Okay here's the writeup. Had to get an early start because of the drive, so I was filling up in Castle Rock at 7:15. Got a call from Mike (izuvice) saying he was still in Elizabeth and had to load up his truck. No problem, it was probably going to take a few minutes to get CJ7 Matt up and at 'em. Made good time to the Springs and Matt and I were rolling from there by 8:40. Doodled around and got to Johnson Village a touch before 11. Topped off, then locked in our hubs and aired down. Mike and his son pulled up with Mike's buddy Dave in Mike's hopped-up Powerstroke Ford with the FJ62 in tow and off we went to unload at the trailhead about 11:30.
Trail didn't mess around with throwing obstacles at us, I went from 2hi to 4lo and that was the last flat spot we had. It was good just crawling up the first section, and we came to the first split where you take a left and go down into the gully. Nice rolls and then you come to the bottom of the wash where you go right. I went left because the directions I had weren't very clear, and the trails looked equally used. We met some Jeeps coming down who told us we were going the wrong way and we turned around. Some nice baja driving for a bit with a couple nice rock gardens to flex on, then we came to Whale Rock. All of us are having a blast, but I'm not sure if my truck will make it up the middle part, which is the line I wanted. We stopped for a little break.
Well I'm first. Forgot to have anybody get pictures, but after a little maneuvering and a couple runs at it I got up and over. Yay! Next was Mike, and after he got a good straight shot at it he just walked right up, unlocked on 33" Swampers. Wheelbase, nice! Finally CJ7 Matt gave it a go, and now that we had the line figured out it only took him a handful of tries and he finally got up over the lip and was up as well. Fun!
As we continued there were still some rocks to play on in the wash, and on one fateful group I didn't have a good approach, and as I thought about turning my wheels a little different it happened. In my defense I pulled both hands back as the wheel went for a FAST spin, but in reflex or something I put them back down too soon and got my right thumb right in line with the spoke. It got me good, but it didn't break at the knuckle and it didn't displace so it'll be just fine in a few weeks.
So we continued up the trail and I'm driving one-handed, and we stop after a bit and I admire how swollen my right thumb is. Then we came up to the last obstacle: the squeeze. Now that I know what has to happen I almost want to try it again. There's a little lip on the rock on the right that if you can keep your tires on the incline long enough you'll grab it and be up and over. However, I kept sliding off onto the rock in the middle, gradually crushing my driveshaft and t-case skid plate. Then my throttle linkage popped off so my engine wouldn't drop back to idle, so had to stop for a minute to fix that. Finally stacked rocks and got the right line to get up and over. CJ7 Matt followed, and with most rocks already stacked he came up and over. Finally Mike came over, and I think the wheelbase helped him just crawl over without any trouble.
Only incident on the way down was Mike lost brake pedal, so we strapped him from behind and eased the rest of the way down. It came back a little bit so it wasn't too big a deal, but like he said you gotta drive it to know what needs to be fixed on it!
It was a great day, and now Matt and I know the limits of our driving/truck abilities. I'll take a Ghost Town Run anyday over beating up my truck like that. At least most that needs repair is easy, and I was going to have the exhaust redone anyway. For having the same 7/10 rating as Spring Creek on 4x4trails.net (and I know ratings are meaningless), I think that last obstacle made this trail, overall, harder.
"Stay the Trail," "Tread Lightly," and "Leave No Trace" ethics
Rising Sun Bio
2F "Brahma" + Lockright, tach, Warn 8274, FJ60 Power Steering,
soon to lose the Sanden OBA
to go back to factory emissions
1FZ-FE factory lockers + Safari Turbo
, CDL switch, cup holder, AATLAS1X leather, heated seats and JDM switches
Limited TRD 2UZ-FE SOLD