Fun Exploring by 4×4 Wherever You Live
Four-wheeling is more than just bouncing around in rocks doing hard core trails. Stacie and I do our share of rocks like the Rubicon Trail and Moab, UT, but we have also found that exploring, or overlanding, or jeep camping, or just 4×4 touring really has some fun side benefits. And yes, we don’t break our rigs nearly as much!
“Four-Exploring” as we call it is taking out your 4×4-equiped rig, even stock, and finding someplace cool to explore, some part of the countryside you’ve not seen before, or visiting a ghost town in the desert. It’s about picture-taking, critter watching, plant identification, cultural heritage learning, and letting your 4×4 take you away from the stress of everyday life.
After the SEMA show this past Fall, we found some new territory to explore down by Needles, CA, right along the Colorado River. We both agree that finding new places to “four-explore” is in our blood and we let our fingers do the walking sometimes (on a map), or just jump at opportunities to see what the USA has to offer. We loved camping and exploring right along the river.
The deserts are full of old mining sites, vintage rusty cans (trash in those days), and even abandoned vehicles and settlers’ property. It’s great to look and take pictures, but generally what you see should be left behind for someone else to see. That is one reason BRC/Sharetrails fights so hard to maintain your access so you (and your relatives who can’t walk very well) can enjoy these treasures of the past.
At one old abandoned mining site not far off the Colorado River, we found a real bonus – what appeared to be an old, hand-dug grave of some unfortunate who probably didn’t die an easy death in those days. The rocks lining his gravesite left little doubt that someone had taken care to “bury him right.” They probably “spoke a few words” over the grave, as we hear said in today’s westerns.
One fun thing to do is just ride desert washes (where trails/roads exist) and enjoy the geology and rock formations that make the southern deserts so unique and interesting. Many times I’ve seen where uplifting, upheaval and other normal volcanic and geologic processes have created unique and beautiful rock patterns that make you put on the brakes and break out the camera.
The main tips for four exploring include:
- Have a good map and/or GPS with a SPOT or other tracker so your friends and family can follow along.
- Plan your trip and let folks know your schedule.
- Take plenty of water (and fuel, of course). If you are not “finding a bush often” you are probably not drinking enough, especially in the desert.
- Have a first aid kit and know how to use it, but most importantly know how to keep the blood in and the victim breathing.
- Make sure your jeep is trail ready, will not break, and does not drip fluids.
The idea, really, as you see is just to get outside and do it. Go jeeping. See some country; even if just for a day. Take a friend. Enjoy a picnic. And help us keep the sport of fun four-exploring alive and well.