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Moab Easter Jeep Safari Contest - He Won, Then He Wheeled

Posted in Features on August 1, 2006
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Contributors: Dave SmithDeborah Dutton
Photographers: Deborah Dutton

(Editor's note: Last year, we asked you, our readers, to send in essays about a favorite four-wheeling spot that you wanted to share with your fellow readers. As an incentive, we offered an expenses-paid trip to Moab for one lucky winner to join us for Easter Jeep Week 2006. We received dozens of them and we printed a few in the June '06 issue. Our Grand Prize winner, David Smith, along with his girlfriend Deborah Dutton, flew out from Maine to join us for a week of wheeling and sightseeing in the Moab area. What follows are his own observations.)

Moab is a whole lot more than simply a few four-wheel-drive trails. Deb and I spent two days exploring nearby Arches National Park and its awesome views, including the four-wheel-drive trail through the western half of the park that many people don't get to see. We did some hiking to some of the Arches and found them more grand than we ever imagined from having only seen pictures. Nothing can substitute the experience of witnessing the majesty of nature first-hand. The Park certainly has many opportunities for hiking and exploring in addition to four-wheeling.

Deb is really into photography, and she took about 900 pictures of landscapes, desert flora and fauna, petroglyphs, Jeeps, and some great wheels-in-the-air shots on some of the rockclimbs. We saw several desert hares while in the Park, and one froze into the scenery, allowing for a great photo opportunity.

We had the choice to either be challenged at many levels or just relax and enjoy ourselves. We spent a day on the Kane Creek Canyon Trail with the Four Wheeler staff. The views from the upper end of the canyon are just spectacular, with some great wheeling to boot. We met some great people up at the Sunset Grill at the Primedia dinner party, and our accommodations, travel arrangements, and all worked very smoothly.

Some friends of ours from Maine were in Moab with their Jeeps, and we joined them for a day to do the Metal Masher trail. Our rented Wrangler Rubicon emerged unscathed, and I was really impressed with how well it climbed.

Slickrock has a whole lot more traction than the rock in Maine-makes steep climbs easier! The terrain, exposed geology, and views are very different from Maine. Most of our wheeling is below tree-line. We have some great trails in Maine, so Moab wasn't any harder than what we have, but it's different, and challenging in its own right.

Having the option to do stuff on our own or join the Four Wheeler staff all week was great. Nothing too regimented, but always something to do if we wanted it. Neither of us had ever been to Utah before, and this was certainly a trip we will never forget. We couldn't have asked for the weather to have been any better. The days were in the 70s, breezy, and very comfortable. The red rock area has stunning views and fantastic trails and Moab definitely caters to the people who come to enjoy the area.

Thanks again to Four Wheeler for the opportunity to wheel Moab. All the editors and staff were extremely helpful and great to talk with. We had a fantastic time. We'd also like to thank Cliffhanger Jeep Rental in Moab for the Wrangler Rubicon they gave us to use while we were there. And always remember to Tread Lightly!

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