Well, even I had to keep convincing myself that this was the same trail Chris and Jared ran a couple years ago, and I have the old footage in my player as we speak. Apparently all the rain this season had actually caused the rocks in the area to grow and point all of their pointy ends toward the sky in search of sunlight.
Okay, I'm going to go ahead and ruin the ending now: we didn't get there this time. I do this now, to explain how much the trail has changed and because I already wrote a great ending zinger type line that just wouldn't be as good with stuff after it. The two vehicles and guys we met at the end of WP, trailed us on Ajax and then continued on where we pressed stop. We did watch as the two of them as they left the world of straight, and bent their bodies into positions the Bible never gave the ok on. I will admit, the artsy paint on rock smattered with just a mincing of plastic lens was quite pretty in when the light hit it just right, but I don't think our Jeeps will ever like rocks in that way- not that there's anything wrong with that.
Anyway, the run started out simple enough. We came down into the wash straight off the exit trail from Woodpecker and began tracking it up. As soon as we got past the initial small rock gardens, we found to our surprise that something had been moving earth and boulders around like... like any choice of any number of bad analogies I could insert here... creating a whole new trail. It wasn't that bad at first, we just had to adjust our pace a little, but the further we went, the more something seemed to be wanting to adjust us.
We got to a long stretch that would have taken us longer than we had wanted to spend, so we took the "bypass" which ended up taking plenty of time of its own. After we finally got the Jeeps navigated through all the bouldosynthesis that had been going on there, we came upon the hardest obstacle (besides Fire Hole) we had seen all day.
This might have been one of those "maybe not" moments, but now there was more of an audience and so many cameras to please. To my first surprise Jared mounted up and took a run at it. I don't think his Jeep has ever been so twisted up and I have to admit, I was just waiting for an axle to snap. At one point, he was crawling up the rock with his fully flexed and stuffed front, while his rear was mirrored, with one wheel hanging and hovering over a foot off the ground. For him to prevail over all the angles the rocks were throwing at his Jeep, he had to make the decision to use the top of his rear tub as a slider. This forced sacrifice, kept the rest of his Jeep at bay from the hungry rock side, while he concentrated on getting up the notch. Admittedly, my second surprise was when all of a sudden Jared's Jeep was flying out of the hole. Apparently he was just as surprised, and giddy as a schoolgirl I might mention, that he almost had to be megaphone slapped to yank it left to keep him from taking a plunge off the ridge that just a few seconds ago been his friend. But the important thing was that he actually made it and it actually looked like the other vehicle guys were impressed at a non-locked, straight bodied DD.
Geoff moved his long wheel base up into the void where Jared had been, and antied up. The question of his 5.5 RE's flex hadn't been an issue until now and his belly clearance too had had the advantage on J, but ridge drop was so deep, it kept his Chero at a crazy lean-to that it was all the dry jagged side wall could do but to wet itself in delight. Somehow, he put everything but paint up against that rock. He kept tapping his folded in mirror, actually used his door handle as a slider at one point, and thanks to a watchful and creative, not to mention handsome spotter (ok it was me), had saved some glass by rolling his rear windows down, then ended up resting his Jeep on the whatchacallit, thin black window separator.
Well, I've never been one to name names or tow straps, but everyone eventually ended up high side. Long story short, the consensus was that if Jared's Jeep had back glass windows, he himself wouldn't have made it. But I saw the look in my boy's eyes and I can tell you that no matter what his Jeep's configuration had been, he wouldn't have gone home with windows anyway, and he would have still been giddy- and a school girl.