This trail has changed recently, in the last month or so, and it's even better than it used to be! It has always been a good trail, with the Waterfall and all of the boulder fields. Now it has a new obstacle much like Double Whammy on Hell's Revenge in Moab. It's a set of steep stairs and dirt that threatens to beach just about any 4x4.
We had a nice-sized group of people on this run, with gorgeous weather and no one on the trail but us. Everyone had a good time from the start in the Rock Garden, and Aaron managed to come up against a rock, putting a little scrape in the body of his Jeep. The great thing about this trail is the immediate challenge right from the beginning!
We kept going, having lunch at the usual spot where the loop comes back in on itself. Ron and Amir both had their own challenges with the riverbed and everyone found it to be as exciting as usual. Most of us went through the optional rock field and everyone needed a little help (except for Monica who went through it the other direction and just dragged everything down the rock instead of up it). There were some good poser shots on those rocks!
We got to the Waterfall in good time, though Amir had to leave and go back the way we came because he didn't anticipate how long this trail really is.
This was the first time on the Waterfall for most of the group and everyone did the middle line perfectly.
When we got to the top of the loop we found the usual trail blocked off. The trail used to pass through a fence, then over to the top of the loop in the sandy area, then back through the fence. Now you cut along the fence, never passing through it. This is the new part of the trail, a very short and very fun section.
Monica got to the stairs first. We had read that it was easiest to take it from right to left, working your way over to the left side when you have your front tires on top of the highest stair. After working her way over to the left side she popped up without too many trou
bles. What a blast!
Everyone else followed, though Ron with his longer wheelbase took the right-most line. The Jeeps probably wouldn't have done too well on that line but the Xterra really came through.
Bob was last to go, charging through the obstacle and making it look easy. It looked easy right up until the last part when he came down hard on the rock that messed with all of us. He mangled his front drive shaft, bending it and scraping it up pretty well.
We all took a break as he got under his Jeep to remove the drive shaft -- and to spend the rest of the trail in 2-wheel drive. It was nice in the shade and we all had snacks and chatted while Bob worked. Luckily there was no one else on the trail during the day so we had time and didn't have to hurry.
There are a few rocky obstacles off of the stairs giving us all more challenges. Then we were back on the usual trail and up the section where the rock sticks out, threatening your driver's side. Monica ran down the hill to take pictures and wiped out, messing up her knee a little. Mike was getting through it just fine but then managed to get bit by the rock, scraping up his door a little. Ron had a lot of troubles in the Xterra and needed a little yank with the strap. Bob ran right up it in 2-wheel drive without blinking an eye.
We ran into a few people while we were leaving the trail who were just getting started as the sun was going down. Most of the group went home from there and some of us went out for dinner afterward. We went to the Coyote Cantina again and the service was much faster this time.
What a great trip! I'm sure this is going to be the favorite trail now for most of us.
Reports from Other Days: 21
Use the arrows or dots to flip through the previews of the other reports for Chinaman Gulch. Click one of them to read more and see all of the photos from that day.