Flatfender Frenzy 2018

Flattie enthusiasts tackle Moab’s Pickle trail

Traci ClarkPhotographer, Writer

Photographer: Traci Clark

Once again, an informal gathering of flatfender enthusiasts was found at the north end of Moab, Utah, on a bright and sunny Friday morning during Easter Jeep Safari week. Willys of all shapes, sizes, builds, and capabilities converged on a dirt parking lot at the same time. After an hour or so of visiting with friends, old and new, and checking out the old iron, the group casually fired up their flatties and headed north out of town.

A few punishing pavement miles later the group turned off on a dirt track in the high desert red rocks. Brennan Metcalf called a halt to his faithful followers and advised that they air down a bit for the challenges ahead. The official number in his rusty flock totaled 34, with a few funny fenders—Brennan’s term for more modern Jeeps tagging along to provide support and parts runs to town if needed. The trail for the day was The Pickle, a 7-rated trail that challenges some of the best-built funny fenders in Moab. With obstacles named Dill Pickle, The Pickle Slicer, and Jalapeno Pickle, the day was sure to be long and full of adventure.

The Pickle trail is short compared to most of the trails in the Moab area, being only 1.2 miles in length. It should take the normal well-built Jeep and experienced driver roughly an hour to run it. Throw 34 flatties from bone-stock original to highly modified and it becomes a full day of fun, winching, and wrenching. The trail runs through a canyon and there are plenty of shady spots around the obstacles for everyone to hang out and watch all the action. For an extended day The Pickle connects with Hidden Canyon and Bartlett Wash Road trails.

Brennan had a vision a few years ago to bring vintage Jeeps back to Moab in force and to show folks that wheeling isn’t always about that $100,000, 40-inch-tire, built-to-the-hilt modern Jeep. Safari is celebrating its 52nd year after all, and these are the Jeeps that were on the trail in the early years.

This is a run we look forward to during Safari week every year. If you want to join the frenzy, find yourself a flattie, get it running or build it a bit, and cruise around Moab on Friday morning—follow the smell of 90 weight, rich-running carburetors, and burnt oil. You will find the group with the sun rising over the bluff behind them.