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-   -   DiscoWeb in Utah 2012 (http://www.expeditionexchange.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1424)

chris snell April 17th, 2012 10:35 AM

DiscoWeb in Utah 2012
 
The drive out...

It was the standard haul across Central Colorado and fifth crossing of Monarch Pass for this old yellow horse.



Since my drive to Utah follows one typical route, I like to look for new variations to get there. I left the pavement and the Paradox Valley behind and ascended high onto the Uncompaghre Plateau. From this vantage point, you could see Paradox, the farmlands around Norwood, and the San Juans beyond.



I crossed into Utah high on the backside of the La Sals.



Heading high at Paradox was impulsive and I hadn't planned a route beforehand. It was still early in the season and there were many downed trees and snow banks to deal with.

I finally descended from the La Sal's flanks on a gnarly 4WD trail above the Castle Valley. From Paradox to the Sand Flats Recreation Area, my tires didn't touch pavement for almost 110 miles.





I met up with Ben and Jason that evening and we made a beeline for a nice little spot north of town on public lands with a grand overlook.

We slept under the stars on a sandstone chimney, sleeping bags and Thermarests laid out on the rock.



The next morning, we headed south to the eastern rim of the Colorado River canyons.



The plan was to camp here but the windy prelude to a massive Pacific storm was blowing in as we arrived. There were 50 MPH sustained winds with gusts over 70. We followed a 4WD trail out to a point to take in the view. You could barely make out Lockhart Basin below.





After bagging on that camping plan, we decided to head south for Comb Wash, since it's a little more sheltered down there. While exploring for a campsite, I--unintentionally--took us up the Comb Ridge dugway that lies south of the highway. It was 11PM as we started the ascent up the very rocky and very exposed trail. I considered turning us around when I saw what we'd gotten into but with three trucks already on the narrow ledge, there was nothing to do but commit. We hauled ass up that thing and set up camp in a sandy wash above the ridge.

The next morning, we broke camp and headed for the redezvous with the rest of the group in Blanding.



After the meet-up and some quick grocery shopping, we headed for Cedar Mesa.









We set up camp in the afternoon and the festivities began.









Peter grilled a delicious feast of lamb ribs for the crowd.





Kevin made some fancy quinoa.



It was one of those magical afternoons where you wish you could freeze time. The weather was beautiful and we didn't want the sun to set.






chris snell April 17th, 2012 10:52 AM

The next day, we broke camp and headed for Dark Canyon and the Abajos.



The plan was to cross into Beef Basin and camp there.



We stopped on Elk Ridge and circled the wagons for some lunch.



The brunt of the storm system was moving through and it was getting colder by the minute. We decided that we needed more firewood.



We started the day in t-shirts and shorts but it was time to change into warmer gear. Jason, sporting his Russells.



Ben cooked Cheddarwurst in beer for the group.



Peter opted for ramen.



After lunch we continued down the backside of Elk Ridge, skirting Dark Canyon. Life was too easy and we were making good time when...



We scouted for alternate routes around the downed tree but the brush was full of the small stumps of recently cut small trees. It would be a nasty, time-consuming slog to get around the blocked road. We decided to move the tree.









Right after the tree was cleared, Ben broke a shock and got a flat. It was the Curse of Beef Basin for him once again.

We pushed on, nursing the leaky tire with the PowerTank.







When we got to Beef Basin, good camping spots were hard to come by. With such a large group, the usual stashes were too small. We needed to push on for Canyonlands, where we could squeeze everyone in and fix the broken shock.



We finally made it to camp.



I had brought a couple of my old Bilsteins as spares.



Sexy blue booty.



Peter went to work on the broken shock with his Anton Chigurh CO2 tank.





I had almost left spare bushings at home but decided to bring them at the last minute. I should have pressed them into the spare shocks before I left.



After trying hammers and the strength of lesser men, Steve stepped forward to be our human press.





With the spare shock installed, Jason made a nice dinner of NY strips for the crowd. We huddled around a fire that couldn't quite keep up with the freezing temperatures that had moved into the Canyonlands.

stu454 April 17th, 2012 11:24 AM

Beautiful.

I am sad that I missed this one.

johnlee April 17th, 2012 11:36 AM

Awesome pics.

clalor April 17th, 2012 11:53 AM

Loving the report

Mike_Rupp April 17th, 2012 12:02 PM

Nice job.

chris snell April 17th, 2012 12:25 PM

We awoke the next morning to threatening skies. With fuel running low, we decided to make a push for Moab.





Fuel consumption is quite limiting down here. My truck has a 15 gallon tank and I carry only two fuel cans; after two days of driving, I was bumming fuel from the rest of the group. Jason, on the other hand, arrived in Moab with diesel to spare. His Tdi truck was a champ in the Canyonlands; it handled the tough sections effortlessly. I really want a three hundy now.





Shooting photos is a lot of work. I learned to drive fast and to handle tough obstacles without a spotter in order to stay ahead of the group.



My Blunnies took a beating from climbing rocks.



We finally made it to Moab that afternoon amid thunderstorms and winds. After dinner at Milt's, we decided to rent a house for the night. We stayed up late drinking tequila and telling stories. Ben and Jason departed for home early the next morning. The rest of the group stuck around and enjoyed a beautiful day of classic Moab trails under the warm sun.

We ran Fins 'N' Things. The last time I ran this trail was on my first trip to Moab with Marc O., Steve, and Rob. I remember approaching this obstacle and getting all fucked up on my line, almost driving off the ledge on the driver's side. I was totally gripped and Rob had to pull me back from the edge using my truck's tie-down points. I had no other recovery points.



This time around, the trail seemed ridiculously easy. It was the perfect final run for a wonderful trip.

We celebrated with trail coffee before saying our goodbyes and heading back to our home states.



The drive back to Colorado Springs.



Monarch #6.



Happy memories of a great trip with a fantastic group of guys.


Moody April 17th, 2012 12:49 PM

Excellent. I can't seem to get enough of the Cedar Mesa/Beef Basin/SE Utah area.

Tell me about your coffee grinder.

No photos of ruins in Beef Basin/Cedar Mesa?

benlittle April 17th, 2012 01:00 PM

What a kick-ass bunch of guys. Great trip!




























Mike_Rupp April 17th, 2012 01:46 PM

That coffee setup looks familiar. :D

chris snell April 17th, 2012 02:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike_Rupp
That coffee setup looks familiar. :D


Big thanks to Steve for the recommendation on the Frieling french press. It's so much better than that crappy Jetboil one that I was using. The Zassenhaus was great, too. Apparently, one can do a good impersonation of Kevin Costner in Dances With Wolves with that thing. :gee:

clalor April 17th, 2012 03:20 PM

How did the (what appear to be) mildly modified D2s do on the trip?

Mike_Rupp April 17th, 2012 03:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chris snell
Big thanks to Steve for the recommendation on the Frieling french press. It's so much better than that crappy Jetboil one that I was using. The Zassenhaus was great, too. Apparently, one can do a good impersonation of Kevin Costner in Dances With Wolves with that thing. :gee:


My Zassenhaus grinds at least as well as my $200 home grinder, if not better.

benlittle April 17th, 2012 04:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by clalor
How did the (what appear to be) mildly modified D2s do on the trip?


They (Bill Gill & Kevin May) did extremely well.

jrose609 April 17th, 2012 06:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chris snell
Big thanks to Steve for the recommendation on the Frieling french press. It's so much better than that crappy Jetboil one that I was using. The Zassenhaus was great, too. Apparently, one can do a good impersonation of Kevin Costner in Dances With Wolves with that thing. :gee:


A little Rolex love to go with the Zassenhaus......
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Chris was getting down and dirty to get the great shots.

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jrose609 April 17th, 2012 06:53 PM

Great trip with a great group. Hope to meet up again!

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ronward April 17th, 2012 08:01 PM

The "Anton Chigurh" CO2 comment had me laughing out loud. Terrific report and pictures!

montanablur April 17th, 2012 09:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chris snell





Is that a pit toilet in the background?

Camp 4 at Devils Kitchen?

greghirst April 17th, 2012 09:41 PM

Great pics-looks like a fun trip.

Quote:

Originally Posted by chris snell



For bushings your bottle jack is your friend.

JSQ April 17th, 2012 11:35 PM

Sweet.
There's a lot of disco love in those pics.

chris snell April 18th, 2012 08:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by montanablur
Is that a pit toilet in the background?

Camp 4 at Devils Kitchen?


It was Bobby Jo. Camp 4 is sweet, though.

Steve Rupp April 18th, 2012 08:48 AM

I like the band on the Sub. I might have to look into that.

chris snell April 18th, 2012 09:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jrose609
DSC_0800


Embarassing. My gear storage is such a disaster.

Ben, I hope you post up some pictures of your new storage setup. It's so sweet.

stu454 April 18th, 2012 09:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jrose609
A little Rolex love to go with the Zassenhaus......
DSC_0712

Chris was getting down and dirty to get the great shots.

DSC_0840


Chris, is that your new coat? How did you like it?

hks3sgte April 18th, 2012 09:52 AM

Excellent photography, Chris

What's the silver thing on your watch strap? Never seen a NATO strap like that


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