I have had a crush with Jeeping in Moab from my first time experiencing it, last year. It has expeditiously grown into a torrid love affair.
As proof of my state of smittenness I, a screenwriter by trade, immediately began stewing a story to craft into a movie script purely so I could spend more time in Moab and justify the purchase of a Jeep Rubicon Unlimited (2008, stock, Rescue Green, with the navigation package, it was love-by-ebay). The story turned out to be pretty good and is moving along in development, which is why I was down in Moab this past September with George (an associate producer and in-house Jeeping expert) and my cousin Jenna. We were filming some footage to use for a film teaser and I got to wheel my rig for the first time.
We ran Kane Creek first, each driving our own vehicles. Jena also wheels a JK Unlimited, however she has a three to four inch lift and upgraded suspension and tires. George?s TJ is legendary for its capabilities, so although I had the lockers, low gear ratio and disconnected sway bar built in, I had the lowest clearance of the group.
Once we were aired down we took off on the trail; there are a couple of miles of dirt roads before any actual obstacles. The day could not have been more beautiful. The weather was warm, sky blue and the trail in front of us was clear. Kane Creek is an all day ride, especially with a large group. We hustled through the trail, but lost time setting up the camera as well as backing up over obstacles to run them again. (It?s funny how running every obstacle two or more times takes twice as long.)
The first part of Kane Creek is a rocky road with a few challenging spots. The Squeeze Box even left some road rash on my fenders, which I am proud of.
The next portion of the trail is the creek, as in Kane Creek. In the spring the trail crosses the bubbling water numerous times, and caution is needed to avoid getting liquid in the air filters and intakes (headlight level for stock vehicles). We ran this in September and traversed at least half a dozen dry beds before finding some mud. Eventually we found enough water to splash.
The other ?hazard? of the wet areas is the thick brush and trees encroaching on Jeep space. If you are neurotic about your paint job, don?t do this trail. I personally enjoyed the smell of pine and leaves as the leaves and branches make contact with my vehicle; it?s a combination of freshly cut grass and chopped pine logs. It?s a beautiful area peppered with nice spots to stop and enjoy lunch in the shade.
The landscape changes drastically moving into the next section, the canyon. It?s a steep climb up the side of a sheer cliff on one side of a narrow canyon on a driving surface which is only qualifies as a trail in the loosest application of the definition. The rusting heaps of unfortunate adventures at the bottom of the canyon testify to the difficulty and add to the adrenaline. The most Depends worthy spot is a steep incline which has eroded to nearly impassable. The good news is there is a bypass. However, the ?easier? way is right on the edge of the cliff, on an angle which tilts you out so when you glance over you left shoulder all you see is the drop. This is what kept me up the night before. But the satisfaction of driving this spot is what makes the whole day worth it. Words are completely inadequate to describe how it feels to maneuver through impossible looking trails. Though a video of George, the Moab Man himself, shaking his booty comes close to capturing the moment. (I have a hi-def copy of this and will send it to anyone for only $50 to my paypal account at MONEYTOWASTE.com.)
There are a few more tense spots on the way out of the canyon, but the enchanting beauty and quietness of the water-eroded rock cradling the sandy Eden erases all stress. WARNING: don?t bring a date here unless you are really serious about said person because the atmosphere is seductive. It?s worse than the euphoric effect of the negative ions at Niagara Falls. A vehicle isn?t the only thing that can crash, heart beware. However, if you want to bolster a relationship, take a moment to savor the aesthetic scenery with that special someone. I know we will be using this spot in the movie with one of the aforementioned scenarios.
Those amorous inclinations can also be directed at the awesome vehicle that just brought you through a journey that will never be forgotten. I personally was surprised to find that I loved my Jeep more than when I started out; we bonded.
Luckily, it was dark by the time we got off the trail and the cool night air brought everyone back to reality. We left our tires aired-down so we stayed in the slow lane back to town. It?s like walking out of a hot combat zone into the real world and disbelieving the two experiences exist in such close proximity.
Arriving at the rental we were exhausted, starving, covered in dust and still riding on a high that even the drop in adrenaline can?t touch.