumb throttle before the trip. It was set to give the rig gas. as the engine raced, and he pulled to the left, the rig started to fall off of the 6 foeet shelf at the top. The rig fell on the driver's side, then the top, and landed on the passenger side. What a thing to have happen.
Notice that handsome runner person at the front of the rolled rig.

We pulled together as a group with some objectives:
1. Extricate the driver (a hardy 71 year old man).
2. Render first aid, if necessary.
3. Right the rig (set it back on the rubber).
4. Assess whether the rig is driveable or what repairs would be necessary.
We did all that (and if anyone is really interested, I can write another blog later on specifically what we did and what we used to do it).
Suffice it to say, that we were able to get the driver and the his rig out of the back country. His rig went to hs trailer at the hotel. The driver elected to go straight to the hospital emergency room.He was released within a short period of time with a 'partially separated shoulder.'

Thursday was a new trail for us.

Rusty Nail is a trail that connects GoldBar Rim trail to the Golden Spike. It is a short trail, but difficult with 2 named obstacles. Tom drove the Mighty YJ over the first obstacle, RiffRaff, in the photo above. You can read more about this trail here*.

Jason driving into the second named obstacle, No Left Turn. What you cannot see here is the edge of a 200 foot cliff immediately to the left. This obstacle is appropriately named!

Well, we made it to the Golden Spike trail. After the morning's adrenaline driven obstacle taking, a little fun was called for. Here one of the guys' drives up onto the back tire of another rig.

Twice this year, the Trail Dog (me) was able to assist the group. Once on Metal Masher, when we split so some of the group could climb the Widowmaker. I climbed a bluff and was able to see and catch up to the other group to bring us all together for the drive to Gemini Bridges.

The other time was on Rusty Nail when the obstacles had been completed. The trail is not marked well on the long slickrock stretch, so I had run ahead exploring as I went. When the group was starting to get lost, I signalled from the trail. A rig saw me and the group was able to find the trail.

All things must end!
It was a great week. Unfortunately, it had to end. I am sure that all of us took some great memories that will tide us over until we can meet again next year!

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* I would like to thank the good people at TrailDamage.com for their fine website and the great trail information that they provide.

6 Comments:

Blogger Susan said...

Charlie,

I am floored by your adventure! I wish I could join you -- but not behind the wheel. :)

7:06 PM  
Blogger akshaye said...

Great post - and great pictures! Those trails look spectacular, and I know how much you enjoy them. What a great week!

8:22 PM  
Blogger ShirleyPerly said...

Great photos! Glad the guy who did the 270 is OK. Funny, that jeep stuff sounds sort of like rockclimbing, with difficulty ratings, named obstacles, etc.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

WOW Charlie! These Jeep photos are incredible, and the terrain looks amazing. I think I understand your love of MOAB now. I can see easily falling in love with running there, as well as the thrill of conquering the trails! Thanks for sharing! And if you ever need a companion on one of your trips, I'd throw my name in the hat... (pending wife's [phtotos unseen] approval)!

10:58 AM  
Blogger Petraruns said...

Charlie - what an amazing trip! What a guy you are, running out there and then running those beautiful trails. Gorgeous stuff and so good that you're out there enjoying them as well.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Sunshine said...

Interesting! Thanks for the pictures. What a week!!
And to be able to look forward to next year! Wow.

7:40 PM  

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