(our little detour for fun)
From the the Poison Spider Mesa Trail, it is possible to join up with the Golden Spike Trail. Actually, you can now run the Gold Bar Rim, Golden Spike, and Poison Spider Mesa trails all together if you are so inclined (that is a lot of wheelin' in just one day). While we were on Poison Spider, Joe took the hop over to the Golden Spike trail. He wanted to show me a couple of obstacles and give me some more experience on the steep slickrock.
The first obstacle we came to was the Launch Pad. Anyone that has visited Moab has heard of this steep slickrock obstacle. Low gearing, a good line, and steady gas pedal are three of the prime ingredients that will make this a success (when you are climbing it). Forget the gas pedal part when you are coming back down it, which we had to do in order to get back to Poison Spider Mesa and wrap up the day.
Joe's wife, Joyce, is standing off to the left, trying to get a picture of me coming up the Launch Pad. Joe's CJ-7 is parked at the top. He managed to work is way over and onto the hill we just came down to snap this picture for me. Do you see that pair of tire tracks going off to the left? They stop about 1/2 way up and from the looks of things at the bottom by the small trees, the vehicle rolled. What makes this hill challenging is that once you are ready to climb, you are staring right up at the big blue sky. There is nothing that resembles a trail in view! About two-thirds of the way up, you encounter a fault line in the slick rock. Too much speed and your tires will hop on you, which can quickly turn into real trouble if you aren't careful.
This is a view from the top, looking down. Notice the painted spike marking the trail? The markings were in pretty good shape from the recent Jeep Safari's use just days before we ran the trail.
Another view from the top of the Launching Pad. You can see the tire tracks from the vehicle that got off the correct line and resulted in a roll over. 4 Wheelin' is a great sport, but it can be dangerous just like so many other sports. Never let your mind wander when tackling these extreme trail obstacles.
Joe leads the way, in this picture, to the top of a slickrock dome called Skyline Drive. If you look carefully, you can see the painted white spikes just below and in front of his CJ-7.
After we stopped on top of Skyline Driver, we finally retraced our tracks back to Poison Spider Mesa. If you though going up the Launch Pad was steep, going down it is worse! You are literally standing up in the Jeep. Again, low gearing is a big benefit. I am so grateful that I swapped out my 3.73 gears for 4.56 gears earlier this year. I would have not enjoyed this trip nearly as much had I not done this.
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