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4x4tographer

01 MAY 2021: Trip Report - Back Way to Crown King

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Posted (edited)

Well! Another CK trip on the books! This time we attempted to earn the new Badge of Honor that Jeep added to their BoH program. If you'd like to learn more about the BoH program, check this out.

 

Badge of Honor in a nutshell: 

  • The program is entirely free, but only available to Jeep owners with a valid VIN number
  • You use the Jeep Badge of Honor app to check in at the trailhead. GPS coords verify you were really there
  • A few weeks later, a sweet badge shows up in the mail at your house. Some people put them on their rig, others get more creative

 

 

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@gearhead's YJ is always looking sexy. Square is rare!

 

 

Most of you know CK. Always a fun  trip. Probably one of my more favorite trails due to it constantly changing from run to run. There's always something a little different for you every time you run it. Obstacles that were difficult have been tamed, some minor items are now major hurdles. 

 

Having last run the trail with several people in this same group just last November 2020, 5 months brought MASSIVE changes to the trail that I honestly never expected.

 

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The view from 6,000 ft, just as you make the climb out of Oro Belle.

 

The weather was gorgeous sticking around 70-80 most of the day for us. Sunny with a few clouds and a nice breeze to help keep it comfortable. 

 

We met up just after sunrise at one of the large dirt lots off of Castle Hot Spring Road. Apparently it was a popular day. The lot of jammed packed with other offroaders, SXS trailers, and a few other Jeep groups. We made some quick friends with a nice guy named Troy who was hanging out with another group. We aired down and got moving by 7:30.

 

Of course, nothing ever goes perfectly on a trail ride, right? The Jeep Badge of Honor app is suffering a nationwide glitch where all of their new trails have disappeared, including CK. From what I've seen, the check in system and coordinates weren't quite show-ready. As a fallback, was stopped for the obligatory "CK ROCK" poser shots as our proof we were there. :)

 

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A fresh shot of Oki up on the CK rock with her new shoes!

 

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@AZRNintheJeep242 3-wheeled (maybe even 2-wheeled) it up!

 

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@K2man56 has one of the most distinctive rigs I've seen. Love it!

 

 

Our group blew through the first 5-6 obstacles with little to no trouble. Well, I did manage to stall out my 8 speed automatic. 🤪

 

 

We rolled through all the obstacles leading up to the Private mine at Burro John. As we dipped down into Humbug Creek it was bone dry again (as it was in 2020). Always sad to see. Its normally one of my favorite sections of the trail and makes it extremely memorable for everyone when there is 2ft of rushing water flowing down the creek. However, it also makes it easy going as you can see the boulders you're navigating around.

 

As we came to the end of the creek we ran across a group of side by sides that were having electrical trouble. Additionally, they were DRUNK as hell, in what would end up being the theme for the rest of the day, and cementing the SXS culture stereo-type (unfortunately). They asked if anyone had a voltmeter, and thankfully @gearhead did. He offered to let the guys borrow it while the rest of our group pushed forward to our designated lunch spot at Fort Misery, just past the mine.

 

Thats where we ran into a NEW obstacle on the trail. Brand new. Like - not there 5 months ago. The miner down there in Burro John redirected the trail into Humbug Creek years ago (part of what makes it so memorable). However, there are also constant changes being made to the exit to get out of the creek. More dirt and rock has been piled up on the bank of the creek that was NOT there in November of 2020. The SXS's don't make it any easier, as they spin their wheels and tear the crap out of the bank, rutting it out pretty good.

 

The change looked fresh. The dirt was very loose and extremely easy to tear up.

 

@AZRNintheJeep242 climbing out of the creek

 

I was a bit more violent getting up the loose and steep bank. 

 

Once we made it up, we ran into another group of drunk SXS drivers blocking the path, so we had to wait for them to move along. Sort of a good thing too, as ANOTHER drunk SXS high-centered his 4 seater coming up the berm we just climbed, cutting us off from @gearhead who was still hanging with the group that was using his volt meter. @AZRNintheJeep242 was nice enough to pull the SXS off the bank and clear the way for others.

 

 

The guy offered to buy @AZRNintheJeep242 a beer at the top, but we're pretty sure he'd already drank it. 🙄

 

@gearhead eventually got tired of waiting for the drunk electrical engineers to fix their rig and just gave them his volt meter, which was mighty nice of him. I'm always amazed at how kind, helpful, and generous the ORP family can be. :) 

 

Mike, of course, made quick work of the bank.

 

 

 

Once we were all back together we stopped for a nice lunch for about an hour in a wonderful cool and shady spot on Humbug Creek just past Fort Misery.

 

From this point, you're about 2/3 of the distance through the trail. We passed by Castle Rock, the various memorials, a few small creek crossings (with real water!) and then stumbled upon a complete traffic jam of Side by Sides just before the ledge obstacle. Roughly 20-30 SXS's were just partying on the narrow shelf road. Apparently someone was stuck on the ledge and needed to be recovered due to being high centered. Guess who that was!? It was @AZRNintheJeep242's new BFF! (we found this out later as we came upon the ledge and found him turned around. He was prepping to go back down the mountain against the flow of traffic).

 

As we waited for the jam to be cleared, our SXS friends continued to pound beers, smoke something a little stronger than cigarettes, and cause a ruckus. Several were pretty friendly drunks, however we did see one woman fall out of her rig with a 3-4 year old little girl and almost tumble over the cliff. So, fun times. 

 

Eventually the jam was cleared and we let the SXS circus move ahead of us so we wouldn't have drunk and high drivers on our heels all afternoon. One of the drivers was nice enough to get a little too close to our Jeep and put a nice little gash in my soft top with a fire extinguisher bracket on his rig. He offered me a beer as compensation. 

 

Then, we came upon "the ledge". I have no idea if this obstacle has an official name, but it had undergone some more recent changes. Some morons actually built a by-pass around the ledge by stacking a literal ton of rocks off to the left of the trail. You can see the new bypass in the below video at around 30 seconds:

 

@Trail Toy making it look easy.

 

 

A decent lift and skid plates are necessary for this portion of the trail now, for sure. Not even 5 years ago I took my 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk up this on a Jeep KL Club run, bone stock, on 30" tires and no rock rails. So that says something about how this portion of trail has been totally torn up.

 

You can see the HUGE transformation this section of the tail has undergone here:

 

 

Here's @K2man56 feeling out the ledge

 

If you know the trail, there is a secondary ledge just 100ft up the road from the 1st ledge. This one is a little more tricky as it's configured like this:

 

CLIFF DROP OFF | BOULDER | RUT | BOULDER | RUT | CLIFF FACE 

 

Its EASY to high center here now, and you can't gun it as you might take a 75ft tumble off of the shelf road if you suddenly got traction on the passenger side and pivoted around the lefthand boulder. 35's and a lift certainly help here. Most of us got up with some good use of our skid plates. Unfortunately we had some trouble getting @AZRNintheJeep242 over this portion. @K2man56 was nice enough to give AZRN a boost up and over.

 

Video courtesy of Sarah (@Trail Toy)

 

 

Once we got past that point we were scot-free! Minimal traffic and a nice, beautiful ride up the side of Wasson Peak where we topped out at about 6,500 ft.

 

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Eventually we landed in Crown King were we grabbed some great food, hung out, talked about the day, and bought some of the General Store's world famous fudge!

 

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The local CK fire department was out selling tickets for their annual fundraiser. They're giving away 2 different rifles and a Jeep ZJ as part of the raffle this year. They were nice enough to let the kids check out one of the Fire Engines. :) 

 

If you're not familiar with the department, they're entirely self-funded and rely on volunteers. They work hard, and were instrumental in helping to save the town from the horrible Horse Fire last year. They also deal with a lot of SAR and medical issues up there to help keep people safe when they get into a bad spot. The pandemic crushed their fundraising last year, so if you support their hard work, check them out and consider participating in one of their fundraisers this year.

 

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HUGE shoutout to @Yodamom for taking so many videos throughout the day! I've only posted a portion here.

 

I'm planning to put together a "remix" of all of the videos a little later.

Edited by 4x4tographer
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Fun times and a great day. Glad I didn’t wait around up top for that free beer I was promised! LOL

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Holy cow, those SxS folks sound like a bunch of dangerous degenerate a-holes. 😡 It's bad enough they are out there acting like that but to have kids involved is another level of stupid IMO.

 

As far as the ORP family, great run guys! The videos and pictures were awesome!  Sorry that @AZRNintheJeep242 didn't get his beer, that they jacked your soft top @4x4tographer and that @gearhead had to sacrifice his voltmeter to those pendejos. 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, shellback91 said:

Holy cow, those SxS folks sound like a bunch of dangerous degenerate a-holes. 😡 It's bad enough they are out there acting like that but to have kids involved is another level of stupid IMO.

 

As far as the ORP family, great run guys! The videos and pictures were awesome!  Sorry that @AZRNintheJeep242 didn't get his beer, that they jacked your soft top @4x4tographer and that @gearhead had to sacrifice his voltmeter to those pendejos. 

 

 

The beer is of no consequence, I bought myself one. I helped a guy in need out and added some good karma to the bank for when I need it.

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Posted (edited)

Did get to see some nice classic flat fender rigs up there too.

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Edited by AZRNintheJeep242
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25 minutes ago, AZRNintheJeep242 said:

Did get to see some nice classic flat fender rigs up there too.

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Those were super cool! It was pretty funny walking past them all and seeing that every single one had a diff leak 😂

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Just now, 4x4tographer said:


Those were super cool! It was pretty funny walking past them all and seeing that every single one had a diff leak 😂

I completely missed that, but now see the puddle in one of my pics! LOL 

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Posted (edited)

Lets not forget about the very last drunk douche bag SXS'er who tried several times to get up that first ledge and failed epicly!  After about 4-5 attempts he decided to go around using that newly constructed bypass, as he proceeded onto the bypass he just about rolled his rig onto it's driver side.  Now, get this, that idiot wasn't wearing a seat belt, as it started to roll he actually JUMPED out of his rig!  He's VERY lucky it didn't roll over all the way (came VERY close to doing so) as he would've ended up underneath it, getting smashed/crushed.  But what he did do was run alongside his SXS as it continued to roll forward and at that point I couldn't what happened beyond that as trees/bushes were blocking my view.

 

Mel Brooks Morons GIF

 

I'll be adding a link with pics and vids from the CK run most likely later today when Sarah has the album ready to go.

Edited by Trail Toy
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56 minutes ago, Trail Toy said:

Lets not forget about the very last drunk douche bag SXS'er who tried several times to get up that first ledge and failed epicly!  After about 4-5 attempts he decided to go around using that newly constructed bypass, as he proceeded onto the bypass he just about rolled his rig onto it's driver side.  Now, get this, that idiot wasn't wearing a seat belt, as it started to roll he actually JUMPED out of his rig!  He's VERY lucky it didn't roll over all the way (came VERY close to doing so) as he would've ended up underneath it, getting smashed/crushed.  But what he did do was run alongside his SXS as it continued to roll forward and at that point I couldn't what happened beyond that as trees/bushes were blocking my view.

 

Mel Brooks Morons GIF

 

I'll be adding a link with pics and vids most likely later today when Sarah has the album ready to go.

How did I miss this epicness?

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Where the rest of y'all were behind us, your view was blocked.  I did see that SXS parked when we arrived in CK.  It was a smaller red 2 seater and NOT a sportier/beefy off road type of SXS.  You could tell it wasn't meant for off road trails, just like your new BFF's SXS you pulled up that bank that high centered, these are the smaller ones meant for farming/ranching.

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