Trail Review – Kokopelli Trail – Day 1
We had been wresting with the idea of whether to bring Mambo on this epic trip that included over 600 miles of dirt in a 5-day span. The idea of setting up base camp every night after being spoiled by the comfort of Mambo over the past few months had spoiled us. We do have an amazing Overland setup for the Land Cruiser, which is composed of an OzTent RV-5, Exped mats which are incredibly comfortable, and easy to setup gear, but it just doesn’t get easier then pulling up to a site and popping the top. But Mambo has his limitations and travelling with a group meant that we couldn’t risk slowing the group down, or worse, getting stuck or broke down on a difficult trail that was over Mambos head. Turned out that was a good call.
We arrived into Moab, Utah in the early afternoon, stocked up on food and gas and headed up to a great camp site along a beginning portion of the trail. We were the first of the group to arrive and were greeted by a surprise microburst that decided to stall directly above us, providing us with unexpected half formed hail, freezing rain, and strong winds. Once again, we were forced to face the challenges of not travelling in Mambo, where a situation such as this would have been no problem. Park the van, pull out the fridge, crack a cold beverage and wait it out in comfort. Instead, Malissa and I sat and watched the rain pour down through the windshield as our windows slowly fogged over. We both looked at each other crying out “Maaaamboooooo!!!” at the same time. It was priceless.
After 30 minutes or so, the storm died down enough that we decided to attempt to setup the ground tent, of course by now our selected spot of choice had been turned into a mud pit that would make any hog happy. We both cursed the weather gods and finished setting up camp. The rain began to return, wind was picking up again, so we decided that instead of tracking muddy boots into the tent we would return to town for the Meet N’ Greet.
After meeting the rest of the group in town, and chatting with some old friends and vendors, some of which are both, we gathered up the group and decided to run the first portion of the Kokopelli Trail back to our campsite to avoid “skipping” any portion of the trail. We were instantly greeted by some rocky, rutted, and root bound trail that forced us into 4-Lo and confirming our decision to leave Mambo home for this adventure. The trail bounced along at a slow pace, nothing the Land Cruiser couldn’t handle, but enough to put a grin on your face after going without a good trail run for over 60 days.
After 45 minutes or so, we exited the rough trail via an extremely steep, unmarked exit which would have been hair raising in Mambo and turned onto some well groomed gravel road for the remainder of the trip back to our campsite. With the radio on, and the sun dipping below the horizon, we knew we were in for the trip of a lifetime. Great friends, great scenery, and hundreds of miles of dirt ahead of us.
Continue reading – Day 2 Kokopelli Trail