Friday, April 28, 2017

What a Playground !

Gopher Flats
Moab, UT
April 21, 2017

Moab is a perfect playground for outdoor enthusiasts.  Jeeping and hiking are at the top of our list of fun things to do, but there is so much more.  Moab is a small town with a population of under 6,000 people.  But with all it has to offer, tourists pour in by the thousands...ummm, make that hundreds of thousands or a access thousands of square miles of amazing red rock landscapes and the waters of the Colorado River.       

Joe and I are excited to say that we are getting lots of seat time in our new toy, a 1988 YJ we named Wile E.  Last Friday, we joined Dee, Warren (a local), and Dave and Debbie (friends from Maryland who don't get to Moab as often as they would like) to do the Pickle.  But first, to warm up, Dee suggested we run Mashed Potatoes...I like the way she thinks !  Mashed Potatoes is full of beautiful scenery as it runs high above Hidden Canyon along mounds of white sandstone (hince the name Mashed Potatoes) and into Bartlett Wash.  But the main reason for my excitement was the Gravy Bowl.  For years...gee that sounds nice!...Joe and I have taken the by-pass to this daunting deep hole that a jeep hardly fits into. 

Our day started out heading up the shelf road to the trailhead.  Dee lead, followed by Warren, then us, and Dave and Debbie. 

Views as far as the eyes can see.

Up and over mounds of "mashed potatoes" add to the fun.

Then its Gravy Boat time.  First Dee...
One of those rare times there was no gravy in the boat ! was Warren...

...then it was Joe's turn to dip in, 

back up and get lined up,
and drive out...
 ...and last it was Dave's turn.  Wahoo !
We all took a break after Gravy Boat to take in beautiful Hidden Canyon.
From there, a ride through Bartlett Wash among the old gnarly cotton wood trees...
...landed us at the Pickle trailhead (our hardest trail to date).

 Charles Wells describes the Pickle as a short, hardcore route through a narrow canyon with three nasty obstacles.

Just a short ways into the canyon you are greeted by a tall double ledge...Obstacle #1. 

 Our lunch stop was in a curve in the canyon in the warm sunshine with the canyon walls blocking the wind.  
Dee parked alittle ahead of us more in the curve.
 Up next the curve in the road was tricky and tippy.  According to locals, it used to have a hump of rock on the right hand side and most folks made an off camber climb up and over.  The hump has eroded almost completely away. Before it broke, if you flopped off the hump you ended up sideways in a very narrow curved spot placing yourself in a pickle...hence the name, the Pickle.

Obstacle #2 required the correct angle which took us a couple of tries to get lined up.  Here Warren watches as Dee makes the climb look easy in Blanche.

 Obstacle #3 is a fun climb out of the canyon.  Here we watch Warren crawl his way up...

...then it was our turn...(Thanks for the picture Dee.  I am having so much fun riding in Wile E I haven't gotten many pictures.)

...and last out of the canyon was Dave.

From here it was time to head home.  Warren made a left turn of Hwy 313 towards Hwy 191 and the rest of us made a right turn and went home via Long Canyon to Potash Rd. 
What a beautiful ride...
This narrow section on Long Canyon is called Pucker Pass.

 Until next time...



  1. I saw the photos Dee posted on fb...what a wild ride! Those straight up climbs make me nervous just looking at the photos. Can't imagine making that blind climb. Great job driving, Joe. Looks like Wile E is loving the new adventures! A fun day for all:)

    1. It's funny but going up doesn't bother me nearly as much as going down did when we first started wheeling. The fun thing about wheeling is we never go alone so there are always friends watching at the top/bottom of those climbs. Joe is adjusting to Wile E very easily Pam...way different from driving Pearl!

  2. Glad you're getting to do more with Wile E. Those steeps are so far outside my comfort zone, but you do get to see some beautiful country!

    1. There are plenty of easier trails with just as much beautiful scenery Jodee. You are going to love it!

  3. Looks like you are really enjoying the new toy!

  4. Hard to believe that vehicles can tackle those places and even harder to believe that folks will drive them there :-)

    1. It is amazing the way they crawl! It's really a lot of fun!

  5. Wile E is giving you lots of fun and excitement! I feel like I was there watching Joe and you getting out of the Gravy Boat! I feel so blest having been able to enjoy these thrilling jeep rides with you both. I can feel you are really having a great time this year especially with your new toy.