Moab, UT &
The Maze (Part 1)
by Ken Womack
will be a 4-part series of our trip to Moab, UT with Dan and Dianne Neuss
that we did the first 2 weeks of June.
It was Evelynís and my first trip to Moab, but Danís has been
going there every year for 30 years!
We didnít waste any time because Dan knew most all of the trails,
the best ones, and the better ones. There
are no bad trails at Moab. Moab
is a 4-wheelerís paradise, with many trails (roads, they are all roads),
that go on for many miles with many wondrous sites to see along the way.
Trails that have a destination.
As good as the new 4-wheel drive parks are, they can never replace
long trails like those at Moab, trails on public land- OUR LAND.
day was Sunday and we had met some fellow 4-wheelers from The Las Cruces
4X4 Club. We had talked
about running a trail together.
We chose Poison Spider Mesa, a meduim to hard trail that would take
about half of a day. Gary
& Susan Kyle, Steve Bencomo and David as well as Dan and myself left
about 10:00 am. Out Potash Rd. to the trailhead, we aired down to get started
on our ascent. The trail
wasnít too tough, but there were some optional spots that kept up our
first major obstacle was The Wedgie, either straddle it or run a way
off-camber chute thru slickrock. Dan
and I went on through, while the other 2 Jeeps decided to save their
slickrock would be my first taste of it, and needless to say I was
excited. The others had seen
it before and done it before. We
ran a good ways, past the start of the Golden Spike Trail and into a loop
trail around Pig Mtn., a rock formation that resembled a Mama Pig and her
piglets at mealtime. We found
some shade about 12:30pm, and had lunch.
We ate and talked 4-wheeling and enjoyed each otherís company.
Then we packed up to continue.
Dan and I had to leave early to pack up for The Maze, so we left
while our comrades finished the loop.
We would later see our new friends on a stretch of The Maze.
Dan and I left for Moab to pack up for our ultimate campout, The
trip to the Maze started as a dream of Dan Neuss many years ago.
Although he had visited parts of it, he could never carry enough
gear and supplies to make a long comfortable trip of it.
He had longed to camp at the most remote camp in the Maze, The Doll
House. He needed an off-road
gear trailer to carry enough water, gas, and food as well as camping gear.
He enlisted the help of Lance Langehennig to build a trailer that
would carry all the necessary gear and make into a flat platform for a
bed. Lance used a design he
was already working on and They modified it to meets Danís
specifications. It took
several months of spare time toil
to make this trailer work in the outback while carrying 800 lbs. of gear,
food, water and gas. Dan even
mounted a portable winch mount with itís own battery in case the trailer
got too jack-knifed and had to be yanked around.
The upper deck of the trailer folds flat to make a bed, very
ingenious. It took a lot of
hard work, but
the results were quite favorable.
returning from Poison Spider Mesa, we quickly began packing up our Jeeps
and Danís trailer. Our
food was packed down with dry ice, and we had 40 gal. of water from the
Springs, a fresh spring waterspout just outside of Moab.
We carried 20 gal. of extra gas, as well as 3 grills, one large
2-burner gas grill, a small one, and one charcoal grill too, for the Texas
Bar-B-Que we just had to take with us.
Our Jeeps were packed to the gills as well.
We wouldnít want for much on this excursion.
arrived at the Ranger Station, checked in and unloaded my Jeep for the
40-mile drive to The Doll House, our destination for the next 4 days.
We drove on top of a plateau for the first 12 miles.
We passed a few lookouts, which gave a preview of our trip to come.
We passed Bagpipe Butte, which we saw from several different angles
throughout the trip. Soon we came to the start of The Flint Trail, and our descent
into the valley below.
We made it down to the next plateau, where we continued on around a ridge until we got to Tea Pot Rock, where we climbed down to a flat section called Water-Hole Flats. Here we ran 2- wheel drive to make better time, as we had another 22 miles to go. On past Tea Pot Canyon we found some difficult sections with ledges and very sharp turns. I got out to spot for Dan a couple of times.
while not hard-core, was fairly difficult pulling a trailer.
I would say one should have at least 31 in. tires, some lift and
one locker to safely make this trail.
There were a couple of miles of this until we started coming up on
some interesting rock formations. We
were now in ďThe Land Of The Standing RocksĒ, some chocolate brown
rock formations jutting up into the sky.
beauty was amazing; Lizard Rock, The Wall, and Standing Rock were all
within a couple of miles of each other.
Behind us were the Fins, and red, white and light brown sections of
smooth-topped rock formations that were totally different from The
Standing Rocks. It was a
monument to the diversity of nature and the thousands of years of water,
wind and sun erosion in the area. You
could see why it was called The Maze, with the hundreds of little canyons
and washes; you could very easily become lost for days.
day we relaxed and took in the area.
It was really out there! The only 4-wheeling was the road out here,
but we did return to Chimney Rock, where we met a couple from California,
who had ventured alone here to camp. They had a stock TJ with 30 in. tires and a limited slip.
He said they had some tense moments and scraped hard in several
places. We even ran into our
New Mexico friends and visited for a while.
We went to check out the other 2 Doll House campsites, only to
discover we had lost our camera. All the way back to the Standing Rocks we went, until I found
it hanging on the jerry can gas cap.
We now had a jerry-can camera! Back to camp we went for
another fine night of full moon, stars and comradery.
next day, the river was calling our name, except for Dianneís (she
decided not to go, smart woman). You
see we were very close to The Colorado River.
It was about 3 Ĺ miles down to Spanish Bottom and the river.
We originally thought it was a mile down and brought only enough
water for that. It
proved to be much further.
We arrived at Spanish Bottom and found a good spot to get into the river.
Here we met a pair of Rangers who were scouting the river, ready to
rescue and assist rafters on the river.
Dan and I swam some in the ice-cold water.
Evelyn said she wasnít going in.
It felt brisk but refreshing after the long hike down the trail
the swim, we filled our water bottles and went on down the trail to find a
sandy beach past the rapids in Cataract Canyon.
We stopped there thinking we had passed it or it was too far
considering our long hike back to camp.
Another swim and some pictures and we were back to Spanish Bottom
and another refill. Many
thanks to our Ranger friends who helped us out with the water.
We met some experienced hikers coming down as we were going up.
They were friendly and all in much better shape than we were.
There were probably 60 or more switchbacks up the trail, and it was
in the heat of the day. We
didnít have near enough water, as we should have taken.
I was developing heat stroke with muscle cramps and nausea. We rested every chance we could in the shade and plodded on.
It was looking bad for me when my leg would not bend at the knee;
intense leg cramps had me laying prone a hot rock.
The heat released my leg cramps, and on we plodded, Dan had gone
ahead to get the Jeep closer, but he got leg cramps, too.
We eventually made it, Evelyn doing the best as she walks
regularly. We made it back to
camp where Dianne refreshed us with cold water, orange juice and chocolate
chip cookies. It worked!
After a short nap we were all ready to enjoy the rest of the evening.
plan to hike, please take MUCH MORE WATER than we took! We were lucky,
needless to say! Thursday
morning had us packing up to go back to Moab.
We packed up, cleaned up the campsite thoroughly and took a shower
with Danís portable, battery-powered shower.
It worked well and we headed back down the 40-mile Jeep Road to the
Ranger Station. We got to
Hans Flat about 4:00 pm and loaded my Jeep onto the trailer for the
46-mile return to pavement. We
stopped in Green River for a great hamburger and a beer before arriving in
Moab about 11:00 pm. It was
the end of a long day, but also the end of an unforgettable experience.
A campout in a truly remote spot with wonderful rock formations
under a full moon and bright stars shared with great friends.
Couldnít get much better than that! And, we got there by
4-wheel-drive! Many thanks to
Dan & Dianne Neuss for inviting us to go with them.
Dan got to fulfill a dream with a trip to The Maze, and the rest of
us had a great deposit in our memory banks!