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2002 Phoenix Easter Jeep Safari

After hitting the local 4x4 shop that I usually do business with, we ended up with a referral to a custom tube and hose shop that made new rubber lines (of the correct length) for Joe while we waited.  About 20 minutes later, we were headed home to do a quick repair and get cleaned up for the Friday night meet and greet.

Saturday morning had us meeting up at the Texaco station at Florence Junction.  I had told Jamie and Robert about the Martinez Canyon Trail.  On top of that, TJRon had chipped in with his comments on one of the Jeep forums about how pretty it was.  I had only ran the trail once, about a month ago, and decided it should provide our visitors with some nice scenery as well as a challenging rock crawl.  Robert and I met up with Jamie and Lisa again.  Joey and Jake were in Joey's YJ, Steven joined us in his TJ, and Joe (from yesterday's run) was in his YJ.  We got through the introductions and headed to Martinez Canyon via the Box Canyon trail.

The Martinez Canyon trail starts just past the Martinez Cabins, a couple of old cabins built some time ago.  They still stand along the small spring fed creek that runs past the beginning of the trail.  It is a very popular spot for weekend campers.  The shade of the big Cottonwood trees provide very nice shade once the weather warms up.  I wouldn't camp there in the summer, but any other time of the year would be great.

We arrived at the cabins later than expected as the Box Canyon trail took a bit longer than expected.  I had never gone that way before, and while I had an accurate GPS track for it in my Garmin III+, it simply is the longer route to take to get from where we were to where we wanted to be.  We took 20 minutes and caught lunch and gave our guests a chance to run around and snap some pictures.


The beginning of the trail puts you directly in the wash for about a half mile or so.  Here is Joey working is way through the first rock garden we came to.  Joey had recently gotten an automatic locker in the rear axle and so was having some fun with it.  I'm spotting him here as he climbs through the rock garden.


This was the first trail I ran with Steven.  His yellow TJ was on 33"tires and had a LSD in the rear axle.  To Stevens credit, he did an outstanding job on the trail.  He had my vote for the best driver to spot (or put another way.....he followed the spotter's directions to the "T").  He made quick work of the rock garden.


Somewhere along the first part of the wash, Robert got himself hung up on a big old rock.  He was running tail gunner for the group and decided to try one 50 yards section of the wash that I inadvertently went around.  Maybe I was lucky I did!  A couple of us came back to help out.  Robert had to jack both sides up so we could slip a few rocks under the rear tires.  The rock was jammed between the back of the skid plate (he couldn't go backwards) and the drive shaft (he couldn't go forward without killing it).  


While we worked on Robert's stuck, it gave everyone a chance to snoop around the Martinez mine buildings. which are in surprisingly good shape.  I wouldn't trust that trestle that goes across the wash though.  Too many years of sun drying out the timbers.


We no more than got Robert clear of that big rock when it kicked off a whole bunch of getting hung up on the rocks.  Both Joey and Joe managed to get themselves in a bind and required some help from the rest of the folks.  Here the 4 of us work on holding Joey's YJ in place while he tries to pull away from us (grin).  We finally let go so he could climb over the rocks and get clear of everything.


Here is Robert working his way through a section of the wash that is a bit past the mine buildings.  Joe managed to get a big old rock in this part wedged between the wheels of his YJ.  It took us a bit to get him free of that one.  Like I said, there were some good rock stucks in this part of the trail.


Steven's LSD rear axle did a great job of keeping him moving forward.  Of course, everyone knows how well the TJs flex.  Steve kept all 4 tires on the ground and that kept him moving along very nicely.  He worked his way though here with no problems.


Robert works his way up the v-notch that marks the end of the wash.  From here, the trail slowly winds its way up and out of Martinez Canyon.  The scenery gets more beautiful as you rise above the canyon.  

Eventually, you are on top of the mountain ridge and the view it affords you is really wonderful.  We stopped at an old silver mine on the way to the top and let the folks grab their flashlights and hike into the mine.  This horizontal mine shaft is a hard rock mine and is still safe.  No rotting timbers to cause problems.  


As with all good things, the day finally had to end.  The sun was beginning to set in the west (those shadows are starting to get rather long) and everyone had gotten a pretty good coating of trail dust and an overdose of fun.  There were no casualties today except for my kissing my front drive shaft with a rock.  It didn't become a problem until I hit 65 MPH on the way home....then the vibrations started in.  Since Moab was but a couple of weeks away, I ended up getting the drive shaft re-tubed.  No more vibrations.  Now I remember why I want to put in that front Warn hub kit!

Robert and I spent Sunday at the house.  We did some maintenance on the TJs and Donna cooked up a great Easter dinner.  After Robert had gotten his fill of her good home cooking, we loaded the TJ on his tow trailer and he headed back to California. 

Jamie came over later in the week, armed with a couple of good tasting pizzas and a complete set of prints from her two days of picture taking.  (the photos in this write-up were scanned from her prints).  We killed an hour or two that evening and the said our goodbyes.  It was time for her to head back to the East coast.

I always say that the worst day Jeepin' is better than the best day at work.  The two days we spent on the trail with our friends were no exception, except that they were both great days.  We all had a good time with good friends.  It just doesn't get any better than that.  I look forward to the next Phoenix Easter Jeep Safari.  Hmmmm.....I wonder if they ever thought of doing something like this up at Moab?

Remember to TREADLightly!

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