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4x4tographer

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4x4tographer last won the day on January 22

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About 4x4tographer

  • Rank
    Professional Wanderer

Basic Info

  • Rig
    2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon JL
  • Location
    Peoria, AZ, USA

My Details

  • First Name
    Ryan
  • Experience Level
    Intermediate
  • Preferred Trail Rating
    Moderate
  • HAM Call-sign
    WRKC290

Recent Profile Visitors

3,102 profile views
  1. Descriptions do NOT do justice to this trail. Photos can't really portray it accurately either. You see, Cherry Creek Trail is more than just visual splendor, it's an unbelievable immersion into everything that makes Arizona remarkable. When you're not diving thousands of feet deep into a number of red rock canyons, you're greeted with the the scent of autumn in the mid-west, and the rushing sound of water - literally everywhere. I've NEVER seen this much water in Arizona. Ever. There are several unexpected surprises as well, such as cabin hide-aways, flat grassy plains, and something new around every turn on which to feast your eyes. Unfortunately, this trail's days are numbered. Between impending closure under the Tonto NF Travel Management Plan and the irreversible doom of soil erosion - this trail will unfortunately fade away unless something is done about it. We noted a number of areas where the trail soil is loose and granulated, wearing away with each passing rain and some areas literally sliding down the mountainside in many places. My recommendation: Run it and experience it while you can. Like... now. Either by government action or the next Monsoon, this trail might be inaccessible the next time you think of it. The Group's Take: This is a wonderful trail that is a solid moderate. It's literally a once-in-a-lifetime trail due to many threats to its continued existance. Jeeps and 4Runners (and smaller rigs) should be good on this trail. No full-size rigs due to many width concerns. Gladiators and Tacomas may drag their tails in a few areas. There are a few "obstacles" that may continue to degrade over time due to soil erosion - however our group had zero issues. If you run this, don't go alone. Consider making it an overnighter and camp around mid-way through the trail. You can read the original trip planning thread here. Attendees: @4x4tographer @theksmith @Ken Ford @kaspily @Bradywgn71 Here's one of about 8 creek crossings we made with plenty of flowing water. Note the very healthy deciduous trees everywhere. Here's a wonderfully well-preserved cabin. The inside was pretty well provisioned with emergency supplies like water, propane canisters, lanterns, canned foods. There was a nice plaque on the wall that described the history (dating back to 1890) and stories about the grounds - a portion of which was farmed by the inhabitants of this little hideaway. Here is a prime example of the erosion occurring in many areas along Cherry Creek Trail. The erosion can't be easily repaired as you'd need to shore up the soil below (which in many places had 50-60ft drops). You also can't exactly "move the trail" away from the drop-off as there is a mountain in the way. The trail can be run with any "Jeep width" vehicles, but full-size rigs will not fit in quite a few spots. Off-camber was the name of the game in many places. This area is another good example of soil erosion. Every turn presents you with a new jaw-dropping vista and backdrop for some awesome photos. This area was the most "sketchy" due to a washout of the trail. However we found that with the right line you could make it across with minimal drama. As all of our rigs had good departure angles, it wasn't much of an issue. However our Gladiator and Tacoma-driving friends might drag a tail. A good look at the departure angle on this section. Again.... unbelievable views pretty much everywhere. This trail was Chris-Approved On the way out, we popped by a short 2.5 mile side trail to check out some 800 year old Solado cliff-dwellings that were incredible. From the parking area its "only 200 yards", which in ORP-speak means it a lot more. In reality, it's about a 2000 ft hike that is largely easy. To get to the dwellings, someone had built a stone cairne to mark where you should scramble up the rocks about 50-60 ft. I won't post directions to the ruins here in order to help preserve them. If you'd like directions on how to get to them, please PM me. Photo by @kaspily The rock face: Mysteriously, Ken's camera stopped working the moment he stepped inside! Many of the original timbers are still holding up some of the structure. It looked like it was multi-story at one point in time. \ Note the great condition of the stucco/mud on the interior walls. My own house doesn't even look that good and it's only 15 years old! Here's the view from the cliff-dwellings. I'd say that's a million dollar view. Can you imagine what it looked like 800 years ago? The drive past Lake Roosevelt home was amazing as well. Depending on elevation, in the distance we could see rain storms and snow storms occurring all around us. We even had a shot at a pot of gold. Roosevelt Bridge:
  2. Oh snap I totally missed that! hahahahaha!
  3. Nice truck man! Can you tell us a little more about it? It'd help us to understand what you've got done to the rig to be able to give you some suggestions. For example, do you have anything going on underneath in terms of protection? Some skids plates and rock sliders got my stock height rig through a lot of interesting runs with this group.
  4. This is bucket list stuff. Love the photos @ob1jeeper @shellback91 are you running any of these on your Moab this this fall? Looks amazing!
  5. You won’t have any problems at all man. If I recall, I was stock height in my Wrangler and probably kissed a rock rail once. You guys will rock it!
  6. Big thanks to @kaspily for sharing the news out on the ORP Facebook Group! This is an excellent and long-overdue program. Long story short: Veterans and Gold Star Families receive free lifetime access. Currently, they can receive a Military pass that is valid for one year. By the end of 2022, they will be able to acquire a free lifetime pass. Who Qualifies? Veterans: In national parks that charge an entrance fee, a veteran will need to present one of the following forms of identification to receive a free Interagency Military Pass: Department of Defense Identification Card (non-expired CAC Card) Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) Veteran ID Card Veterans designation on a state-issued U.S. driver’s license or identification card Gold Star Families: Gold Star Families are next of kin of a member of the US Armed Forces who lost his or her life in a “qualifying situation,” such as a war, an international terrorist attack, or a military operation outside of the United States while serving with the US Armed Forces. Eligibility requirements are in section 3.2 of Department of Defense Instruction 1348.36. Where Can You Use It? The program waives entrance or standard amenity fees for the following agencies: National Park Service Bureau of Land Management Bureau of Reclamation US Fish and Wildlife Service US Forest Service US Army Corps of Engineers Get the official skinny here: https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/veterans-and-gold-star-families-free-access.htm
  7. Looking good. I love the soft top on the JL. The flexibility it gives in it’s different configs is pretty nice. I roll around with it down quite often, but if the sun gets intense or it gets too chilly it’s easy enough to pop it into Safari mode. 20 seconds, max.
  8. The UV-5R you linked too is an extremely popular ham radio - Many in the club have that unit (myself included). If you're interested in talking on GMRS, you technically shouldn't with the Baofeng's (for legal reasons). There was also supposed to be a regulatory change to prevent the sale of GMRS capable Baofeng's in the USA (sometime in 2021). I don't know if that has happened yet though. The good news is, Baofengs (ham) and many handheld GMRS radios are pretty cheap. I ended up with a pair of cheap Baofengs and a dedicated GMRS radio. We've got a lot of great information here regarding licenses, radios types, etc... (including info on the Baofengs and their ability to transmit on both ham and GMRS). There's another good discussion thread on radios here as well.
  9. Nice photos guys! Looks like you had a great time with a good group!
  10. Tailgate reinforcement and tire carrier install now complete!
  11. After coming to a stoppage with the reinstall of the factory tire carrier I went ahead and just plunked down the cash for Teraflex's Alpha HD Adjustable Tire Carrier. Normally $316 at Northridge, I had a coupon code that dropped the price to $260 shipped, so that was a score! The alternative (to reuse the factory carrier) was TF's relocation bracket/spacer kit for $150. The factory carrier is plastic, so the added steel beef of the full blown Alpha carrier was a better long term decision for me. The install is pretty straight forward. You mate up the carrier bracket to the tailgate and install your 8x 13mm bolts. Drop the adjustable carrier/wheel stud bracket into the carrier. This allows you to choose from 3 different tire heights and allows you to choose from a huge range of tire offsets to allow for a nice custom fit. Here is a photo of the top of the Alpha Tailgate Reinforcement. It comes with a number of mounting hole for future accessories. Note that curvature of the supposedly "flat" tailgate. Here's a photo of the hinge on the reinforcement and some additional accessory mounting holes. The top of the tire carrier. You will install a pair of bolts and a double washer to allow you to adjust the carrier forward/backwards to account for your wheel offset and the thickness of your tire. Here's a shot of the underside of the offset adjustment with twin bolts and "double washer". The Alpha carrier allows you to relocate your factory rear camera into a nice metal housing. You need to torque down the wheel studs to 150 ft/lbs. A little blue LocTite and some jam nuts are used to do this. I went for the center mounting holes for a "34 to 36 inch tire". This give me about 2-3 inches of clearance above my factory plastic bumper. Camera bracket installed and wired. The camera housing doubles as a "helper" when you're loading up the heavy spare. It allows you to rotate the tire around to more easily align the holes with the studs. Spare tire test fit and 3rd brake light relocation: The spare fits night and tight to the tailgate - way closer than that factory carrier allows. So close that I didn't need to install my tire bump stops. In the future if I add any accessories to the carrier, I'll probably need to move the spare out away from the body a bit. At that point I'll need to add in the bumps, but for the moment we're going to let it ride. And that's it! Overall it's a very straight forward installation. Time will tell of it's durability, but I'm very happy with the fit, finish, and added peace-of-mind with the new beef holding up the spare. Supposedly it will support up to a 40 inch tire but I have no intention of ever going there.
  12. Man that looks like such a rotten time. LOVE the photos!
  13. Not so much for trip planning, per se, but to help understand the history of the land you might be standing on - Check out Native Land Digital. It's fully interactive and allows you to explore various known territories of indigenous peoples, areas where various languages were/are spoken, and more. You toggle various layers, including modern day government boarders. What I find interesting about it is that many of the layers overlap and all are "clickable". When you click on a layer, you are presented with links to various 3rd party websites, many of them operated by various tribal nations or other sources, with pretty in-depth information related to the land and language local to that area. Pretty darn cool and adds some extra depth to your travels, in my opinion. This article on Gaia has a nice backstory on the origins of the mapping project and some more detailed information on its ongoing progress.
  14. A friend of mine shared this excellent article about how to read a topographical map. So - if you missed that Orienteering Course in the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, it's worth a read to understand what those funny squiggles and symbols are all about. Link the the article
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