Hot! Up A Creek Without Paddle or Beer

Yesterday hinted at spring in Phoenix with mild temps matching our sunny skies after a few days of rain. I expected to make the most of it – maybe by hanging off the side of a rock in the McDowells, or hiking among boulders near Prescott. But an impromptu call for breakfast from Josh diverted those plans and in less than 90 minutes, we were off road and up a creek.

We went east off Table Mesa Road and I-17, driving past weekenders shooting guns, riding ATVs, and jumping dirt bikes. It was like a Southwest amusement park complete with forests of Saguaros. We arrived just in time to catch the Jeep 101 outing with AZ Virtual Jeep, and joined the small pack headed toward the “Terminator” trail. First obstacle – crossing a flowing river. We watched the Jeeps ahead lead the way through the shallow, but fast moving water, then dove in. Little did we know this would be the easiest of the challenges ahead.

Soon, instead of following the dirt road, the leader took a right turn into a creek and just kept going. The next obstacle was a pool of water much deeper than usual because of the rain. Two Jeeps made it, then one hit the crevasse, dipped to the passenger side, filled with water, and stalled out. It was another project for the group as they decided how to tow him out. Then Josh went in. I stayed on the side, not interested in being in the passenger seat in case he hit the rut, but he was a pro and didn’t even get the floorboards wet.

On we went to a Z-turn in the creek with high rocks on one side and a very large boulder on the other. We watched one Jeep as it zigged around the rocks, bucked off its front wheel like the Lone Ranger riding into the sunset, then landed with a thud on the other side. Josh was next and after much zigging, zagging, grinding, and reattaching his lift spring, he had to be towed through. This is when really regretted leaving the house so fast. We forgot the camera – and the beer!

The rest of the trail was an easy (in comparison) drive up the creek, watching as the skilled guide took vertical detours over boulders. We rejoined the main road, said goodbye to the Virtual Jeepsters, and laughed about our insanity all the way back to Phoenix.

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