My trip was this past weekend. Flew into Denver Thursday morning, grabbed a rental car and drove over to Moab via I-70. I-70 runs along the Colorado river and passes through the Rockies and many of the popular ski towns like Vail, Silverthorne, Breckenridge, Avon, etc. Picked up my rental Rubicon from Cliffhanger about 5:30PM and immediately headed over to the Sand Flats Recreation Area. Very first thing I did was Little Lion's Back, which got the adrenaline flowing! Then went on to run Fins & Things. I ran what the first "half" of the trail until it ran back in the road and called it a day since I'd been on a plane or in a vehicle for a hair over 12 hrs. Stayed at the River Canyon Lodge in downtown Moab.
Friday - Woke up at 5:30, grabbed some breakfast at the McDonalds and hit the trails. I started on Poison Spider Mesa, an out and back trail since Golden Spike was on the list of prohibited trails with Cliffhanger. The trail was extremely fun. It had a mix of chunky rock crawling, waterfall climbs, sandstone domes, sand pits and flat high speed areas. Seeing the little arch and the view from the top overlook was truly amazing. On the way back out I made a mistake dropping off a ledge and nearly rolled the rental jeep! I didn't realize how steep one overhang was and dropped off about 3.5ft straight off the ledge. I got hung up on the front LCA mounts and crossmember with the front tires a few inches off the ground. I could feel the jeep teetering back and forth high-centered. To make things more exciting there was about a 200ft cliff about 10-15 ft to my right! I hadn't seen any other jeeps out on the trail yet, so I opened the door to check things out and the jeep started sliding towards the cliff. It stopped and I managed to get out only to find the back tires about 2 ft off the ground. I grabbed the rear bumper and gently rocked it and the jeep enough to slide down on the rocks and get the passenger tire touching the top rock. After carefully climbing back in the jeep I engaged the F&R lockers and extremely gently put it in gear and gave it a little gas. With a little working of the steering the tires finally bit enough to drag the crossmember off the ledge and free! Unfortunately I was too worried about rolling the jeep and dying to get a pic of the jeep stuck...
After "surviving" the Poison Spider trail I headed back to the Sand Flats Recreation Area for the Hells Revenge Trail. Started Hells Revenge around 11AM. The first fin leaving the parking lot is steep and narrow. A real preview of things to come! This trail was also a lot of fun. I finally ran across another jeep on the trails about 1PM but he kept going and left me when I stopped to take a picture of the Escalator so I didn't try it since I didn't have a spotter. I did do Tip Over Challange and had a brief moment of 3-wheeling on the off-camber obstacle. Slow and steady proved to be the key.
With Hells Revenge conquered, I had a few hours left to kill before the rental jeep needed to be back at Cliffhanger. After studying the map at the hotel the night before I noticed there was another 6 miles of Fins & Things trail that I didn't realize connected on the other side of the road. So I followed the road back to where I'd left of the previous day and ran the last "half" of Fins & Things. I knew time would be tight so I "ECORS'd" this trail, running 6.1 miles in 1 hr. and 10 minutes!
It was truly a great experience and a bucket list item for me. The wheeling and scenery was unbelievable! I uploaded all of my pics here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=9983185ee4