It was our first time running Rusty Nail, though most of us had run Golden Spike and Gold Bar Rim many times in the past. We were excited to try the other way in to the Golden Crack, and we hoped that trail finding would be easy. We accidentally did Little Canyon first, but then we found the trailhead for Rusty Nail and we were on our way.
We had fun playing in the rocks in the early part of the trail, then we found a shady spot under some trees. It was time for lunch, so we stopped and enjoyed the little bit of shade that we found. It was good, because we would spend a lot of time in the hot, hot sun throughout the day.
We got to Riff Raff pretty quickly, and it was just as big as we thought it was going to be. We had heard about the rollovers happening at the bottom, and we were happy to see that it wasn't near the edge at all. You wouldn't die if you flopped over (probably) but the risk was still there.
We looked at the bypass but no one thought it looked any easier. The fact that it was right on the edge made it even worse, so we all decided to take the usual route through the obstacle.
Cheryl had the longest wheel base, so she was going to go first. She got up on the rock with her front tires easily enough, but it was the rear tires we were worried about. We didn't need to worry, though, because she popped right up the rock slab and she was over the first part.
Monica tried next, but couldn't crawl slow enough. Her Jeep kept bouncing and sliding around. It wasn't long before she was ready to winch up. It didn't seem like she needed much, but she was still happy to winch through it instead of breaking something.
Robert got on it next, and he barely slowed down. As soon as he started it he was already up and over it without any issues. Nice job!
Bob tried it next, and found he was having the same issues Monica had. Instead of bouncing around and breaking things, he decided to winch up the last few feet, too.
Don gave it a few tries, then decided to winch up the last bit, too. So far, no one came close to flopping over but it looked like it was going to take a lot of gas pedal to get through it, and Don wasn't going to try that.
Kendall was all ready to go, then discovered he had lost his 4-wheel drive. He pulled to the side and started working on his Samurai, convinced he could get the transfer case to cooperate.
Eric drove up to help Kendall and they worked on the Sami while the rest of us went to tackle the second part of Riff Raff. It looked big and mean and fun.
There are two big rocks at the base of it, with loose dirt in front of them. Monica tried to get her rear tires up, but they were too slick. Coming at them from an angle seemed like a good idea, and when she tried that it worked out very well and she was up and through the rocks.
Cheryl wanted to go up the big wall of slickrock to the left of the chunky section. She got up on it easily enough, but the loose sand at the bottom was giving her troubles. It was also slanted just a little bit, and right next to the edge of the ravine. She gave it a few really good tries, then realized she was going to have to go the regular way to finish Riff Raff. She came at it in a slant and drove right through it like it was nothing.
Bob figured he'd hit it head-on, but he couldn't get his rear tires to pop up on the rocks. After trying a few times, he went over to the slanted line and went right up.
Don started at a slant from the beginning and barely had to slow down, walking right up it to the top.
At this point, Kendall and Eric came around the corner. They had managed to get the Samurai back in 4-wheel drive and he was ready to go. We were all getting ready to spot Kendall through the line because he hadn't been watching up until now. Instead, he took a line up the right side and everyone barely got out of the way in time to see him pop right up to the top. Wow!
Eric didn't see everyone take the slanted line through the rocks, but he saw it anyway. He drove right through the chunky section and to the top without a problem at all.
Robert came through last, twisting through the rocks and making it look easy. He was our spotter through most of it, and he followed his own line to the top.
We were all through Riff Raff! Only Cheryl and Robert didn't need to winch through the first part, but no one broke down in the obstacle so we counted ourselves lucky.
We only got to relax for a little while, though, because No Left Turn was right around the corner. It looked worse in pictures -- no one was worried about it at all.
Monica came down first, following the black lines on the rock and twisting through the obstacle. It wasn't difficult at all.
Everyone else came down, one by one, and no one got themselves into any trouble. No one even came close to hitting their tops on the rock face on the passenger side. We got some great flex through the whole thing, and everyone really enjoyed it.
Just after No Left Turn, though, was a series of ledges that almost always made you tip out toward the edge of the rim. Monica found out that taking her rear sway bar off wasn't the best idea all the time. Then she ran over her winch remote and tore it in half.
The last of the ledges ended up being the worst one, but luckily it was the furthest away from the edge. Still, if you rolled you could go over the side. Kendall didn't have a problem because his Samurai is small enough to turn and face it head-on, but everyone else had to come at it sideways. Eric got really, really tippy in it, but he made it through slowly and surely.
Kendall went on ahead of the group, thinking he'd play on the ledges ahead. He didn't see a hole in the slickrock and came very close to tipping over on his side. Whoops! Then he went up to another ledge, gave it some gas, and snapped the yoke off of his rear drive shaft. We all came up behind him and had a bit of time to relax while a few of the guys worked on his Samurai. They managed to get his front drive shaft to work in the rear, so now he was down to rear wheel drive only. 4-wheel drive just wasn't happening for Kendall on this trail!
We had picked up the other group (Ladd, Bob R. and Andrew) on the CB a bit earlier and we were talking with them. They were waiting at the Golden Crack for us, but then Andrew needed to try to get to an auto parts store before they closed so they kept going. They would get through Gold Bar Rim and off the trail long before we would.
We got going again and soon found our way to the intersection with Golden Spike. We went around the corner to the Golden Crack, while Kendall parked before the stairs there and walked over instead.
Everyone got to go through the Crack and then back through, but when it was Monica's turn some other people showed up from the other side. It was their first time there and Monica had done it a few times, so we decided to keep going while we still had daylight left. It was starting to get dark.
Everyone made it up the Golden Stairs, though we had to winch Kendall with his rear wheel drive using a snatch block.
When we got to Double Whammy, Robert and Cheryl decided they would play. Robert tried the left line first, giving it gas, but it wasn't happening. Then he went over to the right side. It really looked like he was going to get through it, but it didn't end up happening for him.
We figured Cheryl would make it with her longer wheel base. She tried the right side first and got all of her tires up on it, but couldn't get past that last foot of rock or so. Then she tried the left side, giving it a lot of gas and bouncing around, but it wasn't going to happen.
We all left Double Whammy and headed off. Kendall needed a tow strap in one more place, but then he was fine. We all got through Body Snatcher, though we thought Cheryl might have to leave some paint on the rock. She made it through, though.
When we got to Gold Bar Rim we checked out the view and played a little bit at the end. Then we headed down. It was an awesome trail!