As most of the country has, Moab has been blessed with a very mild winter this year, this is fine with me because it gives us more opportunities to go out 4 Wheeling. Taking advantage of the nice weather, a couple weeks ago we went out to Area BFE to drive one of the newly created trails, Dropkick.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with the Area BFE, it is a section of privately owned land about 10 miles south of Moab. Here is how it is described at areabfe.com.
“Area BFE is a 320 acre recreational park for many different outdoor activities. The park had been a dream of ours and in April 2004 that dream became a reality for a group of guys who had a vision; “Create a place where people could go without the threat of being kicked-off of a fun little playground and insure that people will always have a place to recreate!” Since then, we have been working to make trails, camping areas and many other fun destination points on the property. This project has reassured our faith in the OHV community and the values these people hold close to their hearts.”
Since the creation of our 4-wheel drive club, the Moab Friends for Wheelin’, we have been very supportive of Area BFE. And several years ago we were asked to create a new trail out there, so with the majority of work coming from Jeff Stevens and Jim Molter, the trail Lockjaw was created. It was a successful endeavor, and now thousands of people a year use that trail. Just recently the owners of Area BFE contacted us again about creating some new trails again, so Jeff and Jim went back to work and created not one, but three new trails (with an additional super extreme trail being created by the Grand Mesa Jeep Club). The three new trails are Dropkick, a loop called S&M (named for Stevens and Molter), a short connecting trail named Blackout, and the extreme trail Smashing Pumpkins.
Dropkick is a lot of fun, with several challenging obstacles, including crawling over large boulders, fitting through some tight rock squeezes, hugging the edge of a 10 foot drop off, and one nice steep rock wall to climb. It is also now one of the longest trails in Area BFE.
Our group consisted of Chris and Tara Bolos and clan, Ben and Kamille Billingsley, and Tyler Jones, plus myself; and since my CJ still isn’t back I was bumming a ride in the Bronco again. Since Dropkick is so new, I’d bet we were one of the first 10 or so vehicles to drive it. There is a lot of loose dirt on this trail, and many of the rocks break very easily, so it will be interesting to see how this trail changes as it is used more frequently; and in several spots that trail changed just from our passing.
The first part of the trail went well, with a few good, fun obstacles. We then stopped for lunch, and had our obligatory lunchtime fire where cheesy weenies were grilled and eaten. I however had lime
spritzed shrimp and vinegared cucumbers; Misty and I are on a diet to try to lose some weight, so I’m restricted to only 500 calories per day, thus my interesting trail lunch. After lunch we finished Dropkick, and decided to run the S&M loop. About half way down we ran into Jeff and Jim who had been out doing work on the trail. Jeff, who was just about to start Blackout (a 100 yard trail which connects S&M to Dropkick) but his Suzuki wouldn’t start because of some kind of electrical issue. So we decided to give Blackout a try.
Tara went in first, with me riding passenger. The first obstacle is a huge rock you must put your passenger side tires up on tipping you heavily towards the driver side; she got through that okay, but the second obstacle, where you put your driver side tires on then must make a hard left turn, hung her up. Chris jumped in to try to get the Bronco unstuck, after flailing around for several minutes, the Bronco all of a sudden died and wouldn’t restart. After spending nearly an hour trying to get the Bronco running again, we decided it was a useless cause and we need to winch the Bronco out, then take her back to the trailer and home where she could more easily be worked on. Sounds simple right? Unfortunately it wasn’t so. Ben came around top and hooked up a winch line, but because of the angle we were at, and the fact that we had a large rock on our driver side, when Ben started winching instead of going forward we were pulled sideways, up on two wheels, then over on our side. As Chris called it, we experienced a “winch induced role.”
The recovery was interesting, necessitating the use of both Ben’s winch, and Tyler’s. Eventually the Bronco was righted and as the sun was disappearing over the horizon, the Bronco was slowly but steadily winched the remaining 50 yards up the trail. After reaching the top of Blackout we were back to the relative safety of Dropkick. By this time it was full dark, and it was decided that rather than trying to drag the dead Bronco the mile or two back to the trailer, it would be easier to leave it overnight and return the following day. This was a bitter pill for Chris and Tara to swallow as they had never left their beloved Bronco on the trail overnight alone before; as Chris said, “I’d rather leave Bjorn (their 13-year-old son) out here than the Bronco!”
Long story short, although it may be too late, the Bronco was left, but Chris, Ben, and Tyler returned early the next morning, and after some fiddling with wires under the dash, the Bronco fired up and was driven back to the trailer. Chris definitely agrees that a little bit of a rewiring is desperately needed in the relative near future.
All in all, we had a great day, with good friends, good food, good wheeling, and we got to experience a brand-new trail. In my opinion, you can’t ask for much more than that from a Saturday in February!