While the desert may not know what to do with the water when it rains, the hard core trail crews do. All that rushing power looking futiley for a place to go, carving out deeper channels and destacking debris as it searches for any ground that will have it- Not only does the torrent clean up the trails, it also lubricates the path to potential destruction as tires cease to find purchase on the lines that they know. This was the setting, just days after the Phoenix area received 4" of rain in 24 hrs (beating 1962's record), causing usually bone dry streams to swell above 17ft , 115,000 cubic feet per second until they knocked out the USGS gauges and they ceased reading. The only reason we waited 2 weeks after the storm to run out at Table Mesa was the fact that the river crossing, usually quater tire depth, was an approximated 20 feet deep.


Now that the river had worked off its extra water weight, it was time to revisit our Table Mesa stomping grounds and see all that was shiney new in store for us. Crossing the river was uneventful except for the apparent view of the high water line. Trees were missing, some found in the arms of others, others gone to what I can only assume from my schooling, the ocean. By the time we had it in our minds that the roads in had dried out, we were at the entrance of Lower Terminator staring at our first water hazard.

When 40 inch tires are swallowed whole only 2 feet into the trail, it can be off putting to the little'r guys, especially when you know if your tires fail to grip on the underwater obstacles, you're going to learn what swims in your Jeep faster than you can unbuckle to surface yourself. LT is full of fun little obstacles that require you to stay higher on top heavy slants than you'd rather be as you try to stay out of the walls or in some cases now, the water.


It was interesting with the differing wheelbases and setups we had along on this trip to see just what lines needed to be taken. We had 6 out on this trail, Geoff's XJ - full width and 40'd out, Alan's scratch ticket Cherokee, Team Yellow's short wheel base TJ, Jimmy's white Rubi LJ, Bill's flat black Chero, and something big and scary tubed in tow.

This trip took some extra spotting with the water aiding and abetting the rocks underneath. There are way too many raw pics of people hanging off bumpers in effort to balance out the scales, but sometimes a driver needs all he can get. The only almost oops was on White Line with the LJ. This obstacle made the extra effort to slide you back in with the slippery wet rock. A bigger slide back starboard than usual was inevitable so planning ahead was crucial. A couple tow ropes later and we had the mentioned parties headed back in the true direction.


On the climb out Big Scary lost a 2nd hub and then Team Yellow lost a bead. A little gasoline fire to the rescue sealed Yellow's  leak up only to find another tire had lost a sidewall. After what could be fixed was, the back group two, peeled off for home and the rest headed up to Predator.

A shorter trail with less water and fewer vehicles, we knocked this one out a little quicker. The skies did grow more overcast and we got a few sprinkles but that was it. A couple of solid built Grand Cherokees met up with us and brought up the rear as we drove through. No damage on this portion to report although the rocks in the narrow section were trying their hardest.

A good trail day had by all, lots of comradery, everyone made it out unscathed and no one got too wet in their seats.




Return to Trip Reports

View forum discussion, more pics and vids