We got a nice, early start and were at the Launch Pad way before noon. It was a nice introduction to domes for Bob and Aaron and everyone was all smiles on the other side. We followed the trail and found an even better dome on Skyline Drive. We drove to the top and had lunch in the sun and heat with no shade. It was a hot day.
On our way down we got ready for the Washtub -- the obstacle with the water holes before it followed by a steep hill and ledge at the top. Monica went first expecting no issues but then got hung up on the ledge. Derek ended up having to stack some rocks, then everyone made it through without any problems.
Then came the relatively mellow part of the trail in the middle where you just climb to the top and the edge of the cliff. We were all pretty quiet and ready to get out of the Jeeps and stretch when we got to the top. The Overlook is so impressive! We killed a little time just hanging out, then got back to it with the first of many rock obstacles to come.
We went down the one rock obstacle that is right before the insanely steep one, only to find that one filled in and made much less intimidating. Someone had filled in the last foot and a half with sand and rocks, making it not at all tippy anymore and really not very challenging. Though this obstacle is a big one it's unfortunate to see it filled in like this.
We got to the area of trail that is right on the edge of the cliff and got out again to get some air (it was really hot still). Then a group of big rigs came up behind us so we moved up a little to let them pass.
We followed this group down to the Golden Crack and watched them from a distance as they went through without even slowing down. This obstacle isn't an issue for them. We stopped before doing the Crack to watch them do the optional big obstacle on the other side. A few of them had troubles but they all made it over.
We went back to the Crack and started our way through. Monica went through first without any problems, then Bob did the same. Derek came through next and we all jumped as his front spring came out with a loud bang. Bob used a tow strap to pull him through the crack and to a flat place where he could work on getting it back in place.
Matt came through the Crack next and actually had more of an issue this time than he did last year, even though his Jeep is bigger this time. Still, he came through with very little trouble. Aaron popped through making it look easy with his 35" tires. Ladd also went through it like a pro.
We set up chairs in the shade and hung out happily while Derek worked on getting his Jeep back together. It was almost a drag to have to leave, but we still had a lot of trail left to do. We hit the Golden Stairs and everyone went up them without any troubles.
Derek was on a mellow part of the trail and had to brush up against a tree at one point as it happens to everyone on this trail. Unfortunately the tree ended up being beefier than it looked and he managed to scrape and dent in parts of the entire passenger side of his Grand Cherokee. More trail damage for Derek!
Then came Body Snatcher, the obstacle that claimed Derek's Jeep the year before. There were a few spinning tires as Monica went through it, then Ladd quietly went through. Derek started up but he kept on sliding over toward the rock that sticks out. He was working very hard not to smash his back window on the passenger side.
He did manage to miss the window, but he slid along the rock just below his window on the way up. This ripped his CB antenna right from the side of the Cherokee. Last year he could only hear us on the CB but couldn't transmit -- and now he was back to the same thing this year. It never ends for Derek on this trail.
Bob and Matt both didn't have any Body Snatcher issues, but Aaron kept sliding over just like Derek did. Fortunately Aaron's TJ is shorter and taller than Derek's Grand Cherokee so he took a line on the far left and basically climbed the wall on that end to get out. It worked and he made it through without a scratch.
We got to the end of the trail around the corner from Body Snatcher and worked our way onto Gold Bar Rim in record time. Though this trail always takes a little from Derek we all had a blast (including Derek)!
Reports from Other Days: 8
Use the arrows or dots to flip through the previews of the other reports for Golden Spike. Click one of them to read more and see all of the photos from that day.