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Old April 17th, 2012, 10:35 AM
chris snell chris snell is online now
Christopher Snell
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,384
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.

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Old April 17th, 2012, 10:52 AM
chris snell chris snell is online now
Christopher Snell
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,384
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.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 11:24 AM
stu454 stu454 is online now
Stuart Ivie
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 1,177

I am sad that I missed this one.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 11:36 AM
johnlee johnlee is offline
John Lee
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Torrance, CA
Posts: 16,160
Awesome pics.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 11:53 AM
clalor clalor is offline
Christian Lalor
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 148
Loving the report
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Old April 17th, 2012, 12:02 PM
Mike_Rupp Mike_Rupp is offline
Mike Rupp
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Mercer Island, WA
Posts: 864
Nice job.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 09:25 PM
montanablur montanablur is offline
Sinuhe Xavier
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Neither here, nor there...
Posts: 584
Originally Posted by chris snell

Is that a pit toilet in the background?

Camp 4 at Devils Kitchen?
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Old April 18th, 2012, 08:06 AM
chris snell chris snell is online now
Christopher Snell
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,384
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.
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Old April 18th, 2012, 08:48 AM
Steve Rupp Steve Rupp is offline
Steve Rupp
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 86
I like the band on the Sub. I might have to look into that.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 09:41 PM
greghirst greghirst is offline
Greg Hirst
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,290
Great pics-looks like a fun trip.

Originally Posted by chris snell

For bushings your bottle jack is your friend.
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Old April 17th, 2012, 11:35 PM
JSQ JSQ is offline
Jack Quinlan
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: San Diego
Posts: 3,491
There's a lot of disco love in those pics.
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