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Hole-in-the-Rock Trail 2015 SPOT & Pictures Thread

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Right now looks like G&D are on the Beeline highway just past the Ft. McDowell casino & theKbro is near Mexican Hat, UT.

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Right now looks like G&D are on the Beeline highway just past the Ft. McDowell casino & theKbro is near Mexican Hat, UT.

 

He's only 4 hours ahead of us, we'll catch him!

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Ok, Second try. I can never remember how to properly get the pics posted. How does this look now?

 

K on the waterfall:

attachment.php?attachmentid=2860&stc=1&d=1444773743

 

And K and Christian going up the fin:

attachment.php?attachmentid=2861&stc=1&d=1444773759

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IMG_20151011_113741114.thumb.jpg.12ee0f24d3d5ff69e387882e325a0502.jpg

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Ok, Second try. I can never remember how to properly get the pics posted. How does this look now?

 

Lookin Good Goose… ;) Looks like a FUN trip… ;)

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works now Goose, thanks for posting!

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i left around 3:30 am last Friday to head out for the Hole in The Rock Trail, planning to do some exploring before meeting up with everyone... or at least take a great road-side nap later ;)

 

 

i thought i was busted doing 85 on the downhill above Camp Verde, but it turned out the blue-n-red were headed to this:

 

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an entire semi-truck trailer engulfed in flames. fortunately it looked like the actual rig had disconnected before the fire got too crazy.

 

 

first light, somewhere in the painted desert.

 

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i always look forward to driving through the Moki Dugway!

 

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i went just a little farther on UT hwy 95 than everyone else would be, then turned west into the Fry Canyon area. if the maps were right, i figured that i'd be able to check out dirt roads for a couple hours and connect back down the 276 with everyone else...

 

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Q: how do you know this mesa is really old?

 

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A: because it has so many neck wrinkles!

 

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alright, i promise no more lame jokes in the trip report - keep reading!

 

 

the road was mostly very well maintained gravel for several miles. here's a shot of "Natural Arch", which i passed soon after starting to climb in elevation.

 

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i headed off on a spur trail a bit, still an easy dirt track. it took me along a shelf road next to the "Tables of the Sun", a series of rock mountain/mesa formations. off in the distance i saw a track that zig-zagged up even higher.

 

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i noticed a neat area of purple and gray clay below one of the table formations.

 

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...and another area with green clay.

 

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after seeing that the spur did keep going quite a ways, but still looked to be a dead end on the map, i decided it was best left to explore on another trip and so i headed back to my intended route on Radium King Road.

 

just past a gated turnoff to a newer mining area, there was a large washout and suddenly the road seemed to no longer be so nicely kept up. i also passed one of those diamond shaped road signs that are usually yellow, but it was near the washout and had gotten turned away from the road a bit. figuring it was just a "non-maintained road" or some other innocuous message, i didn't get out to read it (this is the foreshadowing part of the story).

 

 

after navigating around or through several other minor washouts, i came across the remains of a cool old truck.

 

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it appeared to be abandoned near a mining area as a few bits of some old wooden shacks could be seen in the distance.

 

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the road continued to get worse, with the washouts now requiring low range and more careful navigation. i began to wonder what that sign had said and if it was important! perhaps there was a giant washout ahead and i'd end up having to turn back? i wasn't too concerned as i hadn't gotten to anything potentially dangerous yet.

 

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there were absolutely no signs of recent tracks on the trail since passing the mine turnoff. i didn't know if that was from a few days of heavy rain or months of no traffic - either might mean the trail was impassable at some point. probably should have read that sign...

 

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then i finally came across something that i had to think about whether to cross or not. a shelfy section of the road carved from the surrounding clay hills was beginning to erode away. there were several holes in the road. one went down at least 4 feet before turning and was big enough to lose a baby in.

 

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i'd seen this sort of thing in the Maze District before, with water running into them and then out the side of the road. that time the holes were much smaller though - this time i wondered if the road might collapse under the weight of the Jeep...

 

figuring that i had my SPOT on and knowing that soon the group would be only a few miles away, i figured G & D would likely rescue me if i got stuck in a sunken road and didn't show up to camp! fortunately the road held just fine.

 

 

as the miles and minutes ticked on and i passed the half-way point and became much less inclined to turn around. yet as it looked even more like the trail had been abandoned, i also began to worry that this might not end well. i was picturing coming to a 200 foot washout like the original Hole in the Rock Trail has, but only a few miles from the highway.

 

in reality, the worst case scenario was having to retrace my steps and a arrive late at camp.

 

i passed some more old mining areas. being alone on the seemingly unused road was enough adventure though, i'd save entering unstable holes in the ground for another day.

 

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more miles and washouts later, that darn missed sign began to really weigh on my mind. what the heck could that thing have said exactly?

 

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at least the scenery was nice!

 

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after this particular washout i didn't take any pics for a while as the road got worse and i was focused on it. being alone can shake your confidence, as well perhaps it should - a mistake on even a small obstacle might have bigger repercussions than it would if traveling in a group.

 

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i came across a large, not too old, but nonetheless abandoned mining building and saw rats scurry across the trail every so often - yuk. i could also see what appeared to be an active mining area off in the distance. my worries of the road being impassable changed to thinking perhaps i was going to come to a gate and angry workers telling me that i was trespassing.

 

i was happy to start descending in elevation, but soon came to the first washout that required some off-camber navigation in 4-low over unstable terrain - all next to a large drop-off. this is where i broke my own rule rule: "when alone, never go over something you wouldn't want to have to go back through if you had to turn around!" - the enticement of appearing to be "so close" to the end was too great to resist though.

 

before long i had crossed a large canyon where my greatest concern for a "missing road" was. that particular crossing turned out to be nothing noteworthy. i then found myself on Red Canyon Road. unfortunately there were still no discernable tracks, but the road itself became flat and easy going.

 

i still worried that i might end up behind a locked gate at a commercial mining operation, but was much less concerned about the terrain. i really should have read that damned sign way back when...

 

 

my confidence on the new road was soon shaken as i came to an abrupt stop in the middle of a turn. a wash had flooded the road with silt and mud, making 4-high no match for it. i was still able to backup, and switched to 4-low, though this only got me a couple feet farther in. once more, with both lockers engaged and i was through it - whew!

 

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i thought KM2's were "mud terrain" tires? they don't self-clean well with Utah red silt-mud, i know that much!

 

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i passed some washouts where large culverts had nearly been swept away. in one spot the road had crumbled to the point it was just barely wide enough for the Jeep.

 

fortunately i never hit that imagined closed gate, or giant washout. i finally found hwy 276 and with it a calm peacefulness! a couple hours had turned into 4, but with no major problems. i like getting out alone once in awhile, it's good to wrestle with your own thoughts and not much else for a few hours.

 

while airing up, a local guy in a Tacoma stopped by. he said there had been about 2 weeks of heavy rain in the area and that just 2 nights before had been the heaviest. i can only assume all of the paths i had taken were indeed still used, but that the intense amount of rain had changed them quite a bit in just a few weeks time.

 

once safely at camp and with a drink in hand, i forgot all about that silly sign i missed.

 

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Carbecue!

Good write up K (not so good joke though), that mud bog would've had me worried too.

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