A few of us hiked the Carnage Canyon trail ("BV Carnage") first, before meeting the rest of the group at the trailhead. It was a crazy trail, but a few of us feel like we'd be up for it next year. We walked out of the trail to find a lot more vehicles. We aired down and started up the trail. Even Eric was with us, visiting from California and driving Corrie's Jeep.
It started in with the fun right away, like always. Everyone had a good time playing on the rocks on the way to the Rock Garden. When we got there, a group of Toyotas was ahead of us, including a couple new FJs. We would catch up with them again a few times throughout the day, but they never held us up.
Almost everyone went over the big rock on the right side of the Rock Garden, and no one had any issues. Dave had fun playing on the next set of big rocks, flexing his suspension out as much as possible.
It was pretty sunny and the weather stayed nice, even though it was pretty chilly in the shade.
When we got to the Rock Pile we found the Toyotas playing, so we decided to park and have lunch. We sat on the rocks and watched the other group in the obstacle, then we chatted with them for a bit. They left and we finished up our lunches, then it was our turn to play.
Mike went through first, going over the biggest rock on the side to get some great flex. He eased his way down and ended up straddling the bump at the edge of the obstacle, scraping his way off of it.
Bill was next, and he twisted his suspension through the whole thing. He got some great flex when he went over the same big rock, and he didn't have any troubles at all.
Dave went next, trying a different line through it. Dave seemed determined to try different lines through all of the obstacles. He came at it from the side, then crossed over it at an angle. It ended up being a pretty cool route.
Don was next, and he really flexed his suspension on the way to the big rock. His front passenger side tire hung in the air just a little bit as he twisted his way over the big rock and off the side.
Jed drove through it backwards without any problems. Then he turned around to do it the regular way. He followed Dave's route through the Rock Pile, and he made it look easy.
Sean was next, and he had a rough start. He got his rear tire in a hole of dirt, and his front end was light on one side so he couldn't get enough traction. Everyone tried to get him out of it, but he was really stuck. He got a little tug on a tow strap and got going again. Once he got going he didn't have any problems, twisting all of the way through it to the end.
Dave wanted to try the big rock, so he went again. He didn't have any issues, and his suspension really flexed over the biggest part.
Andy's Land Rover didn't want to start, but a jump start got him rolling again. Everyone else was fine to move on, so we kept going. Almost everyone went through the optional rocks in the wash. Andy's vehicle is quite a bit bigger than the rest of ours were, and when he got in it he got pretty stuck. It was too difficult to rock a vehicle that heavy, so he took a tug from a tow strap to get through it the rest of the way.
No one tried the big twin rocks after that, so it wasn't long before we were at Whale's Tail. We caught up to the Toyotas again just as they were leaving after fixing a bent tie rod.
Monica drove up the middle, and then it was Dave's turn. He was determined to make it up the left side of the obstacle. Don did it last year without a hitch, and Dave was sure he could repeat the performance. He tried a few different lines, but he kept sliding off his line once he got to the top. It even became difficult for Dave to back up out of it sometimes, with his bumper firmly buried in the dirt. He finally had to give up, and took a fun line through the middle of the rock instead.
Jed was next, and he wanted to try the line that takes you diagonally through the middle. It's a tippy line and it twists your suspension, but it's definitely possible. He gave it a good try, but ended up having to modify it a bit. He went up diagonally at the bottom, then straightened out to finish it.
Don was next, and he was sure he could repeat his trip up the left side of Whale's Tail. There was more than a little bit of pressure for him to make it, as he is one of the two members of the group to make it up that line. He tried a couple different lines but he was having the same issues Dave had earlier. He just kept slipping at the top, and his tires wouldn't grab. He finally had to give up and go up the middle.
Charles went up the right side, then Ladd went up the middle. It seemed like everyone was just going to drive right up it.
Sean went next and was slipping a bit so he backed down to adjust his line. He caught his tailpipe on a rock on his way down and bent it all the way down. It was curved and not folded, so his engine was still running, but it had to be straightened out.
He drove to the top of Whale's Tail along the middle line without a problem, then stopped at the top so the guys could get a better look at the issue. Andy was behind Sean so he got his winch hooked up to try to pull the tailpipe straight again. As soon as he used his winch his vehicle died again.
Bill drove up to give Andy a jump start, and the whole thing had a circus feel to it. Everyone worked on getting Sean's tailpipe straight, and Mike and Eric parked on a big rock to get in a good poser shot. It took some creative work, but Sean's tailpipe ended up straight enough to drive it.
Mike, Bill and Eric drove right up the middle without any problems at all. Ladd and Sean had to get home, so they turned around and left us at that point. The rest of us kept going.
We got stuck for a bit behind some struggling ATVs, but soon enough we were at the Stairs. Monica drove right through it, following the usual line with her driver side tires on the bump in the rock. Dave drove through it putting his passenger tires on the bump instead, and didn't have any troubles.
Jed went next and did not repeat his last performance. Last time he spent quite awhile high centered in the obstacle, but this time he drove right through it on the usual line. Then he came back around for a second try, running Dave's line instead. He didn't have any issues at all.
Don went next, trying out Dave's new line. He didn't have any troubles, either.
Charles drove up to it trying to hug the tree on the right, but ended up driving his fender right into the tree. He got some trail damage for it, then backed up to adjust his line. He tried a few times, but kept getting high centered at the bottom. He finally had to give up and take the bypass.
It looked like Andy was going to drive right through it. His tires were grabbing pretty well on the rock, but he was high centered just a little bit and he couldn't take the usual line. He went far over to the right and swung around at the end, and that ended up working for him.
Mike ran Dave's line and just drove right through it. Bill followed on the same line and also just drove it like it was nothing. Eric ended up accidentally straddling the bump at first, but then adjusted his line and didn't have an issue.
We got to the Chutes and wondered who would be the one to have an issue in it this time. It seems like the obstacle always surprises us and someone has a problem. Monica went at it like usual, straight up the middle, but it was a bit more dug out at the bottom. She kept connecting her rear differential with the rock, so she ended up having to run her passenger tire along the wall for a bit, until her rear axle was past the first rock.
Dave, Jed and Don took the same line, and each of them made it through the obstacle without too many struggles.
Charles went at the same line but ended up getting a little hung up at the bottom. It spun his rear end around, and he ended up pretty sideways in the obstacle. He gave it a few more tries but it ended up being too difficult, so he winched his way to the top.
A few people had to work a bit to get to the top, but eventually we were all through it. It was dark already, and it was the first time we'd run any part of the trail at night. It made for a different experience.
Everyone made it through the Rock Garden without too many difficulties, and soon we were off the trail. Andy found out when he got home that he had bent his tie rod, but he wasn't sure when. Almost all of us went to the Coyote Cantina for dinner, and we had nice weather for the drive home. It was a great day, on one of our favorite trails.
Reports from Other Days: 20
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.