So I had to pick a trail, my rig is semi solid and had conquered Double Sammy and the chute, we had yet to see the western trails, so I picked a trail called Faultline (Rated 6), that intertwined with The West Rim (3), and followed down to The Maze (8) for the finale.
I’d seen videos of Jeeps running what looked similar to the crack on the hill up near Union Gap and figured it would be a good final day. I locked my map and cleared a lot of the other trails from my Gaia GPS so I could easily focus on the 3 trails with fewer distractions.
We set out south and rolled past the park up under the new overpass being constructed and slipped into the western side of the trails, quickly cutting across Lower Dune Rd and I got lost. We were lucky to come across some locals and Irish got some pointers and we were back on track only to come down a hill and find some 20 hills with tracks going every which way.
We finally found the bottom and then had to hunt for a way up and over to the start. Basically running the trail in reverse to get to the start, as the locals said it was the best part. They were right, we climbed up rock faces and down the actual area I’d seen on the videos to the beginning, and turned around and did it all again. It seemed easier the second time, then back up and over across parts of the West Rim.
We got close to the Tollbooths and found some shade for lunch right after crawling over a giant rock the size of a couple tour busses, and started pulling out our lunch gear (coolers, chairs, etc), and I happen to look at my rear Trackbar mount and see a crack 2/3 of the way around…
Well that does it for me, and unfortunately during lunch the others decided they would help me limp out. Mike crawled under and strapped the trackbar with a ratchet strap, and we crept Julia out off the rocks and sand, aired up and headed to camp. Early dinner and then some packing up so we could roll out in the morning early and make a straight shot for home. For more on this trip check out RattleSnake 4x4s Activity pages as there may well be other viewpoints that add to this story.
As a first time visitor to the Sand Hollow areas trail system, in contrast to say Moab, I found it much harder to stay the trail. Even with GPS tracking and maps, the trail markings while on the trail could use a lot of additions. A few of the trails were fairly well marked, but don’t expect to find markings like those found at Moab down here. It’s really unfortunate, because had we not had the Gaia GPS mapping we could have very easily found ourselves on trails beyond our desired challenge levels.
Mandi asked on the way back to camp that last night if I would go back? The answer was yes, only better built and better prepared, and with far more trail research to limit the stress added just trying to stay the trail, not to mention some insane obstacles, that really tested all parts of my Jeep and identified weaknesses.
If you choose to make Sand Hollow your destination, don’t go alone, seek out a local guide or someone who has been before to help you stay on trail, and bring all the experience you can find, as trail fixes work best with more minds!