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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2024 9:12 am 
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Camped at the 2nd willows crossing last nite cause the gate is already closed and locked. Thought they closed it JUNE 1st!
Have they changed it?

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Still a good way to start the day. Alone, not a soul around. Coffee off the tailgate next to a stream in the middle of the f’ing desert!


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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2024 2:31 pm 
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^^^ Always nice! They have not changed the annual seasonal closure dates, but they closed it to vehicle travel and overnight camping past that point a couple of months ago after all those rains. The creek flooded and rerouted itself into the 4WD road, and the Park doesn’t like the idea of having to assist or rescue people up there. I think you can still come in from the Anza end as far as Middle Willows, at least until the seasonal closure.

https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=30308

https://theabf.org/coyotecanyon/

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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2024 5:34 pm 
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ODD,

Can confirm. Stopped by the park headquarters at the Ocotillo off-road park and the rangers confirmed the closure reason. They told me the people in charge of these kinds of things were considering whether to reroute the jeep trail or divert the stream back into its old course. Tricky due to the reparian issues and money and manpower for a reroute. Sounds like it’s being discussed at more than the local level.


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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2024 8:12 pm 
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The following is for off-roaders/overlanders. If not interested, skip it.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

As a professional nature and wildlife photog (yes, I have sold exactly 2 prints), I occasionally need to travel to where my subjects live, so need to wring out my off-road setups. I’ll add more pics when I get a chance to download/edit from my main camera…

EQUIPMENT:
Bone stock 2023 4runner TRD off-road; replaced my lifted 2008 4runner limited due to reliability concerns after almost 250k miles. Both 4WD.

THE TECH BITS WHICH MADE A (HUGE) DIFFERENCE:
rear locking diff, ATRAC vs center diff lock on the 2008. ATRAC basically brakes individual wheels that may be up in the air so power is supplied to the grounded tire.

WEAK SAUCE:
stock tires, driver (Tires were sketch on loose sandy climbs but surprisingly effective up a rocky, gouged route the stupid-ass driver chose. Driver was sketch most of the time)

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Aired down ready for the washboards. I originally poo-pooed this info graphic along with the one showing where my front tires are pointed until I needed them. Handy to know if one of your tires starts to leak or worse.

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Angelina Spring

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Someone didn’t read the sign. Also as a shooter and fisherman, it bugs. Pick up yer shit. Your Mom’s not out here!

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Systems test, Little Blair Valley.

THE REAL DEAL:

S2 below Box Canyon to Banner via Oriflamme Canyon and Chariot Canyon.

Trail from S2 to the split from Rodriguez Canyon is freshly dozed, so was a piece of cake in 2WD. It is a little soft for mt biking right now IMO. Driver side note: I spend as much time in 2WD as is reasonable just to save wear on the front knuckles (remember that 250k goal!)

Passed a backhoe at the junction.

Left onto Oriflamme. Got a little rougher and rockier for a bit then came across where a second backhoe is working down from the campsite. Good water and shade at the campsite which is where I passed the second backhoe. Needed lockers and ATRAC to get back to the main trail from the campsite due to a major rut. First of several 2-wheel teeter-totters. Had tried some of the crawl features available on this rig but so far am not impressed so stuck with the lockers and ATRAC. Ask me again after a snow/ice test…

The next hour/90 minutes are a bit of a blur. The route becomes a shelf trail (basically cliff on both sides, one up, one down, a long way!)

It’s obviously a well used jeep route, as there are plenty of tire tracks and signs of rock placement in some of the more tech spots. I must have got out to scout routes and spot tire placement in a dozen places. Multiple 2 wheel situations. Pucker factor was mostly just large, not extreme as the trail was not extremely narrow, or sloped out and the outside rim was firm (and I was traveling up hill). Two notable exceptions. After the first exception I had to get out and sit on the ground to calm down because I could see the next exception!

Obviously made it thru the 2nd exception, since I can post about my stupidity this trail report.

Got to the top and had cell reception so I could report location and proof of life to my guardian trail angel (and kiss the sweet level earth!)

Soon after, I descended to a junction with the PCT and came upon 4 very surprised thru hikers resting in the shade.

Told them God had sent me with food and water for them. So I put up a makeshift bodega in the back of the runner with all my food and water to let them pick and choose. It was a fun interlude and they were very thankful!

Without food and water, my plan to return to the desert floor for another night was axed. Now it was heading for the barn, but I still had to get down to Banner.

The trail down was anticlimactic after Oriflamme but still needed care and attention to avoid damage on the descents. Also care was needed at intersecting trails to choose the more well-traveled route as signage is nonexistent.

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Post shower refreshment. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a beer more.

Hero of the trip:
2023 4runner/camper has a lot more head room than its predecessor.
LOCKERS and ATRAC combo make this thing a billy goat!

Losers:
Gas tank skid plate (and I may need some black rustoleum for a couple touch ups on suspension mounts.)


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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2024 6:31 pm 
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Nice TR! And congrats on becoming a PCT trail angel. That is a good drive, and in the downhill direction is a really fun MTB shuttle. I know some people ride it as a loop, but f*ck that, I like to be picked up at the bottom with a vehicle bearing ice cold beer and sandwiches.

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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2024 8:28 pm 
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I started baby off-roading last year (Black and Otay Mtn Truck Trails, etc). Came across Matt’s Off-Road Recovery (MORR) on Youtube; have probably spent way too much time watching their vids. Anywho, here’s Matt mtbing and crushing it.


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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2024 9:13 pm 
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Picked up a tiny hitchhiker on Grapevine Canyon Rd. I'm a sucker for jumping spiders.
Reminds me of Urban Yeti; doe-eyed and fuzzy :D

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Couple of eye-catching cacti on Old Borrego Vly Rd.

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Coyote Creek Trail that's now the creek. I'm also a sucker for water in the desert.

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Desert Iguana, Big Wash trail. These things are everywhere and they are FAST!

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