“I took the road less traveled and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost
I have two full days on my trip planned for nothing but remote exploration. That means getting in the Jeep and driving off to one of the hundreds of remote trails in Utah, much like the one pictured above. Leading up to this trip I’ve done so much reading that I feel like I’ve already been there once. And I mean A LOT of reading. Sadly, I’ve studied the Utah area in preparation for this trip more than I probably studied in all of college. Part of this is from pure excitement, but the other part is knowing my limits, wanting to push them, and still stay safe. It’s like a vehicular walkabout, if you will. Maybe I’ll call it a “rideabout”. Hmm, yes, it is now officially a Rideabout™.
One of the best resources I’ve found is a book called
Gray’s Sports Almanac (sorry, with the title of this post, I had to) Back Country Adventure Utah. This book tells me, to the finest detail, what I can expect from nearly every off road trail, where the landmarks are, GPS coordinates, how difficult they are, how remote they are, and even a “scenic rating” so I don’t waste my limited time on a non-scenic trail – as if there is such a thing in Utah. I can see it now: “Oh this trail sucks, it’s only the 3rd most beautiful setting I’ve ever experienced in my life.”
This book also makes me think I need to bring more gas based on the places I want to go. When I filled my reserve cans last weekend, I realized I forgot to account for the expansion room needed as I pass through the higher altitudes. This expansion, by design, is built in to my reserve cans so my 2 gallon cans effectively turned in to 1.7 gallon cans. I probably don’t “need” more gas, but it would give me piece of mind. And who knows, I may come across a stranded explorer that didn’t plan quite as well and I could help them out. Besides, the last thing I want is to become a statistic.
From what I’ve read, these trails are filled with plenty of history as well. You can expect to come across the remains of old wagons (like the one below), settlements, ghost towns, and just about anything else from America’s past as the westward expansion was in full swing. Sure we have historic sites here around Delaware but they’ve been encompassed by modern society. Independence Hall in Philadelphia is a perfect example of that. What a great experience it would be to see an old wagon or settler’s cabin knowing that THIS is exactly how it was built and nothing has touched it for all those years. I would be traveling the same trail that people used as they pushed to build a new life in the western U.S. These artifacts from a time when I, at age 33, would be considered an older man. I’d love to snap a photograph of the Jeep next to an old wagon. What a great contrast of technology image that would be. The original 4×4. I’m sure this was an old Jeep, I can tell by the grill. 🙂