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Organized by Topless for Tatas
Written by Dennis Wood
Length: 19.9 miles
Time: Trail only 3-4 hours
High point: 6,364 feet
Rose Garden Hill, the perfect 2016 Topless for Tata’s trail run in Moab. Just uttering the name elicits emotions of peace and love. As it turns out, a considerable part of the trail is just that: a veritable wonderland of serene vistas, canyon water crossings, and majestic Goblin Valley like spires. Yeah it was cool.
And then we put the Jeeps in 4WD.
The trail's name-sake obstacle has had some rough years. Jeep Jamborees and numerous Jeepers have done battle with Rose Garden hill, and the result is a much more enjoyable trail (depending on who you ask).
With a group of 30 plus Jeeps, plus a group
of 3 or 4 struggling first timers ahead of us, it was going to be an epic task to get everyone through in one piece.
We were actually very impressed with the driving skills of the group. The first timers had a chance to really shake down their Jeep, while some others made the trail look easy.
I took spotting duty on a couple sections of the trail that were pretty nasty, and we had a crack DOT team stacking and restacking rocks. It took us two and a half hours to get it done, but by golly, we did it.
There was only one Jeep fatality. A 4 door JK standard transmission took a bad bounce and destroyed the front axle joint and both shafts (very nice work). He finished off the other front joint about 15 feet later. Sweet, a chance to use the winch!! Using the 'no child left behind' moto, we got him to the top of the hill. At that point we all returned to 2WD for the remaining dirt-road drive out.
As I look back on the event, one thing still causes me consternation. Some ate lunch while waiting to go up Rose Garden, and others ate lunch at the top as they celebrated their accomplishment. But, those hard workers, stacking rocks and providing exceptional guidance as spotters, were denied that opportunity for sustenance.
It's ok, I’m not bitter.