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I had not planned on the Gold Bar Rim trail when I was headed for Moab. It kind of just happened....you know, a somewhat unexpected sort of thing. How you say? I had met Dave and Jennifer (from Idaho) earlier in the week when they hooked up with us on Fins N' Things. As Friday grew near, Joe and Texas Jack made plans to take a jet boat ride down the Colorado River (something Jack arranged). I was all set to go but as Friday got closer, I was enjoying the trails more and more. Heck, I had come to Moab to go Jeepin', not boatin'. So, I did what any honest American Jeeper would do, I suddenly remembered that I get motion sickness when I am on the water! (no...I really didn't do that....I just told Jack I was going Jeepin' with friends).
The problem that Dave and I had was that between the two of us, we had about two weeks worth of experience wheelin' in the Moab area. (most of that was from earlier in the week). So, out came the trail book and we came up with Gold Bar Rim. It is a 3+ rated trail, which means it would be fun but not so difficult that we couldn't get ourselves out of a situation. Dave had friends from Idaho coming into town on Thursday afternoon. Two of them were renting Jeeps from Moab Offroad (locked and lifted CJs) and the third had a YJ with ARB lockers and 30" tires. One of the CJ drivers was really new to off-road driving so we decided this would NOT be the time to do a repeat of the Moab Rim Trail! Yep, the Gold Bar Rim trail looked just about right.
I checked with Joe for a GPS track log of the trail....he didn't have one! Ouch...that was not nice. Well, the trail book had about 10 GPS coordinates in it. I figured that if I punched those into the notebook and uploaded them to my Garmin III+, we should be able to find the trail most of the time. After all, we had the book with directions like....go .2 miles and turn left at the bush....or something like that.
On Friday morning, I put a few gallons of gas in the tank (I was learning that a big day at Moab was about 4 gallons for me). No use dragging a 19 gallons of gas around the trail when you are only going to use about 5 gallons worth. I pulled up to the motel where Dave and Jennifer were staying and found Dave and his friend under the hood of the YJ. Seems that the ARB compressor was leaking air and cycling too much. After reminding Dave that my Detroit Locker never leaked air, I let them finish the parking lot repair (hey, they only had to do it one more time on the trail!). After the fix it up, Dave told me I had been elected trail leader since I was the only one that had a GPS (you did put in the coordinates, right?).
So, we loaded up and headed out to find the trail, armed with two copies (you always need a backup) of the trail book (Dave and Jennifer bought one after looking through mine earlier in the week) and a GPS crammed with the local Garmin database trail data.
The road to the start of this trail is shared by several other trails in the area. Once again I was able to drive by the famous "Gooney Bird" rock formation. Legend has it that if you drive over the Gooney Bird's toes, you will have bad luck and break something that day. I made sure to keep my distance from that petrified pigeon's feet!
After 30 minutes of carefully negotiated travel towards the trail head, we come across this trail aid. Yes sir, those GPS coordinates must be right on the money! What I found was that some of the popular trails have a few signs pointing the way to them. While we were on the slickrock sections of the trail, there were little gold bars painted on the rock (using white paint), like the Jeep and spike that were painted on the Poison Spider Mesa and Golden Spike trails.
Dave eases his YJ down a rock ledge. The ledge is about 3 feet tall. (I hate the way these pictures appear to flatten out the terrain.) By the time we got to this point, our novice CJ driver was getting the hang of things, after bouncing the vehicle down a couple of ledges. I got him to watch me as I spotted for him and he got really good at following my directions. By the end of the day, he was working that CJ over the ledges just as good as the other guys. Way to go, Jed!
Lady pauses on an incline while I pop out to grab this picture. It was harder getting pictures of this trail since Joe was off boatin' down the river. He usually takes a good number of great pictures each time we are out.
We had to stop on the way down for a couple of quick pictures. This one was taken to counter Joe's picture where he was pushing the white YJ over. I had to shop him that I could lift Lady with just one hand! It was nice in the shade too.
Here is a picture of the Gemini Bridges. They are a pair of arches, separated by about 6' or 7'. You can see the ground far below through the arch. Dave it walking on top of one of the two arches.
Here is the view standing out on one of the arches, looking down (as close as I will get) between them to the ground below. A couple of years ago, a young kid attempted to jump from one arch to another and didn't quite make it. He clung to the rock as onlookers raced to his aid but were too late to grab him as he slid down the side of the arch and fell to his death.
This picture is dedicated to this young life that was lost on Gemini Bridges.
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