I packed my Jeep & my brother Glenn packed the Expedition, and we headed up to the mountains with his daughters Brooke & Katie. We met with solid walls of traffic, but creative navigation got us up to Snowshoe in about 4 1/2 hours. He’s very good at creative navigation. Brooke decided that the Jeep was too hot in 90 degree weather with the top up and no air conditioning. So did I but someone had to drive it… We got to Horse Gulch and found Ira, and a nice gentleman in a motorhome who was not expecting his usually private campsite to be flooded with other vehicles! He sat up with us at the campfire, but was gone early the next morning. He had a friendly dog and gave the girls some ice cream. Scheduled for a leisurely take off at 10am Saturday morning, most vehicles were on their way by 10:15. I packed my family & some lunch in the Jeep and hit the road. Because I knew the route, I somehow ended up in front. Along with Jason, Dave and Mike, we had Dave & Desiree (and their Australian Shepherd) in the brown scrambler, and Grant & Joe in the brown TJ. We took a very quick break to let people catch up at the V-groove, and then headed into the trail.
It took a while to get everyone through the V - Dave’s heavy Land Cruiser slid down a bit more than expected creating a scratch in the new paint, and the Toyota T100 got a bit of a scrape on the rear quarter panel and lost a bit of trim. Ron in the slightly smaller Toyota pick up made it.
Another group of vehicles moving in the other direction was kind enough to wait and let us all pass (thank you!) and we ran into some of them later at the other end of the trail. Not sure how they managed that… Altogether, the other people on the trail were very patient with us.
After a couple more tricky spots without problems, I jumped out and let Glenn drive and spotted for the others in a couple of places. When we came around the rocks to the Slickrock drop off, I crossed my fingers, I told Glenn to put it in low, feather the brakes & not to try to stop. Brooke opted to watch, so we ran down the bypass and waved Glenn on down. With couple of hand signals, he landed fairly gently at the bottom, and drove on down the trail while I guided a couple of the stock vehicles down. No one had much trouble except those who weren’t geared.
Jason took the steepest possible line, and I think he got a bit of rear tire air. The TJ & Scrambler just walked it although the longer scrambler threatened to scrape. We waited until the next group caught up and then went on down the trail.
This time I walked (jogged more like) - there isn’t much difficult until the creek. We stopped there for lunch and to let the rest catch up. Evidently the rest chose to eat lunch at the bottom of Slickrock ’cause it took about an hour. The girls had a blast in the creek, and were pretty wet by the time the group got there. We loaded up and headed up the stair steps. Having a winch, Dave went up first just in case it was needed.
The stair steps had gained a couple of boulders in the middle of the trail just below the rocky chute at the top. Dave & Jason went over them, I ZigZagged through them while my family opted to watch from the safety of the rocks. The stock vehicles had a bit more trouble, and we started throwing rocks to build up a trail around them. Lockers & low gears were very useful. We got everyone through, although the smoother route to the left became popular and a couple of vehicles had to get a little tug with a towstrap. There are photos out there of us trying the “15 man winch team” to tug one of the Toyotas up. We didn’t make it and recruited a TJ to do the pulling for us.
Talk about a multiple use trail: we got passed by a couple of hikers, several motorcycles, and a lot of bicycles. It was a lovely day for one of the prettiest trails in the area. My brother is hooked - I think he & the girls are going to be doing this again sometime…