Monday, February 20, 2017

Rainy Mountain Top

So I'm packing my bags for the misty mountains where the spirits now go....
-Led Zeppelin-

We met up with our newest overlanding friends for another Jeep trip.  This time we'd camp overnight.  Mike and I picked the area and decided to show everyone Superior.  It has been several years since we've explored the area and the first time we would do so in the Jeep.  This was a favorite spot for us to take the KTM.

And of course they forecasted rain for the whole weekend.

I was bummed about the weather, but it started out just overcast and we all got to play in the water.

We made our way up the Montana Mountain Loop on the north side of highway 60.  It was glorious.

Brett and Liz of @ourovelandlife caught a great shot of Mike and I leading the way.

We climbed the switchbacks.  Slow and steady.

I had camera problems but made the best of the trip with my long lens and iPhone.

The higher we climbed, the quicker we approached the weather.  The fog rolled over the mountain top, obstructing the amazing views the area offers.

We hit the top of the mountain in early afternoon.  Traveling with five rigs (two towing trailers) meant a large campsite.  We found one of two spots large enough for all of us and quickly deployed tents and canopies.  Elly parked herself in the teardrop and didn't leave it till morning.  Rommel spent the evening hanging with us until the water soaked through the mats we had out.

The Foxwings were deployed just in time for the rain.  And it rained and rained.  All night.  We packed ten people under our Foxwing.  Set up two propane fire pits and enjoyed each others company. Beer was consumed, steaks and veggies were enjoyed.  It was a great evening.

We woke to more rain.  In fact, we don't think it ever stopped since the afternoon prior.  While breakfast was cooked, the rain would shift to snow every once in a while.

We contemplated staying an additional night, but the kids tent got soaked through from condensation.  So we packed up in the rain and headed out into the fog.

Look closely - there are Jeeps/FJ in the fog

It quickly became apparent we would be chasing water down the mountain.  The desert is AMAZING in the rain.

We saw many waterfalls on our way down, but this one warranted a stop.  Several of us braved the rain to hike out to it.

A post shared by Amanda (@the_adventure_wife) on

The rain slowly faded, but the fog remained.

We parted ways at the highway - Brett, Liz, Jeremy and Dave went to Box Canyon while Pete, Mandy, Mike and I headed west for lunch.  

It was a quick one nighter, but it was full of memories that will stick.  It's funny how adventures on sunny days easily fade from memory, but the adventures full of poor weather and wet roads stick with you.  

Sunday, January 22, 2017

RockMonster Run

Mike and I have been talking about hitting RockMonster for a while now.  We both used to frequent the Sonoran Desert National Monument daily for work.  It's been several years and we yearned for an adventure in our backyard.

I hit up our new JeepFriends and had a few takers for today's adventure, including our AdventureFriends in their FJ.  So there we were, a big white PowerWagon leading a line of Jeeps and a FJ.  It looked like pop was out taking the kids for a stroll.

This time, I drove my Jeep too, so there are less photos.

We peaked RockMonster (no that is not it's name, but one we gave it), and were disappointed.  I think they've done maintenance since the last time we were out here and it made the jaunt up to the peak kinda bland.  But we did have amazing views for lunch!

The weather was incredible, the company killer and the trail a blast.  We popped out at Big Horn and made our way back east.  A quick pit stop to air up and we parted ways.

It's so awesome to have connected with a group of people who love to explore and get out as much as we do.

Link for video in case embedding fails.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year, New Friends, New Trails

2017 started out with me stepping way out of my comfort zone and making new friends.  A few months back I started following a couple who was renovating an Airstream and posting their progress on Instagram.  Around Christmas they posted a picture of one of their Jeeps on a soggy trail on their way to find snow.  I commented, asking them to let me know where the snow was as Mike and I had already planned on Jeeping New Years day.  Little did I know that that post was an accident - it was meant for their other Instagram account I wasn't currently following.  Regardless, Brett reached out and said that they were planning on wheeling New Years day and invited us along.

The rest is history.

We left home at 7:00 AM and made our way to their campsite near Lake Pleasant.  It was raining and would remain cloudy and rainy all day.  No one cared.  About 13 rigs met up and took off just before 10AM.  The plan?  Crown King only on dirt.  Well, the Mill Restaurant, because stomachs always win during planning.

Off we went!

Until we hit a raging wash.

It wasn't worth the risk.  The power of water is unmatched and we turned back.
This shot was inspired by Liz.  I spotted her using this small puddle for creative shots and totally stole her inspiration.

The sun peeked out for a few minutes giving me adequate light for some pictures.  And Heather picked up on my unique was of taking pics on the fly: I sit on the window sill, hanging onto the roll bar with one hand and using my abs to keep me steady.  She called me a National Geographic Photographer.  Ha!  I wish!

The next plan?  Tiny bit of slab and off road at BumbleBee.  We lost a few folks to other plans and the herd started to thin out.

Elly and Rommel got a bit of rest on our way up north.

It pretty must misted on us all day.  But the farther north we went, the thicker the fog.  Climbing up towards Crown King, we lost a lot of the good landscapes.  A bit of a bummer for sure, but it made for some interesting overlanding.

We crested the mountain and started to see snow.

We stopped into the Mill Restaurant and had a killer meal among our new friends.  Kindred spirits, all of us.  Sharing stories of camping and wheeling and, of course, dogs.
A video posted by Amanda (@the_adventure_wife) on

From Crown King, we started our way towards Prescott.  I honestly couldn't tell you our route, as we were at the tail end of the group and just enjoying the trek.

The snow got deeper the higher we went and it was amazing!  A snow play break was in order.  The gaggle of dogs (and kids) had a blast.

The pittie and black dog were found by Brett and Liz the day prior. No tags and no owners in sight.  And they were amazing pups.  They spent the weekend with the crew, getting loved on and thanks to a spotted flyer were reunited with their people on Monday.

Heather made a sweet little snow man

Onwards up the trail!

We got out of the snow and right back into the fog.

Pit stop:

And then back into the snow! It got deep.  It got cold.  It got interesting.

Finally we popped out into Prescott and stopped in town for some libations.  It was a great way to end a fantastic day.

I think we started 2017 off on the right foot.  We made several new friends.  We had an amazing time beating on the Jeep and playing in the snow.  We hope to have more fun overloading trips with the gang, and will surely head back towards Crown King to explore more.

Check out my SmugMug for the full album of the days adventures!