We'd already run three new trails and our day had been nice, but not particularly exciting. We weren't expecting much, but we still hoped for a bit of an obstacle at some point. Illinois Gulch looked good on the map (a nice, squiggley line) so we were looking forward to getting started.
We began the trail at the intersection with Long Hollow Road, and at first it was pretty much the same as we'd been seeing. It was nice and smooth through the trees, pretty but not challenging. Soon we were at the intersection with Missouri Gulch and we followed that trail for a bit until Illinois Gulch branched off again.
We were rolling along and we saw two Toyota trucks in front of us. They seemed to be pretty modified. We lost them for a minute, and then came up behind them.
We took a look, and found a huge, loose hill. The first truck was having a lot of troubles getting up it. It was mostly dirt, with small stones mixed in. It was very loose and the truck was digging its tires in and sliding around.
It eventually made it up, and the other truck waited near the bottom to let us pass. Monica started up first, worried that she was going to have just as much trouble.
It may have been the pace taken by the truck, but Monica didn't have any troubles. With some momentum and patience, she made it to the top. One by one, everyone in our big group followed up to the top of the hill. We all had a blast, but no one had an issue.
The Toyota truck had an axle shaft that wasn't quite right, it turned out, and a front drive shaft that had already come apart. We left the two trucks there to work on things and continued on.
We went down a short hill, only to find yet another climb. When we got to the top of that hill, we all enjoyed the views. Then we headed down a hill that was just as steep and loose as the one we came up. Fun!
These hills would be impossible if they were really wet or snowy. But dry, they were a blast. This trail was definitely worth it, and it's very close to the highway.
We thought we were done as the hill ended and the trail was mellow again. Then we saw the Moab Hill obstacle and knew our fun had just begun.
There was lots of parking at the top and bottom of the obstacle, so we took our time. It looked a lot like a typical Moab obstacle, with a steep, smooth slab of sandstone (slickrock) to climb. Unlike Moab, though, it had dirt at the bottom. That could make things interesting.
The left side looked fairly easy, so everyone wasn't going to have to get crazy. A lot of us wanted some craziness, though. Steve B. was the first one to try it.
He tackled the big ledge, of course, and it wasn't long before he popped right up to the top. After that big slope there are smaller ledges, but those are pretty easy in comparison. He parked at the top, all smiles.
Gary went next, and he thought he'd take it slow and easy. He slowly spun his tires while hanging about a foot from the ground, warming them up and waiting for them to grab something. We all cheered when he made it up, finally.
Bill went next and made it look really easy. He just drove up and popped to the top in one move. Nice!
Mark was next, and tried a few different ways. He didn't have much luck at first, though. Still, he kept trying and even he was a bit surprised when it paid off and he popped right up. He figured out the "Moab bump" without having to go to Moab. That's pretty handy.
Walt was next, and he was trying the weird line in the middle that straddled two big parts of the rock. One side was very undercut, but with some rock stacking he drove his ZR2 right up it. Then he found himself stuck between the ledge behind him and a steep ledge in front of him. He worked his way a bit sideways until he could get a better line, and then he was up and over the middle of Moab Hill.
One of the Toyotas decided to play through at that point, trying the middle of the obstacle. He couldn't get up it at first, but then his front drive shaft came apart. He stayed there, stretched in a way that would make putting it back together easier.
Jon was next, and he was first to try the "bunny slope" at the far left. It was still completely available even though the Toyota was in the middle of the obstacle (it's a very big obstacle). He made it look way too easy, just driving right through it to the top.
Steve G. tried the "bunny slope" too, and he also didn't have any issues. He had to try a slightly different line than Jon did, though, because his ZR2 has a much longer wheelbase than Jon's Wrangler.
The Toyota was fixed, and he backed down and off of Moab Hill. Monica took his place, bumping up the obstacle without too much effort. It felt just like Moab.
Todd was next, and he looked like he was driving over a pebble. It really looked easy with his longer wheelbase and big tires.
Ladd brought up the rear of our group, and Gary talked him into the "slow and easy" approach. He spun his tires and had conversations out of his window as we watched, but then he finally quit. He bumped it up instead and it was a piece of cake.
We were all grinning as we left Moab Hill and headed out. The rest of the trail was easy, and it didn't take any time at all for us to get back to the Missouri Gulch parking area. We'll definitely be doing that obstacle every time we're in the area!
Jon had to go to work and Ladd had to run errands, so they left us. The rest of us headed off down the highway to our next trail.
Reports from Other Days: 5
Use the arrows or dots to flip through the previews of the other reports for Illinois Gulch. Click one of them to read more and see all of the photos from that day.