Our campsite was great and
there was plenty of room for a nice fire. We sat and
played "the story game", drank and had fun. But, it rained all
continued to rain most of the morning which
resulted in a
muddy mess. The mud would provide some challenges as well as
the basis for some high quality off-road training.
The photos below are what we saw.
The rain resulted in nearly every
watercourse flowing with runoff.
Even the little
We picked a road that
had a big sign that says "Road Unpassable When Wet" and proceeded on.
It did not take too long to encounter some of the famous south Utah clay
mud. Above, Chris gets his rig close to stuck in
the ditch due to sliding
off the crown of the road. This specific spot had
relatively high sand content in the mud, so it was
not too bad. But later on Elk Ridge, that
would not be the case.
Tony takes the high side
Brad gets a briefing on
the best approach and Stephen rides with him to insure that we
don't have to extract 31,000 pounds of camper from the ditch.
Thor, my truck, was at 30
psi tire pressure so we had no issues.
Rob's 2450L had no issues either.
The rain had reduced the road bed
to the consistency of peanut butter and just as slick.
Note the ruts being generated due to the mud being
squirted to the sides due to the weight of the U500.
We hit the turnoff to
Elk Ridge and headed up over the southern cliffs.
The switchbacks were tight and the road
narrow. So, combining the cliff, road width, slick
surface and the grade of the road, it was a memorable
segment of the drive.
trail was steep and resulted in a significant elevation change.
From the switchbacks our view of the valley below was
impeded by the fog and clouds.
Tony started to slide on
the mud. He stopped and lowered the air pressure in his
tires and continued
up the muddy
The mud was very, very
slick. Almost too slick to walk on. Vince slid
into the bank but did not suffer any
damage. He was able to self-extract without
Vince engaged his
differential locks and put it in low gear and powered his way out.
The slope of the ditch became shallower and
Vince was able to
After watching the action,
I got a photo of "Bear Ears" hidden by the clouds. We
were at 8500 feet.
The clay-based mud is slick as snot and made
driving a real challenge.
We finally broke over the
crest onto the top
of the mesa and spotted stock corrals made from logs.
We stopped on the road
while the guide went ahead to check out a possible campsite.
Based on Bill's
assessment, we turned off the main road and headed toward our camp for the
night. As the road wound along the edge of the mesa we got a
nice view of the canyons beyond.
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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2014, all rights
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.