MOAB MON­STERS

EASTER JEEP SA­FARI RE­MAINS OFF-ROAD MECCA

4 Wheel & Off Road - - CONTENTS - Tren­ton McGee BY Chris­tian Hazel AND EDI­TOR@4WOR.COM PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: CHRIS­TIAN HAZEL, TREN­TON MCGEE, AND VERNE SI­MONS

Pil­grim­age to off-road Mecca.

LET’S GET THIS OUT OF THE WAY right out of the gate. In some ways Easter Jeep Sa­fari is not the best time to visit Moab. The town is crowded, the traf­fic in town and on the trails can suck, and the price of ev­ery­thing mys­te­ri­ously sky­rock­ets when all the Jeeps come to town. Yet year af­ter year, tens of thou­sands of off-road­ers de­scend on Moab for the largest trail ride event in the coun­try, and quite pos­si­bly the world. While many would ar­gue that there are bet­ter times to come to Moab, the truth is that the best way to ex­pe­ri­ence Moab is to come to Easter Jeep Sa­fari at least once. It doesn’t mat­ter if you drive some­thing with seven slots in the grille or not. If it has low-range, you are more than wel­come and can have a ball. See­ing the town com­pletely over­run with 4x4s, check­ing out all of the unique off-road creations that are seem­ingly ev­ery­where, and just be­ing at Easter Jeep is some­thing ev­ery red­blooded off-road en­thu­si­ast ought to do at least once. Se­ri­ously.

De­spite Easter com­ing early this year, the event ben­e­fit­ted from sur­pris­ingly good weather all week. Other than some wind, the days were sunny, con­tra­dic­tory to early fore­casts of a fairly wet event. As a re­sult, the turnout was great. Yes, more than a fair share of JKs were rep­re­sented this year, just like the pre­vi­ous five years or so, but we’re see­ing more and more of a trend to­wards older Jeep iron and even non-Jeep plat­forms pop up at EJS. This is some­thing we whole­heart­edly wel­come and en­cour­age.

New and old ve­hi­cles alike gath­ered for dozens of of­fi­cial and un­of­fi­cial trail rides. The groups var­ied from just a few ve­hi­cles to more than 50 in some cases. De­spite the large num­ber of Jeeps in town, we didn’t get caught in much trail traf­fic, and we didn’t hear about many traf­fic snarls ei­ther. This is thanks in part to the Red Rock 4-Wheel­ers, the of­fi­cial club that or­ga­nizes the Easter Jeep Sa­fari. The club has exclusive use per­mits on sev­eral of the pop­u­lar trails on cer­tain days of the week. Though con­tro­ver­sial to some peo­ple, these per­mits keep traf­fic snarls down and en­ables the or­ga­nized Red Rock runs to en­joy the trails with­out get­ting stuck be­hind other groups. The Red Rock sched­ule is pub­lished in a news­pa­per that is widely dis­trib­uted through­out town, so those who want to go out on their own can sim­ply con­sult the pa­per and find out what trails are open on what days. It’s a sys­tem that works out pretty well for every­one.

En­joy our event cov­er­age here, and we think you’ll see why we say ev­ery off-roader should make the pil­grim­age and come ex­pe­ri­ence the Easter Jeep Sa­fari at least once. Check out just a small sam­ple of what we saw through­out the week and make plans to at­tend a fu­ture one. For more in­for­ma­tion, check out four­wheeler.com or visit the Red Rock 4-Wheel­ers web­site at rr4w.com.

A big bonus of the Mashed Pota­toes trail is that it winds its way to the White Wash Sand Dunes. The area is lesser known and not well trav­eled due in part to the dis­tance from Moab (and ev­ery­where else, for that mat­ter). The dunes gave peo­ple a chance to open up the throt­tle and kick up some sand. Sky­jacker’s new JL Wran­gler was im­pres­sive here, with a spank­ing-new sus­pen­sion sys­tem that soaked up the whoops in a way that left some JK own­ers (and oth­ers for that mat­ter) a lit­tle en­vi­ous.

We’re suck­ers for older iron, and Jeep Sa­fari of­fers one of the great­est op­por­tu­ni­ties to check out some oldies, many of which ben­e­fit from mod­ern tech­nol­ogy. An­drew Hoit’s stretched CJ-5 is one ex­am­ple. It still sports leaf springs in the front, but a linked rear com­bined with good shocks at all four cor­ners made this Jeep just right.

We joined Warn, ARB, and Sky­jacker on one of the lesser-known trails and dune ar­eas north­west of town. The trail is called Crys­tal Geyser and isn’t ter­ri­bly hard, but the ter­rain is var­ied with lots of op­tional hard lines. It’s a chance to get away from the hus­tle and bus­tle of the more pop­u­lar trails closer to town.

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