ATO Trail Team Badlands Trip 18 Nov 2017
Wet and wild newbie run
By John Kendell
Only the brave came out for this run… Deep water, pouring rain, slick rocks and a group of people who will really understand the benefits of the amazing weather to come next year…
During the planning phase all of us knew bad weather was a possibility, but it wasn’t at all what anyone expected. The days leading up to the ride and the bad weather drove us to make some major changes to our planned activities. Thankfully the staff at Badlands off-road park were able to guide us to a large outdoor pavilion nearby that gave us a place for morning meetings and have a dry lunch.
Everyone got lessons in how to set up their rigs and the basics of wheeling with a group. CB channels were established and we broke into two groups and moved into the park.
Upon entering the park the groups broke off and worked on vastly different skills. Some went to the rocks, other experienced the sand and the trails. Both offer challenges and the opportunity to try out different features of the rigs while getting more comfortable as a driver.
One of the best features of this park is driving thru creek beds, but this trip “creek” doesn’t describe the water levels experienced by all; small river wheeling at its best… Our guides checked the depth prior to any of our newbies entering the creek for safety purposes. Even the stock rigs were able to make these crossings. Slow and steady is the way to tackle water and this was demonstrated and practiced multi times throughout the day. The creeks did eventually become unwheelable in the middle of the day due to the monsoon.
Climbing steep rock faces with windows up only added to the experience. Everyone’s eyes grew wide as our guides walked them thru climbing rock faces taller than their rigs. After this challenge was complete we moved on to a tip over challenge showing each driver how stablize their rig on off camber terrain. As you can see this day was very tough on the guides, rain gear was a requirement.
For Lunch we left the park and moved back to the pavilion where Jacob from All-Terrain Outfitters Gave away some swag and gear which will for sure come in handy on the drivers next trail ride. The rain came on full force during lunch turning trails into rivers, rock into rapids, making sure everyone was going to be focused and ready.
If this wasn’t enough a select group of drivers choose to take on these same challenges on a night run. This is a special run for those trail team members who attend one of our newbie rides, few are allowed to venture into the park after dark. Lucky for us the rain followed us in.
As they say the creeks will rise and fall and those on the night ride learned this first hand. DEEP water crossings in fast moving water can be done All the rigs , even the stock ones, made the trek, and then experienced climbing rocks in the dark.
This was an amazing trip with some very motivated Trail Team members. If you can wheel in these conditions you can wheel in just about anything. I personally cannot say enough good things about the drivers we guided around. Thanks to all of you for your trust and willingness to learn this sport we love so much.
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