Going Crazy at the Easter Jeep Safari
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To committed four-wheelers, Moab means just one thing: Some of the finest, most scenic, and most difficult redrock trails on the planet. The beginning of the Moab four-wheeling season is the week prior to Easter, when Moab offers to wheelers jaded by winter the Easter Jeep Safari, organized and promoted for 18 of the Safaris 36 years by a local club, the Red Rock Four Wheelers.
Moab is an easy place to miss if youre not specifically headed there to enjoy some of the incredible trails that are woven around the place. Located in the high canyons of eastern Utahbase elevation in the town is 5,011 feet Moab, at about 30 miles south of I-70, is well off the beaten Interstate path. It was first settled as a farming community in 1855 by Mormons who soon abandoned the place, frightened off, according to local historians, by Indians. It was resettled in 1876 and remains tiny, with just 5,000 people living in the town and a total of about 3,000 more in the surrounding county area.
According to city officials, Moabs population easily doubles during Easter Jeep Safari week, and thats both good and bad. With up to 1,800 Jeepers registered for organized runs, and many more who show up to just wing it, Safari week constitutes a tremendous boost to the tiny towns economy. Noted Marian DeLay, executive director of the Moab Area Travel Council, They all need a place to stay, and they all need food and gas. Its an incredible boon to the community; its just very important to us.
Indeed, Moab is packed tight during Safari week. Not only are all the hotels filled to capacity, but so are campgrounds for miles around. Lately theres been extra pressure that comes from a source that isat least to someunwelcome. This years Safari week coincided with spring break. That meant that Moab was swarmed by college students looking to blow off a bit of steam. One of the places where that steam was most in evidence was Potato Salad Hill, a popular obstacle near town. Said one observer, The spring breakers made Potato Salad Hill a mess. One guy brings his Jeep, six friends, and all the beer they can carry. And now theres talk of MTV coverage of spring break at Moabthat would just be too much. As a result, there appears to be at least some enthusiasm around town for holding future Easter Jeep Safaris during some week other than Easter week in an effort to not mix the wheeling crowd with the spring break crowd.
Whenever the Easter Jeep Safari is held, however, with collegiate revelers or without them, what will remain immutable and unchangeable will be the stark, scenic beauty of the place, the clarity of the air, the depth of the colors of the sky and sandstone, and the unforgiving nature of some of the most challenging trails and obstaclesDouble Whammy on Golden Spike, for instance, and all of Pritchett Canyon.
Moabduring Easter Jeep Safari, or any other timeis worth experiencing. It is our hope that the photographs you see here will help to convey just a little of what this incredible week of four-wheeling is about.
Also spotted at Moab was the brand-new Jeep Rubicon crawling down and up the Hot Tubs, Dump Bump, and other 4-plus obstacles. Click here for details on the most-talked-about Jeep in Moab!