After everyone had their time on Three-Line Rock, we headed out to the Haul Road and proceeded North towards what we hoped would be some new trails to explore. We found the spot where Tin Can Alley meets up with the large wash we were driving through. We proceeded through the gate and continued on.
The wash was wide and sandy and no effort was required to dodge the occasional rock that appeared. I was thinking to myself that this might be a rather boring trail (all easy trails makes me an unhappy camper!) when we passed by a couple of cows that were bedded down in the thick brush that lined the wash. A couple hundred yards further and we were stopped dead in the wash.
You see, the topos showed this wash as a Jeep trail, dating back some 30 years or more. What we (and the USGS folks that made the topo way back then) did not know was a very large and DEEP water hole has formed at the base of a awesome rock waterfall. I'll go out on a limb here and say that this rather large hole probably had some mechanical assistance during its formation....perhaps something along the lines of a D-9 caterpillar? I would guess the hole to be around 20' below grade level. Were it not there, we would probably have had a good 6' ~8' waterfall to climb. It would have been possible, had the ground still been there in front of it. I wish I had been Jeepin' in this area before that watering hole was created. I'm sure some Jeepers were quite surprised they first time they found their trail radically changed from the last time they had driven it.
Not to be too set back with our failure at finding a new trail (there are more to explore the next time), we regrouped to discuss a change in the remaining wheelin' strategy. We decided to back track to where we passed the end of Tin Can Alley. Once there, we opted to run this trail backwards, since none of us were pressed for time and we had done it in this direction.
About 25 yards into the trail, we are greeted with an extremely eroded section of the trail....the left rut being as much as 5' below grade level. Now this was never a problem when we were coming DOWN this section of trail. Climbing it today would prove to be a different experience. I was worried for Scott, who was driving a stock YJ.
I was first up the trail and managed to get significant air as I directed Lady across the eroded track. The Detroits worked fine and we were soon to the top. Larry also managed to get some air and I believe at one time discovered just how deep that eroded section really was. He made an off the wall comment to be about the pucker factor being above average for that ascent. John and Mike made it up with about the same amount of effort as did Larry and I.
Scott was a different story. With both diffs open and his limited travel suspension, he worked hard to get up the first 25' of trail. Dion got out and did a great job of spotting, but there comes a time when you realize that you can not cheat the laws of gravity, physics, and that traction coefficient formula (I never was that great at math, you know). With Scott almost off the side of the trial, Dion worked his way past him and put his YJ at the proper spot where he could get good traction for the start of the an uphill tow. I hooked the strap on Scott's front tow hook and signaled Dion to start out. They both did a good job getting their Jeeps to the stop of the very steep hill (stupid me, I walked it....oh boy....thought I was going to die!).
We proceeded on the trail enjoying the view that the daylight afforded us (we always ran this section during this past summer at night). About 30 minutes further down the trial, I found a turn off with a trail marker that rang a bell. A check on my GPS revealed no trail intersection here, but that only means it was not in the MapSource data set that I uploaded the previous night. If my hunch was right, we would hook back up with Tin Can Alley, but with about an hour's less travel time. As it was about mid-day, those projected temps of 100°+ were becoming a reality.
Sure enough....the hunch paid off. We picked up our trial again after about 10 minutes of whoop-de-doos and running through a narrow wash. Once back on Tin Can Alley, we were about 15 minutes away from "The Squeeze". Now the squeeze holds something special for everyone, but Dion has what I believe to be "Squeeze Fever". You can see it in his eyes....and it worsens the more you talk about Jeepin and trials and Tin Can Alley. Anyway, that would have to wait because we found a spot where the wash ran pretty deep and there were a few Palo Verde bushes offering us the opportunity to stop and take 30 minutes or so for a well deserved lunch. We did all of those things that you can't (or shouldn't?) do when your wife is along for the ride....you know, farting, belching, telling nasty jokes....you know, MAN stuff. We had to be careful though on account of Scott the youngest in the group and we didn't want him to get corrupted!
With lunch out of the way, we worked our way towards the Squeeze. We arrived at this obstacle like we did the morning's rock crawl....on the opposite side of where we would normally be. I opted to pass on this one, but Larry, John, and of course, Dion, were up to the challenge.
Larry made a nice clean pass over the top of the squeeze. His line did not allow him to get a clean exit angle off of the rock. This resulted in him being a bit tippy as his left front tire was dropping down the rock and his right rear tire was still climbing. Dion hopped on the rear bumper while John and I spotted Larry down. Had he hit the brakes on the way, the sudden forward shift might have caused him some serious problems. We all celebrated a successful landing!
Here is John picking his way over the squeeze too. He chose a different entry point which allowed us to get some cool pics of him in action. John worked his way towards the end and came off the rocks like an old pro!
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