Finally… a Jeep run!
After a busy few months of not really being able to get out in the Jeep, we finally got to take her out to collect more dust on January 13.
Not wanting to go it alone (never a good idea), and not knowing where to go anyway, I put out a call to our four-wheeling Escapees ‘Birds of a Feather’ (BOF) group to see if anyone wanted to go. After several emails back and forth, Gary Hester said that he would meet us that morning. Gary had driven down from Lake Havasu in his 2006 Jeep Rubicon. Surprisingly, he had Dick Harris with him. Dick and his wife Carolyn had camped with us last summer at Mammoth Lakes after I put out another messages out to the Escapees group.
Gary came equipped with a trail book and lots of enthusiasm. Neither of us knew the trails in the area, so we chose Dripping Springs, a moderate trail that seemed to have lots of interesting things to see. We headed out of Quartzsite at about 10 AM with me in the lead (never a good idea since I have trouble finding the Jeep in large parking lots — I’ve learned to look for the CB antenna). My odometer is also off some, but I thought that with the short distances between the turns listed in the book that we couldn’t go too far wrong. Or so I thought.
Early on in our adventure we headed down what we thought was the trail according to the guide. It was an interesting rocky wash that required us to drop down to low range, which is one of my favorite things to do (low range that is). I was looking forward to lots of rock crawling when I got to a canyon wall that looked like a dead end. Sure enough, if there ever was a trail there it had been washed away awhile ago. We had to turnaround and I had a sinking feeling that it wouldn’t be the first time.
After many more stops and consultations with various GPS devices, the book, and my now completely out of whack odometer, we spent another hour circling. Finally, since I am a girl, I jumped out of the Jeep and asked some Rhino drivers for directions on how to get to Dripping Springs. They told me to go that way, turn left at wash, go a little farther, turn right (you get the idea). I asked them if we could go follow them since they were going near there. Little did I know that they would be going about 40 miles an hour, but we did our best and managed to catch up to them just as they were making their own U-turn (they had turned off too soon). Then they ditched us again.
Since it was now about 12:30, we decided to stop right there on the trail and have lunch.
We decided to just put the coordinates for the springs in the GPS and head in that general direction (don’t know why I didn’t think of that sooner), and sure enough, we got there. The last part of the trail starts with a big hill climb and then ends up down in a winding, narrow canyon. Not too much of a challenge, but it is enough to cause some people to get out and walk.
The Rhino drivers were already there, huddled around two dogs who had gotten cholla needles stuck in their feet, which they naturally tried to get out with their mouths, which caused the needles to get stuck in their noses and mouths. The owners were getting them unstuck with a pair of pliers.
We decided to go ahead and take a look at the elusive Dripping Springs now that we had put such effort into getting there. It turned out to be a beautiful spot, with water oozing out of a small cave, lots of trees, and petroglpyhs on many of the rocks in the canyon.
Gary had not gotten enough of a challenge on the drive in, so we chose to take the difficult way out down a rock ledge and waterfall. Again we slipped into low range and wound our way through the wash. Neither of us had any trouble with the obstacles, but at least it made us feel like we actually needed all of the equipment that our Jeeps were loaded with.
Another dusty 6 miles brought us back to our camp at La Posa North in Quartzsite. We offered Gary and Dick some refreshments, aired up Gary’s tires, and after some conversation, they were on their way back to Lake Havasu.
I have now ordered my own copy of the guidebook and have downloaded all of the coordinates in advance. But if all else fails, I’ll still stop and ask for directions. Anyone want to wheel?