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 > Outfitter White Rim Trail Expedition

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DonCurley

La Sal, Utah

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Joined: 12/27/2006

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Posted: 03/21/08 11:27pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

After having run the White Rim Trail in years past in small 4WD vehicles, my wife Janet and I had the opportunity to go on this stupendous 4x4 trail in our Dodge 3500/Outfitter Apex 8 pop-up TC from March 15th through March 17th. We were joined by Steve_in_29 (Steve & Shin Urban from California in a Ford F350/Outfitter Apex 9.5) and Nemo667 (Ben & Tory Matthews from Louisiana in a Ford F350/Outfitter Apex 8).

The White Rim Trail is a 100+ mile long 4x4 trail in the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah near Moab. What makes this rugged trail so special are the truly scenic backdrops of red rock cliffs, canyons, and rock formations along with the Colorado and Green rivers, and the La Sal Mountains to the east.

We started out on 3/14 by meeting at Arch View RV campground just outside of the park, and spent the night there (which is where we missed Dave Rogers and his wife). Unfortunately, the Shafer Trail (the usual starting point for the White Rim Trail), was closed due to significant ice in the shaded sections, so we entered the park via the Potash Road near Arches NP on the morning of 3/15. After joining the White Rim Trail (WRT) just below Shafer Canyon, we got this shot of Steve & Ben traveling along the rim:
[image]

We then stopped at Musselman Arch. Here is a shot of Steve & Shin on the top of the Arch:
[image]

We were slated to stay the first night at White Crack camp (at the 40 mile point on the WRT). On the way there, we grabbed this photo looking east towards the La Sal Mountains:
[image]

We didn’t take any photos while at White Crack camp, but here is a shot looking back at White Crack point to the southeast as we left the next morning:
[image]

The second half of the WRT presents the most challenging obstacles (as compared to the first half). Prior to getting to Murphy Hogback, here are a couple of shots of a short climb up to a shelf trail:
[image]

[image]

Here is a photo of our trucks & campers lined up on the road leading to Murphy Hogback:
[image]

And here is a shot looking southwest from the WRT. The two buttes in the distance are Elaterite (center) and Bagpipe (to the left), and both are beyond the Green River and in the Maze District of Canyonlands NP (which, believe it or not, is an even more isolated section of the park than the WRT in the Island in the Sky District):
[image]

The first big challenge is Murphy Hogback. This shot does not do justice to how steep this shelf road is, but here is Ben & Tory coming up the last section:
[image]

What goes up must come down, so here is a shot of yours truly and Steve coming down the backside of Murphy Hogback:
[image]

Here’s an “advertisement shot” for Outfitter with Candlestick Tower in the background:
[image]

For the second big obstacle, here is Steve & Ben coming up to the entrance of Hardscrabble Hill. This is much longer than Murphy Hogback, with a lot of switchbacks that are steeper in quite a few sections. You basically need to just keep on going up and up in 4-wheel-low (so not many photos got taken during this section):
[image]

Here is Steve & Ben coming down the back side of Hardscrabble where it’s getting pretty easy:
[image]

And here is a long-distance shot of our second camp at Taylor Canyon (at roughly the 80 mile mark on the WRT). You can see our three trucks parked down near the wash:
[image]

It rained a bit on the night of 3/16, so while a bit damp, we did not encounter any significant mud on the remaining part of the WRT when we left Taylor Canyon that morning (versus the heavy rain that had been forecasted). Just when we thought we had put all the difficult stuff behind us, we ran into a really narrow shelf section of the trail with a rock wall on the passenger-side and a vertical drop-off on the drivers-side overhanging the Green River. We lightly tagged the casing of our side awning against the wall when we rocked a bit at one point (luckily it’s mostly a cosmetic crease in the outer casing). Anyway, here is a shot of coming up the side of the mesa on the Mineral Bottom Road leading up to the top of Island in the Sky (and you can see the Green River down in the bottom of the canyon):
[image]

Once we got on top, we saw that the rain we had down at the 5000 foot level on the WRT had turned to snow at the 6000 foot level of the mesa top. Here is a shot of that before we headed out the remaining 11 miles of the Mineral Bottom Road (or Horsethief Trail) before rejoining Hwy 313 and pavement.
[image]

I might add that Steve had kidded before the trip that he hoped to run into mud since he had bought a new set of ProComp M/T tires for the trip. Well, he got his wish on this road. The further we traveled on it, the worse it got. We were all throwing copious amounts of mud up under our trucks and all over the leading surfaces of our campers. You had to keep your speed up though and stay in the center, crowned part of the dirt road as things got pretty squirrelly and it would be easy to get bogged down. This ultimately led to an almost hour visit at a car wash place in Moab, where we must have sprayed off more than a 100 pounds of mud from each vehicle. Here’s a shot of that happy effort:
[image]

After fueling up and grabbing a quick bite of lunch, we headed into Arches National Park just north of Moab. We hiked around the Windows section getting a number of shots of the many arches in that section of the park. Here is one of Double Arch:
[image]

We then headed west on the Salt Valley Road, which is a sandy road in a wash bed that leads to Klondike Bluffs and then out of the park as Salt Valley continues westward. We scouted out a nice boondocking camp next to a rocky ridge on a side road for our last camp before we all split up and went our separate ways the next day. Here is a shot of our camp for the night of 3/17:
[image]

On the way out to Hwy 191 on the morning of 3/18, we made a brief stop at an agate collection area where we took some photos of each other and our rigs. Here are respective shots of Steve & Shin and Ben & Tory as we said goodbye.
[image]

[image]

To say the least, we all had a total blast and enjoyed each other’s company. The weather mostly cooperated, and the superb scenery was far better than our photos could do justice to. We were of course very thankful that we did not have the extreme amount of mud to deal with that Dave Rogers (Whazoo) and his wife encountered in January, as that would have definitely made difficult conditions all that more difficult (or even dangerous in several areas). In many cases, the best shots of our rigs getting through the worst of the various obstacles couldn’t be had as we were busy getting through or over them. Also, this initial post just represents a sampling of the photos we took. Since Steve & Ben were also taking pics, I am hoping they can either add some to this thread, or can post separate threads to provide some vantages other than the ones we have included here.

For those who might be interested in attempting the White Rim Trail, you have to get on a waiting list with the park service for the dates you are interested in. It can then sometimes take up to a year to finally get your dates and reservations for a backcountry permit, as it is really a popular destination and the park limits the number of people that can go in on the trail at any given time. Fall and spring are the best (and most popular) times to go on the WRT, with the summer months being far too hot, and the winter being too cold and snowy for most people’s tastes. I would not recommend this trail for heavy, hard-sided campers, DRW or 2WD pickups. You should ideally have previous off-road driving experience, and you need a high-clearance pickup with good off-road tires. Going slow is the rule, with 2 to 5 MPH in the more difficult sections, and maybe 10 to 15 MPH when you hit “good” spots (the latter of which don’t last very long).

Again, this was nothing short of a totally fantastic trip with good folks. And it just goes to show how TC rigs (in this case pop-ups), can really go into some pretty amazing and rugged country and make it out to tell the tale.

Cheers!
Don & Janet


-'07 Dodge 3500/QC/SB/SRW/4x4/6.7L CTD/6-spd auto/35" Toyo MT's/Ride-Rite air bags/RS9000XL shocks
-'07 Apex 8 fully optioned w/220W solar/2 T-145's/2KW Prosine/Honda EU2000i/Tundra fridge/AC/etc
-'00 Jeep Wrangler TJ 4x4, highly modified w/5.9L Magnum V8


rv2go

Fulltime 15 yrs (Knoxville, TN).or someplace else

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Joined: 12/26/2000

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Posted: 03/21/08 11:40pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

WOW...I'm envious. You guys with your TC's have it made.


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2324delk

Indiana

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Joined: 03/02/2008

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Posted: 03/21/08 11:51pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wow eeeeeeee

Great write up and even greater pictures..

I needed this to get me ready....

Thanks so much for sharing the trip.

Steve

94Chalet

Colorado

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Joined: 08/13/2007

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Posted: 03/21/08 11:59pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What fantastic pictures. Can't wait to get the season started. This is all the motivation I need. Thanks for sharing.

jefe 4x4

West Slope, Northern Sierra Nevada

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Joined: 01/21/2004

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Posted: 03/22/08 12:32am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great trip and photos. Looks like you made it look easy.
I did the White Rim Trail in June of 1971 in an ancient Land Cruiser. It was very hot. The 'road' looks a little more civilized now. As I remember they had winch anchors at the tops of steep grades, just in case you got caught in wet or snowy weather.
I posted earlier, but the server spit my post into the black hole. Is this Sunday Night?
You guys and Whazoo are setting a new and higher standard for expedition truck campers.
What will be next?
regards, as always, jefe


'01.5 Dodge 2500 4x4, CTD, Qcab, SB, NV5600, 241HD, 4.10's, Dana 70/TruTrac; Dana 80/ TruTrac, Spintec hub conversion, H.D. susp, 315/75R16's on 7.5" and 10" wide steel wheels, Vulcan big line, Warn M15K winch '98 Lance Lite 165s, 8' 6" X-cab, 200w Solar

c.traveler2

Moreno Valley,Ca.

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Posted: 03/22/08 02:26am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Can't wait to get there myself,we're headed there first part of June. Great pictures!


2007 F-250 4x4 /6.0 PSD/ext cab/Lance 815/ 85 watts solar panel



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ROCKRIDGE1

Vancouver, BC

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Joined: 01/02/2008

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Posted: 03/22/08 02:52am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

great photos! enjoyed the story. Up to 1YR waiting list? guess that keeps it civilized and wild

The Mad Norsky

Yankton, South Dakota

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Joined: 04/14/2003

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Posted: 03/22/08 03:52am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Another quality post, with superb pictures and write up.

Well done! Two in a space of a few days, counting Whazoo's excellent post on his trip.

Again, excellent and well done.

Great postings; motivation, entertainment, scenery, action shots all in one.


The Mad Norsky, Doll, Logan and Rocky
2014 Ram 3500 w/ Cummins/Aisin
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silversand

Montreal

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Joined: 09/12/2004

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Posted: 03/22/08 06:58am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

...wow!, tremendous guys!

Nice expe caravan shots!

Kudos for a trip well done...

Cheers,
Silver-


Silver
2004 Chevy Silverado 2500HD 4x4 6.0L Ext/LB Tow Package 4L80E Michelin AT2s| Outfitter Caribou

rhode trip

Rhode Island

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Joined: 03/21/2006

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Posted: 03/22/08 07:28am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great photos and write-up, Don. Thanks for posting. Looks like you guys had fun!


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