Our First ORV Park

We popped out proverbial “official” trail outing today @ Adventure Park! To be perfectly honest it was the first time I was in an official, dedicated off-road area that wasn’t just off some mountain road and technically the Jeep’s first official 4×4, point-of-no-return-having trails were experienced up at the Great Sand Dunes, but those were really just don’t get stuck in snow or mud wheelin where as this was a park with legit body scraping, rock crawling, don’t tip over, spot me while I negotiate this obstacle wheeling.

Two words: Completely. Hooked.

The story was a bit more interesting because we tried to sign up for one of the regularly running Saturday trail guide services hosted by Jones Jeeps, but I think we registered too late and they were elsewhere that weekend.  The original plan was to do one of these trail-guide deals to learn the basics and start from a good foundation, so technically this should have been the end of our experience, but I asked a few questions from the park rangers and they pointed out some safe trails that we could take for great views that wouldn’t be challenging at all if we wanted to play it safe.  I could tell my wife was nervous (not scared, mind you- nervous because she knows me and she knows that if I get out there and it does seem easy enough, I’ll want to keep edging into bigger challenges ;)).

So after a quick debate, we decided to keep the Adventure alive, reviewed the trail map and agreed to do nothing harder than a 3 for our first outing. (We picked 3 because the roads the ranger recommended looking at our rig and asking me about my experience were all 1-3 in rating themselves).  He also figured that unless conditions have changed (to which he cautioned they always can), our Jeep would be able to handle it all without really even airing down to disconnecting sway bars.  I was prepared either way, but his recommendations would later prove to be 100% correct on all fronts.

So, we set out into the park, which for the both of us, was like discovering that Disney Land was only an hour away.  I mean that because my wife and I love all kinds of Motorsports beyond the 4 wheeling – we ride sport bikes, have done snowmobiling on a number of occasions, etc – so when we entered the park and saw all these people camping, tooling around on dirt bikes and ATVs – it was amazing to know we had something like this so close to home.

So we started in on Park Road 1 and followed it up to Park Road 3, which wraps around Wildcat Mountain up to the summit with the view.  Did all of Park Road 1 in 2WD since it was really just a dirt road with some bumpy spots.  As we wrapped around Park Road 3 though, we hit a few minor obstacles where 4WD definitely helped, but nothing that seemed to warrant 4 -low until we actually got up to the tower point and followed it down to the edge where it meets with Jody’s Revenge.  It was on that summit that we encountered what I’d call our first legit challenge, a nice 5-6′ drop down with a deep groove demanding a controlled-decent and finesse to avoid tipping.   It was funny cause here was our first challenge, and there happened to be a couple of younger guys on dirt bikes that parked up at the bypass just to watch 🙂  With a good line and a steady break, we manged to step down flawlessly and the bikers gave us a thumbs up 🙂 it felt really great!

But the real reward came a few moments later as we arrived at the overlook and were given a great view of the valley below us-

Totally Worth It

We weren’t going to press our luck and try to do Jody’s Revenge, which as rated as a 5, so we turned around to head back towards Park Road 3.  On the way back, I decided to try the challenge again, this time trying to get up face which was a different kind of challenging.  Here is a photo of the approach, my wife is up on the ledge for perspective:

I’m quickly learning that photography really doesn’t do these things justice.  It doesn’t look like much, but I was up on 3 wheels for a bit doing it 😛

I got out ahead of time and surveyed the approach to pick a line. If I just went straight for it, the deep groove on the left and the slanted road on the right would have screwed me (I was thankful there was a tree there just in case) so my approach plan was to hit it at a matching angle, and get the passenger side to bite first and go from there.  It worked out – I was on 3 wheels for a minute while I got it poised but then I gave it just a good bump of gas and the momentum popped me up over the lip, at which point I hit the gas again to drag the rest up and over.  It was quite a rush, and my wife caught it on video (will upload later).

The rest of the day was such a blast. We came back down Park Roads 3 and 1, and made our way back to the general base area for some water and a quick snack before hitting our second recommended path, Park Road 3 which was to take us east of Wildcat Mountain towards some nice water features and a small waterfall. We were more excited about this second half because it had a bunch of 1s, 2s, and 3s we could try.  I just had to get a few trails under my belt that had legit names rather than Park Road. 🙂

We did great.  The Jeep ate up every obstacle on the first go which was very confidence inspiring considering we don’t even have lockers yet, weren’t at full flex, and were running 35lbs of pressure in the tires.  All in all we were able to conquer Feeder Creek, Rocky, Falls, Boss Hog, Turkey Creek and part of North Pole (4) (without realizing it until after).

Crossing @ Green Horn

At about Noon we decided to not press our luck too much – there were more level 3 trails we wanted to try but they had some aspects I just didn’t want to risk getting stuck in being solo without a winch, so we made our way back after checking our the falls and called it a good successful first official outing!

Technically, there IS falling water, so….

For more pictures, check out my albums on Wayalife.com