The Monster of Table Mesa
On Saturday May 7th, Koly led the Table Mesa Run. We met at the intersection of Bartlett Dam Road and Cave Creek Road at 8 am. This trail was my second trail run ever, as expected, I made a few “newbie” mistakes.
My husband Rob was able to finally make an appearance since he is usually working hard to help donate to “Mod the LR4 Fund.” I was joined by my 2 children who were very well behaved with the help with electronic entertainment devices (thank goodness for technology).
Matt and Jordie joined us, having newly acquired their new red 2011 LR4. My co-worker Robynn and her husband Steve brought her recently lifted Jeep Liberty.
We started along the Camp Creek trail which was fairly graded and easy to drive. Of course I was all excited to climb some rocks, so I put the car into Mud Ruts immediately with high access level and low gear. The on-board computer kept saying to slow down and I asked Puneet why this was happening over the FRS. I learned that it is not good to try and plow along in low gear on smooth graded roads since this tends to fry the transmission. The first “doh!” of the day.
The scenery was beautiful and the day not too hot. We saw an old abandoned cabin ruin. We passed some campgrounds too. Then, we stopped to go up and down a steep and fun hill.
The lesson I learned was that my LR4 with HD can do this in high gear. Of course, this was not an intentional decision (having forgotten to change my gear setting from the high gear from the graded surface) but I tried to play this off as me trying to outdo Puneet. On the way down the other side of the hill, Puneet helped me get my truck into low gear and I proceeded halfway down until my truck stopped abruptly and I thought I was stuck. A stuck LR4? My husband Rob pointed out that I was in neutral and kindly advised that I use the drive mode. Yikes – these were the second and last mistakes for the day of learning.
On the Camp Creek trail, there was a small stream providing multiple diversions of “shoe” washing. It is so refreshing to see water in the desert.
On our way to the Table Mesa trail, we met up with two men hiking for a couple of hours from their stuck Chevy truck. They were warned by other drivers not to proceed down this moderate trail, but were intent on meeting up with some friends for camping and got stuck. Koly was excited to do some recovery work and raced on ahead with the two men in tow. My friend Robynn and I, cautious mothering types who must watch a lot of scary movies, hung back a little wondering if this was a con and if Koly would end up ditched and the G Monster stolen. Needless to say, Koly survived, found the stuck truck, added a tow strap, and saved the day.
There are some challenging, bumpy, beautiful switchbacks to get out of New River Canyon, studded with sharp looking rocks. It took a lot of concentration to find the line for tire placement. Somehow I could not shake images of absent Diane’s Henry’s torn up Pirellis. Fortunately, my stock Contis held up.
We spotted some wildlife: many lizards, one Gila Monster, and lots of white black widow spider webs resembling old Halloween décor near the I-17 end of the trail.
I was impressed with Koly’s duty to the environment. Since I took so long to catch up, he had lots of time to collect garbage along the way. Near the I-17 area, there are many areas littered with shells and beer cars where people practice target shooting, We found a quarry lined with sharp-appearing shale-like rock not currently being used for target practice and did a quick up-and-down a hill. Everyone played around in the rocks.
We got back to I-17 by 4 pm. I learned so much about my LR4 thanks to Puneet and I will try and not make the same mistakes next time – only new ones. Even I enjoyed a good laugh. My family and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and can’t wait until Greasy Spoon at the end of June. Matt and Robynn and their vehicles are ready for more adventures!
See the rest of the photos