Elephant Hill ’15
By Frank TaylorÂ
The Creeper’s Easter Sunday trail ride was Elephant Hill, located in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. The trail is rated a 5 and is also run twice during the week of Jeep Safari.
Most of us met at the Moab City Market at 8:00 and pulled out at 8:30. We had seven Jeeps on the run: Jerry & Viga in the “Short Bus”, Dixie Green driving “Lance”, Trevor in his XJ with his dad Tom as a passenger, Wendy in her CJ-5 accompanied by her three grand kids, Dwight & Bev in their almost new red 4 door JK, our daughter Lisa in her work in progress XJ, and Sandy and I as trail leaders driving the trusty CJ-7 relic.
We stopped at the turn off into the park to meet some of our group that had gone ahead. Wendy unloaded her jeep off the trailer and removed all her valuables from the truck/camper and secured them in the jeep Tuffy console for safe-keeping. (There”s more to this story involving how to break into the Tuffy console after the lock wouldn”t unlock. Ask Wendy for details, especially if you have one with the push button type latch). In the mean time, her cash, credit cards and driver license were definitely in a safe place. We stopped at the visitor center for a 10-100 and to air down.
This trail offers some moderate challenges and fantastic scenery. One of our goals for the day was to take our lunch break at the Joint Trail trailhead and then explore the narrows and slots of the Joint Trail. To get there it is necessary to navigate down SOB Hill and then return the same way. With time beginning to become an issue, we decided to have lunch at Devil’s Kitchen instead. We then drove the short distance over to the top of SOB Hill to have a look. With some expert spotting by Dwight, Jerry and Viga in the Short Bus and Dixie piloting Lance, drove down and back up the hill with no issues. Although it was possible for all of us, we decided it would have to be conquered another day. It was getting late and we had a long way to go to get back out.
Coming up the backside of Elephant Hill, Jerry noticed Dwight’s swaybar had somehow flipped around. After getting it back in it’s proper position and driving about a hundred yards it flipped around again causing a steering issue. This time the links were removed and the bar was tied up out of the way. We were then able to drive down the front face of the hill without any problem.
We got everyone aired up and headed toward Montecello for a late dinner. Montecello had pretty much closed up for the day but we did find a restaurant that was open. They did a great job in getting eleven of us seated and fed. We got back into Durango around 11:30 or so. It was a long but exciting day. Thanks to everyone who joined us for a great day of fun wheeling and wrapping up the 2015 Easter Jeep Safari.
Trevor Kraayenbrink almost to the top of Elephant Hill
Jerry McGeorge working his way down SOB Hill
The group working their way up Elephant Hill from the trailhead