Monday, October 02, 2017

Cinder Cone 4WD Trails

After hiking the cinder cone, I drove a few 4wd trails in the area and returned to Kelbaker Road near the Old Mojave Road crossing.  

The trails are not signed, but are in good condition and had recent tire tracks visible.  The first one heading northeast had some creosote brush on the sides.  

Then the trail heading south was brush-free once you reach the lava zone.  That road is in great condition and was an easy drive.

Then came the hard part.  I knew about this already because I had explored the southern end on a previous trip.  The trail crosses a short field of very large boulders as it drops into a sandy wash before continuing the short stretch to Kelbaker Road.

I decided to take the alternate.  Yup, there's an alternate!  It's not easy, but it's a lot easier than the main trail.  The alternate crosses a zone of embedded lava rocks, with some pinch points to hit, and some to avoid.  Then it drops into the sandy wash crossing only a few large boulders.  One of those large boulders is just waiting to scrape your tire sidewall as you try to turn left into the wash.

Once you're in the wash, you need to make two sharp turns.  That's a bit hard in deep sand.  The sand was 12 or more inches deep, stirred up by previous visitors.  My 6000 lb truck just starts to swim in sand that deep and I can't drive any precise line.  I didn't lock the center diff, and at the second turn I ended up power-sliding the rear around the corner.  Cool.

Apparently I was distracted by the boulders and I forgot to turn on my Garmin Nuvi before taking the alternate route.  That's why the GPS track in the GE image above (the red line) ends before I made it back to Kelbaker Road.

There are more trails up there and I plan to return some day.  I want to hike a few more cinder cones in the area.

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