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Son, let me show you how to drive that Jeep - Hawk's Eyrie
It's all about releasing your inner sociopath
Son, let me show you how to drive that Jeep
The Location:

Imagine being 32 miles from the nearest paved road, and about 40 miles from the closest place to get food, water, and gas. The first 22 miles is on a graded gravel that could be driven by a passenger car. The next 6 miles were a rocky & bumpy road that requires high clearance, the next 3.9 require 4-wheel drive and the last 0.1 mile requires driving over weeds approximately 6-7 feet high in the marsh that is now in the middle of the jeep trail. Imagine, too, that there is a dry wash that you can take as a foot trail next to the marsh, that is not drivable.

BF & I were in the back end of Johnson Canyon, in Death Valley National Park, having camped there Monday night to facilitate hiking the last 1.5-2 miles to Hungry Bill's ranch in the middle of the desert. There were obvious signs that a horse-group had been there that weekend; otherwise the closest human was probably about 30-40 miles away. We went and hiked the trail to Hungary Bill's in the morning; despite being told it was hard to find, neither of us found it difficult. This was partially due to the fact that the horse group left horse shit all over the trail; partially due to them having obviously trimmed some of the trees back, and partially because we know how to read trail signs.

The Scenario:
After our hike, we decided to eat lunch at our camp before driving back to Golden Canyon for a hike.[1] I had commented to BF on the hike that I was enjoying the no-human contact, and hoping that we wouldn't see anyone until we got back to the West Side Road. Alas, that was not to be. As we were eating lunch, I heard human voices. About 5 minutes later, we finally saw a couple backpacking up to where we were. They looked at our car in shock, and asked how we had managed to get it up there. BF refrained from commenting that it was easy if you had a Jeep, and just stated that if you know how to off-road it's not hard. After offering them some water, we discussed the trail (How hard is it? Oh, not hard if you can read trail signs. Can either of you read trail signs? He can!) & they went up the trail.

My comment to BF was that I didn't think it would go well for them, as he took them up the trail that lead through the marsh rather than the obvious trail through the dry wash. We took back off down the trail and found his car 3 miles back. The twit had a Jeep! It was a newer version than BF's (his was a Commander), and still shiny new, but... damn. We're guessing that he was just a pussy about driving his nice FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE car off-roading.

Some people should not be allowed to own 4-wheel drive.

Or be in the backcountry.

[1]Which we skipped to go hiking to what we think was Manly Beacon instead. But that's neither here nor there.

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Music: 76 Unknowns - The Capitol Steps

9 talons or Rake your talons?
culfinriel From: culfinriel Date: February 25th, 2008 04:48 am (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
we know how to read trail signs
Is that what they're for?
merhawk From: merhawk Date: February 25th, 2008 05:05 am (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
I think we're talking about 2 different types of signs. You are (I believe) talking about ones maintained by a Park, that list various information such as which direction to go, distance, and names of trails.

You don't get much of that in the backcountry.

I'm talking about trail signs such as ducks (aka blazes) where rocks are piled in a certain formation to indicate which direction to go in. There's also having the ability to read the lay of the land, and see where the trail is. Sometimes it's very easy to see where people have tred; other times, not so much.
culfinriel From: culfinriel Date: February 25th, 2008 12:16 pm (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
I was thinking of things like blazes, but it's true it's not always easy to read or find signs.
lbmango From: lbmango Date: February 25th, 2008 04:53 am (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
Frankly, the only reason to have a 4 WD in the FIRST place is you're actually going to use it to go off-road. Or if you are paranoid about driving in snow...
merhawk From: merhawk Date: February 25th, 2008 05:06 am (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
All-wheel drive might be better in snow. It depends how bad it gets, I believe.
lbmango From: lbmango Date: February 25th, 2008 05:12 am (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
I've never felt that front wheel drive was insufficient... but yeah, even less reason to get a 4WD.

Sorry, I just have standard Lefty SUV Aversion...
merhawk From: merhawk Date: February 25th, 2008 05:21 am (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
Don't be sorry.

I wouldn't want to own one if we didn't actually use it for outdoors activity. An SUV is not something that most people need. Something based off a car bed (like a mini-van) actually makes more sense for a good portion of people who own SUV's. But mini-vans don't look as good... *rolls eyes*
lugonn From: lugonn Date: February 25th, 2008 05:17 am (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
Yes, people who are afraid of damaging their nice 4x4 to go four wheeling shouldn't have a 4x4.
From: corruptedjasper Date: February 27th, 2008 01:14 pm (UTC) (Permanent Entry Link)
They shouldn't have a *car*, period. Well.. Not necessarily with offroading, but people who don't use the car for their intended purpose because they're afraid of damaging it (someone might ding it in the carpark. Shit happens. Whatcha gonna do? Not keep it on the driveway and never go shopping..).
9 talons or Rake your talons?