With more than a few successful events under its belt, the California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs (CA4WDC) certainly knows how to host an adventure-filled 'wheeling weekend. Having attended or participated in a number of the organization's events through the years, we've grown to expect nothing but tough trails and good times, and the 33rd Annual Hi Desert Round-Up provided a good deal of both.
Held during Memorial Day weekend, the Hi Desert Round-Up is part of a series of association fund-raising events, which include the Sierra Trek, Paniment Valley Days, Operation Desert Fun, Winter Fun Festival, and Molina Ghost Run. As with each of the events, the Hi Desert Round-Up is a volunteer effort, drawing assistance from many of the member clubs from throughout California. In addition to leading trail runs, clubs and individuals organize to assist with setup and breakdown of the event grounds, host a raffle, and hold club competitions, 4x4 games, and kids games to keep all attendees entertained no matter the time of day.
The Hi Desert Round-up took place at the Stoddard Valley OHV area just outside of Barstow, California. The area possesses innumerous hills and valleys, with tight trails snaking through the majority of the dry sand washes and canyons. With names such as Pumpkin Eater, Achy Breaky, Devils Loop, and Empire Strikes Back, the trails offer plenty of raucous rockcrawling opportunities, though most of the more extreme obstacles feature bypasses for those leery of body damage.
Our day in the desert started with hotcakes and sausage at the Ruff Rock Run Cafe, which was set up in the staging area to feed the masses. We then set out on Pumpkin Eater for some of the best 'wheeling opportunities in the area. The wind had dropped off considerably from the evening before, leaving just enough behind to offer a perfect day of 'wheeling under the sun without an excessive degree of heat.