Moab Labor Day Jeep Safari
August 30th to September 2nd • by Dave Burdick
After months of hearing about the wonders of Moab, Utah I was given a Jeep Safari Program which told of the Labor Day Safari which was limited to 150 Jeeps. This event is put on by the Red Rock 4- Wheelers. After studying there program it looked like a Disneyland for 4-Wheelers.
There are over 40 trails that are classified by difficulty levels from one to ten. First timers are required to start in the First Timers Group for two days. Good idea, the trails and groups are very organized and keeps Jeepers from getting in over there skill and equipment level.
Up on arriving in Moab on Friday my friend Dean and I checked in at the Moab Rim Campark to register and receive the location and times of our trail staging area. On Saturday morning a hot breakfast was cookd up for the Jeepers before they left for their staging areas around Moab. Our trail for Saturday was Buttes and Towers, level three. When we arrived the Jeeps formed two lines behind the leaders, every kind and shape, size, year, from a variety of states, only one from California (us). In all 26 plus three leaders, way too many.
At 9:00 a.m. sharp our leader held a Safety meeting that outlined the do’s and the do nots. Then we were off, with the La Sal peaks in the background. The road surface varied from
bumpy rock to smooth sandy washes, not real difficult, but watch out for the drop off ledges. For our morning break we lined up the Jeeps for group photo shot in front of Merrimack Butte. The remainder of the morning was spent enjoying buttes and towers. After lunch on top of a large mesa we returned to the staging area to end our trail run.
But wait! Our leader and wife offered a small group a side trip. Up a mesa and down Long Canyon a great view and good four wheeling. As we started down a steep descent along a deep canyon , a large bolder, the size of a dump truck, appeared across the trail, not a good place to back up! As we got closer we could see light under the bolder, maybe we can get through? After driving under the bolder we continued down Long Canyon and spotted a family of Big Horn Sheep watching the caravan of jeeps. Then out of the canyon along the Colorado River back to Moab. Back in at camp we were served a BBQ dinner, after dinner a raffle with lots of prizes.
Sunday morning off in a different direction to the South of Moab to Cameo Cliffs Trail Rating Level Three. As we climbed away from the highway we encountered stunning views of red sandstone and some slick rock of the Cameo Mesa, the dragon rock, and four fins over look. As we drove the canyon edge we found several sections which botherd some who did not like heights. It was worth the rough bumpy trail and the ledges for the commanding view of both Wilson Arch and Looking Glass Arch while eating lunch. From there it was all down hill with ledges and bumps and scraping to the highway and home.
If this was a Level Three trail what does tomorrow’s Level Four bring?
Monday morning new group, one other California Jeep, new trail, new leader, Fins and Things Trail rating four, Navajo Formation of slick rock Northeast of Moab with scenic views. The trail started off ok, then we started up the
slick rock which can be difficult with sudden and steep climbs and steep descents. The trip became similar to a roller coaster ride that went on all day and finally Kenny’s Climb as steep as you can do, or NOT. A change of underwear recommended. We all made it back unhurt, a fun and challenging day.
Time to go home, the scenery was grand. ~ Dave