Nearly 100 rigs registered in support of the 2nd Annual fundraising event hosted by Wheelers for the Wounded of Colorado. There were so many off-road vehicles, in fact, that the entire Colorado Springs 5.11 Tactical store parking lot was filled to capacity with spillover into nearby business lots! This 2nd Annual trail event took place on Saturday, November 11, and started with a meet ‘n greet at 5.11 Tactical, registration, National Anthem and trail instructions, and proceeded into an epic day of wheeling among four different trails in the Colorado Springs area. Rounding out the event was a fun-filled evening of relaxation and dinner, plus a host of excellent prizes which were given away and/or auctioned off to benefit Veterans. All in all it was a fantastic time in support of a great cause!
About Wheelers for the Wounded of Colorado
Their primary mission is to utilize the off-roading community to reach out and build lasting relationships, provide support and to give back to the men and women that have served our great country and who have sacrificed for our great nation. WFTW of CO accomplishes this by taking wounded veterans from any and all military conflicts on off-roading and camping adventures in the great state of Colorado. While doing this for our heroes they also hope to raise awareness to the issues that have fallen on these great men and women. (Source: Wheelers for the Wounded of Colorado on the web)
Eagle Rock Trail Run
My trail of choice for the day was Eagle Rock (Teller County, Colorado), which consisted of steady rock crawling over mild to moderate terrain to a top elevation of 11,309 feet. For me this was the perfect end to my 2017 wheeling season, which hadn’t contained much challenge really, as Eagle Rock definitely required me to be on my game.
Initially I was so excited to be at this event and see all the sweet rigs gathered in one place that I forgot to fill up on gas after the drive down from Fort Collins. Silly SILLY me! I realized this as we were backtracking on the way to the trailhead (the GPS app our group was using sent us on a long, roundabout, and incorrect route). As we all pulled over to let everyone catch up in our caravan to the trailhead, I saw that I was at a quarter tank of gas and I knew I’d never make it the whole way. Well, lucky LUCKY me I always carry 10 gallons extra gas in front of my spare tire and the siphon hose I’ve got has a shaker valve on the end so no one had to volunteer for a mouthful of gas! (A shaker valve works by placing it into the spare gas tank, and jiggling it up and down until the gas starts flowing out the other end and into your regular gas tank – genius really). After the whole 10 gallons were in I had just over ¾ tank of gas and I was feeling much better and ready to roll!
Our trail boss was kind enough to let another Jeep who’d run Eagle Rock before take the lead while he brought up the end to ensure no one got left behind en route to the trail. We stopped to air down and disconnect sway bars before continuing on a very washboard-y gravel road to the trailhead.
At the trailhead we had a quick drivers meeting...
Once on the trail I immediately knew I was in for a good time as the mild rock crawling started right away! Some spots on the trail felt pretty tippy, at least from the driver's seat! And, there were great photo opps everywhere!
Some rocks were almost too much for my Jeep to handle, although every time I wheel I continue to be so impressed with what my rig can do! This photo has me perched on a boulder upon which I high-centered when trying to crawl over.
Thanks to several of the guys piling rocks under my back driver's tire (thank you, all!!!) I was able to finally back up and take a route closer to the tree. This crushed my passenger front fender flare a bit but, hey, that’s a non-essential part, right? Plus it bounced right back after I was through that tight squeeze (good thing they're just cut stock flares instead of the solid aftermarket parts). Many thanks to the bearded gent in the Punisher shirt who calmly spotted me through that tough spot - I wouldn't've managed without your help!
And I felt a little better when I wasn’t the only one who had a little trouble getting over that rock…
There were a few other spots on the trail where I was wishing I had an extra two inches under my rig (37s in my future perhaps???). But my rock sliders and skid plate did their jobs and all turned out ok! My husband was my videographer but also my spotter for much of the run, so there was lots of footage of the trees and the ground but not much of me! I did manage to capture some cool shots of the guy behind me who wheeled through all those tough places like a pro.
At the end of Eagle Rock trail we stopped for a group photo opp.
Then we headed back down on Mount Baldy trail, which consisted of a few rocky patches but mostly easy terrain. It was dark by the time we pulled into the after-party and settled down for some much needed sustenance and a chance to win some great prizes!
Post Trail Care
I’ve written before about the importance of post-trail care, and I knew there would be scratches galore under my rig but I didn’t know how much. Yup, I did it up good this time! Scratches like these were evident on both sliders, skid plate, front and rear differentials and pretty much everything else at that level in the underbelly of my Jeep.
Well, I’m not about abusing my rig but she's not a pavement princess so I do use the heck out of her when I can. But I also believe in a little TLC after she gets me through a good run. So I washed her up and cleaned all the scratches with rubbing alcohol, then applied liberal coats of Rustoleum Bedliner spray so they don't start to rust. The good news was that scratches were all the damage done - everything was still intact and nothing was leaking.
So, that was another Colorado trail checked off my list, and I’m already looking forward to the 3rd Annual Wheelers for the Wounded of Colorado Veteran’s Day event! If you’re interested in supporting their cause visit their Facebook page and follow them for updates on 2018 events.
Thanks for reading today, and Happy Trails!!
by Dawn Gallegos
Dawn Gallegos is the founding editor of the Chicks On The Rocks blog. When she's not working to fund her Jeep habit she's thinking up new ways to inspire others to explore the great outdoors.
See more of Dawn's posts.