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Published: November 12th 2009
After a leisurely morning with time spent setting up this blog, we finally headed out about 11. The plan for the day was to explore the Holcomb Valley area and indeed we did, but not as we expected. It was a day filled with redirection, rerouting, and adapting. Though Overland Navigator is wonderful, there have been changes made since the maps used in the program were put out by the government. “Sensitive” areas blocked off by barbed wire fences have eliminated some roads totally, while others have been allowed to return to the forest or ended with campgrounds.
Our first efforts were rewarded with interesting trail the 3N19, that took us up near a HUGE limestone quarry called “Prospect” on the map. Its northwest of Holcomb Valley. During our wanderings we found an amazing view of the desert below and stopped there for a bite to eat in the jeep due to the violent freezing winds over the pass. We made our way back out to Holcomb Valley rd/3N16 in an effort to get over to Butler Peak, unfortunately no matter what trail we took we eventually came to a gate and a road closed sign. Finally we saw one that said the whole Butler Peak area was closed. Not to worry though because for us the trip is about the journey, not just the destination. Plus we had a BIG Bobcat run across the road that we got to see, though once again our camera skills were not fast enough.
After coming back out to Fawnskin, we decided to head back up into Holcomb Valley via Van Dusen Canyon. It was a nice drive in and very enjoyable. We found another area to take a small break and snacked, though the weather was getting blustery and chilly it was great. Afterward we headed on up to go into Upper Holcomb Valley only to meet a section of trail that I wouldn’t risk Opie on. Big 2 ft boulders with no consistent climb but lots of oil pan bending drive shaft squishing drops. If I had been skid plated up and with another vehicle to pull us off I might have tried it, but since today we could turn around, we did.
On our way back to Holcomb Valley road we paused at Wilbur Grave. There is American flag flying over the grave that caught our attention as drove by. It seems Wilbur was a popular resident who loved the area so much that he said, “Fellas this place is the closest to heaven a man can get, when I die I want to be buried right here.” And so he was. We got back to Holcomb Valley Rd and headed east trying out various side paths all coming to dead ends. The Belleville site was cool, with one remaining cabin. Belle was the first child born in the area and the town that grew up during the local gold boom was named after her. We even attempted to make our way up into Arrastre Flats, but the whole area is closed off now. The day was getting near an end so we chose to check out Jacoby Canyon near the Old Doble mine site. Its near the East end of Holcomb Valley rd just before it drops down the mountain to Baldwin Lake. On the way we passed two trails that were marked as Black and maintained by off-roading clubs. They might be worth a check at a later date.
Jacoby Canon is a narrow trail, marked Blue in difficulty and well worth a drive to it. An interesting trail, wildlife, (we got a deer picture), views up the shear canyon walls and occasionally out into the desert valley below all make for a great run. Its an all downhill trail and though we came to where it ended on the map, there was still trail going, since darkness was coming we found a point to turn around and vowed to return for a full exploration. I didn’t mention it to Kari, but the day had been blustery and as we got lower into the canyon the skies looked like rain. Though it never came I didn’t want to be caught deep in a narrow gorge if it did. The climb back out was lots of fun and Opie performed flawlessly. We tried using the front swaybar disconnect and that seemed to make for a smoother ride. The rest of the drive down to Baldwin Lake was full of spectacular vistas. Dinner at Sonora Cantina was delicious!
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