As you can see from my recent pictures, it has been very rainy here lately so no surprise that our last day of renting the Jeep dawned threatening, grey and moist. “Stay out of the muck” was the advice repeated to us by our advisors so we knew our driving adventures would be very limited on this last day. However we just could not bring ourselves sit in the coach all day and stare at the rented Jeep parked outside. We headed to the downtown info center to see if we could get some ideas there. We got the “muck” warning again but with a “quick sand” addendum. They also made suggestions of a couple of roads that “might be OK.” We headed to the first one called “Behind the Rocks.” It was on our list from the Jeep lady as “damage guaranteed”, but the visitor center guide promised that if we followed the “easy” route up there we should be OK. Rain was starting to get heavy causing us to miss the turnoff for the trail the first time by. After we turned around, made it back and were reading the trailhead info sign it started to sleet, then after a few minutes it began snowing. The trail turned to mush before our eyes so we ditched that idea. Our second choice was a gravel county road right across the road us. Though not technically a 4 wheel drive road, at least we would not be on pavement. From the info we received, this road appeared to head to a state highway that would circle us back around headed to home. At first the road seemed good though the mud really clung to the Jeep and soon we were covered in mud. We headed up to a cell phone tower to get those time lapse pics I published earlier and enjoy lunch with a view. Our mistake was not just going home then. Instead we continued down the gravel road picking up more and more mud. We turned into the lovely Black Canyon when all of a sudden things were NOT OK. We were on narrow curvy ledge when Storm noticed that he did not have directional control. The rear end kept trying to come around and there was no room on the ledge for a sideways jeep. Stuck between halfway down the canyon and halfway up with no turn around room we tried to decide what to do. I personally attempted to become one with the Jeep hoping to somehow guide it straight with sheer force of will or if that failed, I was also preparing to jump! Storm calmly fought the wheel, kept us as straight as possible without crashing into the canyon wall on his side and got us to the bottom. We then decided that it would be better to go back up than to forge onward not knowing what lay ahead (an old pilot trick that has served us well). If we could just get back to the muddy but not so slippery part of the road we would go home, wash the jeep and return it before anything else happened to us in it. The backtracking was slow and involved some tricky maneuvering on Storm’s part to stay on the ledge without hitting anything, but he did it and did not even scratch the jeep (we weren’t sure about this until after several washes removed all of the mud). The only pictures we have are views from the cell tower as I was too busy clinging to the Jeep during our cliffhanging adventure to take pictures.
*click on any pic to open slide show