SPRING EPIC 2022
Hopefully you’ve already read: Day-6.
DAY SEVEN: The Red Line Land Cruisers Spring Epic Overland Trip 2022
Photos & Story: Rodney Wills [Thursday – March 24, 2022] MAKE-UP DAY! Time to make up for what we lost yesterday! But did we really loose yesterday? Adventures, while planned and have expectations, you simply can not put too much weight into “the itinerary ink” on paper plans and simply have to take every aspect of the adventure – as THE ADVENTURE!
Today we have about 120-dirt miles planned with only 15-paved miles from our current location in Page, Arizona. We will be dropping into the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah.
But before we hit the dirt… 120-miles in equals 120-miles out, so we stock up on fuel! 80-Series Land Cruisers are big-sippers or more like big gulpers!
The RLLC80 has been a dirt road touring machine!
Which way? Lets do both! This way and then that way!
Again and again, this land is expansive, remote and not be taken lightly!
While the road may be smooth, the landscape is rugged, yet quite beautiful!
Fuel to explore and plenty exploring to fuel our thirst!
As we are covering a lot of ground today, it’d desert, desert, desert, then we drop into a canyon of sorts and things become visually interesting!
In curtain sections of the canyon, the walls are tall and narrow thus the ground receives limited sunlight and we reach a few icy creek sections.
In other sections of the canyon, the ice is simply thick even with the full exposure of the sun. But it is only March and Justin can never resist the throttle application to a slippery medium – ANY TIME OF YEAR!
It’s in his dirt DNA as he has been a Colorado Hill Climb Association participant in years past.
But once it’s in you – it’s forever in you! I know this “feeling” well as I was an SCCA Rally Participant from 1999 to 2003 competing on the Western States Championship Series. I giggle when I see Justin apply the skinny pedal!
Being respectful to the land and machine, the “happy skinny pedal” moment is back to “adventure mode” as we near the dirt surface and we continue our canyon route.
Soon we are climbing out of the canyon and back onto the high plains of open desert.
Open flat dirt roads do not come without hazards. Cattle, rain ruts, washes and sudden turns contouring to the unforeseen landscape have to be expected. To not be expecting the unexpected will “catch you out” and spit you out with what can easily be a broken vehicle! The desert is beautiful, but driving the desert is not without technicals and complications.
Respect her and she may let you pass through, disrespect her and may find some unwanted punishment. It’s all a “sliding scale of risk.” Robbie Gordon does not always finish the race. Adventuring the desert is NOT a race, it’s Darwinian evolutionary theory, the mechanism of natural selection aka survival of the fittest.
As we traverse the desert, we catch a glimpse of a big water mass. We eventually make our way to the edge…
For this next “adventure” we will be on foot.
We will be making a steep decent down a long narrow crevasse that has us on tiny ledges and bouldering obstacles.
Not a petroglyph of ancient times but a visual artifact..
It’s dark in the narrow passes and we are paying attention to our decent time as the assent will take longer.
As we exit the narrow chute the trail mellows…
But we are still quite a ways from the waters edge.
It’s quite and a grand majestic view!
We’ve finally reached the waters edge!
Looking back into the chute we came down.. Yes, we will be going back up the same route.
What do you see in the image above?
While this was not our reason for ascending this narrow canyon slot, the visual impact is stunning to say the least.
Where are we? We are North of Lake Powell and south of Escalante River along the “main feed” aka The Colorado River to Lake Powell. It is very clear of the level of what it use to be and what it is. Lake Powell generates power for about 5.8 million households and businesses in Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Some interesting side-reading: Aspen Journalism: Data dashboard: Lake Powell’s water level keeps plummeting. So the big question is, “What happens if Lake Powell runs out of water?”
Since we are on the subject of water…
Red Line Land Cruisers is a Colorado Springs, Colorado based operation. I myself, from California (1986 – 2000), technically from Alabama, but now living in Colorado Springs. Water, for those who consciously care in Southern California, is always on the “back of the brain!” When I started my Southern California desert pursuits in 2006, water is always of concern. With paying more attention to the desert and water, I came across the book, “Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water” By Marc Reisner.
The book on the left is the original version, on the right is the Revised Edition: “Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water,” Revised Edition • The story of the American West is the story of a relentless quest for a precious resource: water. It is a tale of rivers diverted and dammed, of political corruption and intrigue, of billion-dollar battles over water rights, of ecological and economic disaster. In his landmark book, Cadillac Desert, Marc Reisner writes of the earliest settlers, lured by the promise of paradise, and of the ruthless tactics employed by Los Angeles politicians and business interests to ensure the city’s growth. He documents the bitter rivalry between two government giants, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in the competition to transform the West. Based on more than a decade of research, Cadillac Desert is a stunning expose and a dramatic, intriguing history of the creation of an Eden–an Eden that may only be a mirage.
So where exactly are we on the Colorado River?
Living a large portion of the my life in Southern California and knowing of the water situation, then reading Marc Reisner’s Cadillac Desert, then moving to Colorado and hearing from “the other side of the creek” builds on my overall perspective of “water.” Seeing this location firsthand furthers that.
To lighten the mood and making our ascent back to the desert rim, the first image is of what looks like may have been a rock or mud attachment that released at some point revealing the “time-difference” as mud stained surrounding rock. The second image is of the rock I wish I had a large enough backpack for to hoist back to Bryan’s rig. Luckily for my back and Bryan’s rig, we had ZERO extra space for such specimen! In my previous life while working for Axial R/C Inc., I brought various rocks back from all of our trips and built a sidewalk rock garden for my tiny rigs.
We start the climb out…
It’s not all stairs to the rim…
What was easy to slide down, requires a little scramble up.
Nature is so adaptive and resilient.
Our last bit of boulders to the top. What was like a 35-45 minute decent was an 1:45+ ascent.
We make camp nearby and while we are atop of one rim another cuts our sun.
“Rich” is measured by the many campfires to ashes we stare into simply enriches the soul.