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Peralta Trail

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Location: Gold Canyon, Arizona

Difficulty Rating: Moderate

Route Type: Out & Back

Length: 5.0 miles round trip

Usage: Moderate

Trailhead Elevation: 2,400 ft.

Elevation Gain: 1,380 ft.

Park Fee: No fee

Trailhead Amenities: parking, restrooms (portable), trail map and information

 

Weather for Gold Canyon, AZ
Today 12/13/2017 12/14/2017 12/15/2017 12/16/2017
It is forcast to be Partly Cloudy at 7:00 PM MST on December 12, 2017
Partly Cloudy
77°/45°
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MST on December 13, 2017
Clear
75°/41°
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MST on December 14, 2017
Clear
73°/43°
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MST on December 15, 2017
Clear
73°/41°
It is forcast to be Partly Cloudy at 7:00 PM MST on December 16, 2017
Partly Cloudy
69°/40°

 

Directions: From Phoenix take US 60 east all the way to Gold Canyon. Turn left on E Peralta Road. Follow E Peralta Road north east. After about a mile it turns into a dirt road. Follow the road for about 7 miles, all the way to the end where you’ll find the trailhead parking lot.
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December 3, 2017 |

Jeep JK Security Tailgate Enclosure by Tuffy

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Jeep JK Security Tailgate Enclosure by TuffyOne of the best aspects of owning a Jeep is the ability to drive topless and doorless. The only downside of topless driving is the fact that anything stored in the “trunk” space behind the rear seat is visible and easily accessible. For the last few years, every time I would take the top down, while using my Jeep for daily driving, I would also remove my tool bag and recovery gear form my Jeep and leave it in the garage. I felt that it is not secure in my trunk and it’s way too valuable to risk having it stolen. I finally decided to look into securing the cargo area while driving topless. I did some research looking for a Jeep JK security tailgate enclosure and it seems like there’s two products available that provide exactly what I was looking for. One of them is the Tuffy Security Products Tailgate Security Enclosure and the other is the Bestop Instatrunk.

Both these tailgate security enclosures are simple but solid designs made out of 16-gauge steel, that create a lockable storage trunk completely protected on all sides. They work in conjunction with the lockable vehicle tailgate to secure the trunk area created. Both these enclosures maintain the use and function of the rear seat in 2-door models. The installation is quick and easy using standard hand tools in both 2 and 4 door Jeep models with an OEM hardtop or soft top. Both these products mount to the floor of the Jeep from the inside of the trunk. The enclosures work in vehicles equipped with or without the subwoofer.
 
There are several options of these enclosures, depending on the year and model of your Jeep:

– Tuffy 297-01 Tailgate Enclosure for 87′-95′ Jeep Wrangler YJ

– Tuffy 296-01 Tailgate Enclosure for 97′-06′ Jeep Wrangler TJ

– Tuffy 286-01 Tailgate Enclosure for 07′-10′ Jeep Wrangler JK 2 door

– Tuffy 310-01 Tailgate Enclosure for 07′-10′ Jeep Wrangler JK 4 door

– Tuffy 282-01 Tailgate Enclosure for 11′-17′ Jeep Wrangler JK 2 door

– Tuffy 299-01 Tailgate Enclosure for 11′-17′ Jeep Wrangler JK 4 door

– Bestop 42700-01 Instatrunk for 87′-95′ Jeep Wrangler YJ

– Bestop 42701-01 Instatrunk for 97′-06′ Jeep Wrangler TJ

– Bestop 42702-01 Instatrunk for 07′-10′ Jeep Wrangler JK 2 door or 4 door (without factory subwoofer)

– Bestop 42637-01 Instatrunk for 07′-10′ Jeep Wrangler JK 2 door or 4 door (with factory subwoofer)

– Bestop 42704-01 Instatrunk for 11′-17′ Jeep Wrangler JK 2 door or 4 door

 

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November 24, 2017 |

MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Tent

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MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2The MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2-Person Tent is a ultralight tent for three season backpacking. The NX stands for NEXT, the next generation of the Hubba series, as it has been redesigned for 2014. The three pounds and seven ounces of the Hubba Hubba NX is the lowest weight yet, as well as offering two different fast and light modes when combined with the optional footprint. Whatever it takes to give your back respite on the trail. The color coded webbing makes for a quick and easy set up so you can clamber inside to enjoy plenty of head and shoulder room due to the symmetrical pole geometry and non-tapered floor. The two large vestibules leave room for your gear and friend’s, with StayDry entry provided by built-in rain gutters on the rain fly. MSR added plenty of venting options to aid in the war against condensation, just roll up the vestibule from the bottom, open the kickstand side vents, or sleep through the night sans-vestibule. The mesh will protect you from pesky bugs. Rise early and pack up camp in a flash with the wide mouth stuff sack, cinching it tight with the attached compression straps.

The MSR Hubba Hubba NX is a great tent for two people. It’s incredibly easy to set up, lightweight, and has two doors so you can come and go at night without disturbing your partner. Nearly freestanding, the pole configuration creates an interior space that has near vertical walls, providing excellent interior space and livability. With a trail weight of three and a half pounds, the Hubba Hubba NX is lightweight enough for backpacking use when shared by two people, but on the heavy if used by one. Still, MSR has done a fine job designing this tent, which should definitely be on your short list if you’re looking to upgrade to a spacious and comfortable lightweight two person tent for backpacking and camping.
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October 29, 2017 |

Jeep JK 3.6L Pentastar Engine Oil Change

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Jeep JK 3.6L Pentastar Engine Oil ChangeChanging the engine oil is a necessary part of routine Jeep maintenance and really, it’s something that anyone can do. In fact, thanks to the design of the 3.6L V6 Pentastar engine in a Wrangler JK, it’s something that’s easier to do than ever before.
The new Pentastar engine does not use a traditional can style oil filter but rather, uses a disposable filter media that is installed into the top of the engine. This makes changing your engine oil super easy and eliminates most of the mess.
This short write-up will explain in detail what is involved in the process of a Jeep JK 3.6L Pentastar engine oil change and just how little you will need to do. The entire project takes about 30 minutes. And after you’ve done this on your own, I can almost guarantee you’ll never take your Jeep back to your dealer or a shop to have it done for you again.

The mileage time frame for an oil change is not an exact science these days. While many still swear by the old 3,000 mile rule, today’s engines and oil blends do allow for a longer duration between changes. In fact, Jeep owner’s manual doesn’t really tell you exactly when to change oil, it just mentions that depending on operating conditions, the “change oil” message may appear as early as 3,500 miles since last reset. It does say however that you should never exceed 8,000 miles or six months between oil changes.
It is my personal opinion that you should switch from conventional oil to synthetic oil as soon as you have a chance. There are many opinions on this topic, but I made a switch after first two oil changes, and ever since the third one started using synthetic oil only. Many cars however come with synthetic oil from factory so there is no need to wait to make a switch.
Ever since I started using synthetic oil I have been putting about 10,000 miles between oil changes and my Jeep runs great, even in the hot Arizona climate. My Jeep is a daily driver but it’s not a road trip vehicle so the oil changes happen once a year or so.

Disclaimer: Like I always mention I am not a professional mechanic, I just try to do as much work on my Jeep as possible. It helps me learn more about my vehicle and save some money that can be spent on parts and upgrades.
I take no responsibility for any injury or breakage which might occur if you decide to follow these steps. You have to decide if you’re comfortable working on your Jeep. If you’re not, please have a professional do the oil change for you.
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September 26, 2017 |

Jeep JK multi-function switch replacement

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Jeep JK multi-function switchA multi-function switch, just as the name suggests, controls several different functions related to the lights of your Jeep. Using this one switch you turn on the headlights, fog lights, control turn signals, dashboard lights and dome lights. Unfortunately there might come a time when you notice that something about your lights doesn’t seem right. There could be a few different reasons for your lights or dash indicators to start acting strange. First thing you should always check is the light bulbs. Unless you have all LED lights, check your headlights and turn signals to make sure that all light bulbs work. You might have a fuse that is damaged and needs replacing. You can inspect the fuses an replace the damaged one.
The most common reason for your lights and turn signals not working properly is the multi-function switch failure. Over time some connections inside the switch might become loose and cause problems. You can inspect the switch lever and check whether it stays firmly in each position or if there is some play.
With loose connections, your dashboard lights, dome lights, fogs, or even headlights might randomly flicker or come on unexpectedly, which can be very dangerous. You might encounter problems with your turn signals as well.
The reason I decided to replace the multifunction switch on my Jeep, was due to the fact that my turn signals started acting strange. While turning right and activating the right turn signal by pulling the lever up, the left turn signal would come on first and flash once, and only after that the right turn signal would come on. It has been going on very randomly for the last couple of weeks and it started to drive me crazy, not to mention it was probably irritating other drivers behind me.
Another problem with the turn signal you might experience is that it doesn’t automatically shut off after you complete the turn. I have not personally have that problem, but I hear it is unfortunately a common issue.

Replacing a Jeep JK multi-function switch is a very easy and quick task. The procedure is the same for all 2007-2017 JK’s. The entire project should take about 30 minutes and you only need few tools. If you prefer to watch a video, here’s the best one I found on this subject.

Disclaimer: Like I always mention I am not a professional mechanic, I just try to do as much work on my Jeep as possible. It helps me learn more about my vehicle and save some money that can be spent on parts and upgrades.
I take no responsibility for any injury or breakage which might occur if you decide to follow these steps. You have to decide if you’re comfortable working on your Jeep. If you’re not, please have a professional do the installation for you.
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September 18, 2017 |

Hieroglyphic Trail

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Location: Gold Canyon, Arizona

Difficulty Rating: Easy / Moderate

Route Type: Out & Back

Length: 2.9 miles round trip

Usage: Moderate

Trailhead Elevation: 2,085 ft.

Elevation Gain: 561 ft.

Park Fee: No fee

Trailhead Amenities: parking, restrooms (portable), trail map and information

 

Weather for Gold Canyon, AZ
Today 12/13/2017 12/14/2017 12/15/2017 12/16/2017
It is forcast to be Partly Cloudy at 7:00 PM MST on December 12, 2017
Partly Cloudy
77°/45°
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MST on December 13, 2017
Clear
75°/41°
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MST on December 14, 2017
Clear
73°/43°
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MST on December 15, 2017
Clear
73°/41°
It is forcast to be Partly Cloudy at 7:00 PM MST on December 16, 2017
Partly Cloudy
69°/40°

 

Directions: From Phoenix take US 60 east all the way to Gold Canyon. Turn left on S Kings Ranch Road, follow S Kings Ranch Road north, turn right on E Baseline Avenue, turn left on S Mohican Road, turn left on E Valley View Drive, follow it north onto S White Tail, turn right on E Cloudview Avenue and follow it east all the way to the end where you’ll find the trailhead parking lot.
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September 12, 2017 |

Diamond Rock Campground

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Location: West of Alpine, Arizona.

Elevation: 7,885 feet

Season: May through October

Access: Dirt road

Fee: $14.00 per camp unit per night

Reservations: No reservations. Sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Usage: Medium

Days Limit: 14 days

Amenities: 12 single unit sites, tent camping, trailer camping, trailers and motorhomes up to 10 foot, no hookups, picnic tables (at each campsite), rock fire rings, water (large water tank near camp host), vault toilets, pets must be restrained or on a leash, concessionaire operated

Information: Alpine Ranger District, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, (928) 339-5000 or www.fs.usda.gov/asnf

 

Weather for Alpine, AZ
Today 12/13/2017 12/14/2017 12/15/2017 12/16/2017
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MST on December 12, 2017
Clear
54°/18°
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MST on December 13, 2017
Clear
55°/21°
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MST on December 14, 2017
Clear
53°/17°
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MST on December 15, 2017
Clear
54°/21°
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MST on December 16, 2017
Clear
56°/20°

 

Directions: From Alpine, drive two miles north on US Highway 191 to Forest Road 249 (Three Forks Rd). Turn west and follow this paved forest road 5 miles to Forest Road 276 (graded dirt road). Turn south and follow Forest Road 276 for six miles to the East Fork developed camping area.
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September 3, 2017 |

Portable Water Storage Containers

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Water Storage ContainersIt might sound like a cliche, but water is life. Whether it’s for an emergency kit or a camping trip, having a supply of clean water is most important in any survival situation. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll need about one gallon of water per day, per person (and per pet!) in the event of an emergency. It is a good idea to always store at least one week worth of clean water in case of a disaster. Water sources can become disrupted or contaminated for prolonged periods and you’ll need water for both consumption, cooking, and hygiene purposes. Proper water storage is fairly simple if you have good water storage containers and know how to store them appropriately.
First of all, you need a water storage container that meets a number of safety requirements and viability tests. A container cannot be too heavy when full, needs to be durable, portable, puncture resistant, leak proof and meet food safety requirements. You also may or may not need it to be stackable, or to have a pouring spout or a spigot.
It is not recommended to use metal containers for long term water storage. The safest containers to hold water in are polyethylene-based plastics, or plastics #1, #2, and #4. These types are food-grade, BPA free, excellent for long-term storage and do not leach harmful chemicals into the water leaving a “plastic” taste.

The size of the water container you select depends on your needs. For short term storage you can use small containers (2-10L or in other words less than 3 gallons) and made out of soft collapsible plastic. If you plan to store more water for a longer period of time, you should pick a larger container made out of the most durable hard plastic material.

When you are deciding on water storage for camping or offroading trips, you need to select a container that is large enough to carry plenty of water (there might not be a clean water source the entire trip in some cases) and is durable enough to withstand the abuse in the backcountry.
Carrying a good water filtration system is also a good idea when you’re out in the wild.

Here are some of the options you have when selecting water containers:

 

Collapsible water containers:

    2L Platy Bottle by Platypus
    6L Water Tank by Platypus
    2.6 Gallon Water Cube by GSI Outdoors
    5 Gallon Fold-A-Carrier by Reliance Products
    5 Gallon Collapsible Water Container by Coghlan’s

Hard plastic water containers:

    5 Gallon 5 Gal. Water Bottle by ORE International
    3.5 Gallon Stackable Water Container by WaterBrick
    7 Gallon Aqua-Tainer by Reliance Products
    5 Gallon Jug with Water Carrier by Coleman
    6 Gallon Desert Patrol by Reliance Products
    5 Gallon Rhino-Pak by Reliance Products
    5 Gallon Water Can by Scepter
    5 Gallon SKILCRAFT Water Can by LC Industries
    5 Gallon Military Water Can by Scepter

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August 26, 2017 |

Choosing your backpacking tent

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Choosing your backpacking tentDetermining which backpacking tent is the best for your adventures can be a difficult decision that is often influenced by your preferences. Where and when will you camp? How will you camp?
The three big items that affect your backpack weight are your pack itself, sleeping bag and your shelter. Investing in a lightweight tent can be one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce total pack weight.

There are many different types of tents out there, and choosing the right one will ensure a better camping experience. A tent, after all, is quite literally your “home away from home”.

Prices of backpacking tents vary, of course, although most high quality backpacking tents will cost between $100 – $500. Usually the more you spend the better the materials used. Materials that provide more strength and weigh less. There are few one person backpacking tents under $100 but around $200 is what you need to expect for high quality tents.
 
Choosing your backpacking tent involves the following key decision points:

Capacity: likely number of sleepers

Seasonality: tent construction relative to expected weather conditions

Weight: ounces carried vs. dollars spent

Livability: comfort and convenience based on design and features

Other considerations include ease of tent setup and tent materials. Also, don’t forget the footprint, often sold separately, that goes under your tent floor to protect it from routine wear or an overlooked rock or pine cone.
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August 24, 2017 |

Hannagan Meadow Campground

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Location: South of Alpine, Arizona.

Elevation: 9,120 feet

Season: May through September

Access: Paved road

Fee: None

Reservations: No reservations. Sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Usage: Medium

Days Limit: 14 days

Amenities: 8 single unit sites, trailers and motorhomes up to 16 foot, no hookups, picnic tables (at each campsite), vault toilets, water (potable water hydrants) – might not be available at all times, pets must be restrained or on a leash, campground host available May thru September, lodge and restaurant at nearby Hannagan Meadow

Information: Alpine Ranger District, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, (928) 339-5000 or www.fs.usda.gov/asnf

 

Weather for Alpine, AZ
Today 12/13/2017 12/14/2017 12/15/2017 12/16/2017
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MST on December 12, 2017
Clear
54°/18°
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MST on December 13, 2017
Clear
55°/21°
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MST on December 14, 2017
Clear
53°/17°
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MST on December 15, 2017
Clear
54°/21°
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MST on December 16, 2017
Clear
56°/20°

 

Directions: From Alpine, travel south on U.S. Route 191 for about 22 miles to Hannagan Meadow. The campground is 0.25 miles south of Hannagan Meadow Lodge on the west side of U.S. 191.
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August 20, 2017 |

Jeep JK cabin air filter replacement

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Jeep JK Cabin Air FilterMany Jeep owners don’t even realize there is such thing as a cabin air filter in their vehicle. After all when you drive topless and doorless, who needs a filter for the cabin. I count myself as one of those jeepers. The topic of a cabin air filter did not even cross my mind for the first year of owning my Jeep. I only thought about it after one extremely dusty Jeep run. Some of you who have done the Backdoor to Crown King trail, Box Canyon in Florence or any trail in Arizona for that matter, might recall that before you get to the fun part of the trail you have to drive down a dirt road for a few miles. With several vehicles in your group that gets crazy dusty.
After coming back from a run like that I spent a couple of hours vacuuming and cleaning the interior of my Jeep and accidentally turned the air blower volume dial to maximum and the air direction dial to panel meaning “in your face” position, without realizing it. After cleaning everything I proceeded to start the Jeep and drive away. It was at that exact moment when a huge cloud of dust came out of the vents full speed and covered both me and the entire interior of the Jeep. Two hours well spent! After catching a breath I thought to myself that there shouldn’t be that much dust in the air system, isn’t there a filter that prevents it? I had to look up where the cabin air filter is located and after a little investigation I discovered that my Jeep did not come with the filters installed. I did some research online and it turns out it is very common to not have the cabin air filters installed from factory in brand new Jeep Wranglers. I guess you learn something every day.
Whether you’re installing a filter for the first time or replacing a dirty one, here’s a step by step instructions for Jeep JK cabin air filter replacement.
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August 10, 2017 |

Jeep JK spare tire bump stop extensions

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Jeep JK spare tire bump stop extensionsOne of the most common upgrades a lot of jeep owners do is a set of new wheels and tires. Once you upgrade your wheels to ones with less backspacing, and you still install your spare tire on your factory tailgate carrier, you’ll notice that your factory rubber bump stops no longer touch your tire and therefore do not protect your tailgate from vibrations caused by the spare tire. This vibration can potentially lead to damage to your tailgate and the hinges.
The solution to this problem is to extend the spare tire bump stops to push against the tire and stop it from vibrating. You might only need an extra 1″ if you’re only getting new wheels and keeping stock tires. Once you upgrade your tires as well, switching to 35’s for example, and still using the factory spare tire mount on the tail gate, you might need to install a wheel spacer or relocation bracket on the carrier to fit the new wheel/tire and clearing the rear bumper. That means that now you might need at least a 2-3″ bump stop extension.
There are two ways you can go about extending your spare tire bump stops. You can purchase aftermarket ones or you can go the DIY way. You have a couple of options for aftermarket bump stops, the most popular are bump stops made by Daystar, and another option is a set by Energy Suspension. The only thing you need to remember is that the Energy Suspension bump stops are 4″ long and the Daystar ones are 4.5″ long.

Going the DIY direction gives you more flexibility in regards to length. I’ve spent way too much time researching this online and from what I can tell, depending on the how much you need to extend the bump stops, you could:

1. install a 1-1/2 in. x 1-1/4 in. flexible PVC coupling over the factory bump stop

2. install a radiator hose over the stock bump stops and cut to length

3. insert a 1-1/4 in. garbage disposal air gap rubber hose, cut to length

4. install a hockey puck under you stock bump stop

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August 6, 2017 |

Jeep JK Front Track Bar Brace

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Synergy Manufacturing front track bar braceIn this post I will attempt to describe a step by step installation of a Synergy Manufacturing Jeep JK front track bar brace. This brace is designed to distribute the increased load the track bar frame side mount encounters on a lifted Jeep or a Jeep with larger size tires. The brace is laser cut and CNC bent from 3/16″ high strength steel. The added track bar bracket thickness prevents the track bar bolt from ovalizing out the stock mount holes, which can lead to vibrations and eventually cause the dreaded death wobble. There are multiple reasons causing the “wobble”, like worn ball joints, loose tie rod ends, worn u-joints, loose adjustment collars on tie rod, drag link or track bar, or worn track bar attachment points on either axle or frame side. Your track bar keeps the axle centered underneath the Jeep when turning and operates under tremendous forces, and the weak stock mounts on both the axle side and the frame side could potentially begin to fail. The holes in the mount might start to become more oval and cause a bit of a play, resulting in shimmies and wobbles. If you use your Jeep as intended and do wheel it, you might encounter a situation where your wheels are blocked by rocks while you try to turn, and your track bar pushes so hard on the mount that it finally brakes it off the frame. It is an extreme scenario, but I have seen it happen. This brace adds strength to the mount and eliminates this weak link in the system.
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July 23, 2017 |

Wind Cave Trail

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Location: Usery Mountain Regional Park

Park Hours: Sun-Thu: 6am – 8pm / Fri-Sat: 6am – 10pm / 365 days a year

Difficulty Rating: Moderate

Route Type: Out & Back

Length: 3.0 miles round trip

Usage: High

Trailhead Elevation: 2,000 ft.

Elevation Gain: 812 ft.

Park Fee: $6.00 per vehicle

Trailhead Amenities: parking, restrooms, vending machines, trail map and information

 

Weather for Mesa, AZ
Today 12/13/2017 12/14/2017 12/15/2017 12/16/2017
It is forcast to be Partly Cloudy at 7:00 PM MST on December 12, 2017
Partly Cloudy
78°/48°
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MST on December 13, 2017
Clear
77°/43°
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MST on December 14, 2017
Clear
75°/45°
It is forcast to be Clear at 7:00 PM MST on December 15, 2017
Clear
75°/44°
It is forcast to be Partly Cloudy at 7:00 PM MST on December 16, 2017
Partly Cloudy
72°/45°

 

Directions: From central Phoenix, take I-10 east to US 60 east. Exit Ellsworth Road, follow Ellsworth Road/Usery Pass Road north to the Usery Mountain Regional Park entrance.
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July 22, 2017 |

Camping, backpacking and hiking

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Camping, backpacking and hikingI decided I’m going to expand the range of topics in the blog beyond offroading. I really enjoy wheeling, the whole offroading culture and people I meet on jeep runs who share the same passion. Sometimes however I feel like driving my Jeep some place away from the crowd, far from the city where there’s no cell signal, get out of my vehicle, and enjoy nature more directly.
I’m talking camping, fishing, kayaking, hiking or backpacking. We are really fortunate to have so many beautiful places in Arizona, with forests, lakes and rivers that are worth visiting and truly enjoying. Enjoying responsibly.
Most places are easily accessible by car, but having an offroad-capable vehicle gives us a chance to discover some hidden gems.

We’re lucky because our vehicles can take us to places where others can’t go. We can venture deep into the back country, follow the trail for as long as we want and then set up camp. We can just relax and enjoy the spot, go on a backpacking trip or a day hike.

I’ve always enjoyed camping, backpacking and hiking. The outdoors in general. I recently decided to update my gear, trying to find a balance between good quality ultralight equipment and the price. I have been acquiring new gear over a period of several months and intend to keep doing it into the future. All this gear needs to be tested in the wild, so any chance I get, I head for the back country or at least the desert away from the city.
I am going to post short articles describing the locations I visit and my experience with the gear I selected.

GEAR
I am going to share my thoughts and opinions on all kinds of camping, backpacking and hiking gear I decided to purchase for myself. Some of the categories of gear will include: shelter, sleep systems, backpacks, cooking systems, water storage, water filtration and more.

CAMPGROUNDS
I will be sharing descriptions of the campgrounds I had a chance to visit. I will include directions to the site, description of the campsite and amenities, and include some photos of the site.

HIKING AND BACKPACKING
I will be describing trails I hiked, including directions to the trail head, description of the trail and photos. You really do not have to go far from the Valley of the Sun to find a great hiking trail.

 

July 21, 2017 |

Do-It-Yourself wooden car ramps

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Do-It-Yourself wooden car rampsA lot of work you might want to do on your Jeep, SUV or truck can be done on the ground level and doesn’t require jacking up the vehicle.
If you’re rotating tires, you need to jack up the axles so the wheels/tires are off the ground.
When you’re working on suspension you need to jack up the frame so that the axles can be lowered.
Sometimes however you might need easier access to the under body with more room to maneuver. When you’re changing oil or working on exhaust or skid plates, you could use ramps to drive on top of, to get more room under your vehicle. Using ramps is easier and quicker that jacking up the entire vehicle and setting up four jack stands.

There are several options available if you decide to purchase car ramps, like the RhinoRamps, Scepter Ramp Set, Magnum Ramp System, Black Widow Service Ramps or a Nicky Nice Solid Steel Ramp Set.
Most of them are made out of plastic, some are steel. Weight limits vary and can be anywhere between 6,000-16,000 lbs. These numbers suggest that those ramps should be fine for Jeeps, trucks or SUV’s, but I have seen way too many photos of broken ramps that collapsed under vehicle weight to trust them myself. There is something about the hollow construction of these ramps that makes me uncomfortable. They seem to also slide when you start driving onto them. And there is the cost – they are not cheap, usually you would have to spend around $100-140 for a set of four. They are however light and easy to store.
After considering all the pros and cons, I decided that I would rather make my own ramps and make them out of material that will definitely support the weight of my vehicle – wood. I could custom build them to fit my tires and the height that I prefer. They are much heavier (about 33 lbs each) and larger than the plastic ramps, but they cost less money. You need to make sure you have a place to store them when they’re not being used.

Building your own set of DIY wooden car ramps is a very easy project. If you have all the materials and tools ready, it should take less than a couple hours to complete all four ramps.
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July 20, 2017 |

2017 Can-Am® Maverick™ X3 MAX X™ rs TURBO R

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Can-Am Maverick X3 MAX

 

BORN LEADER
This is the world’s first factory 72-in wide side-by-side vehicle. With 22-in of suspension travel and advanced FOX Racing components, it stretches the X3 X rs’ abilities far beyond expectations for staggering performance… anywhere.

 

Features may include:

 

  • 72-in width for ultimate performance
  • LANDSCAPE MODE
    If there was a rulebook, we’d be accused of cheating: this is the baddest buggy on earth. Punching out the wheels just a bit more gives a staggering performance improvement, not to mention creates the world’s first factory 72-in wide 4-Up side-by-side vehicle. With 22-in of suspension travel and advanced FOX Racing components and a wheelbase 15% longer than the Polaris RZR XP4, it stretches the Maverick X3 MAX X rs’ abilities far beyond your imagination.

     

  • 154 hp turbocharged and intercooled Rotax® ACE engine
  • THRILLING POWER
    Meet the king of side-by-side engines, the precision-engineered, industry-leading triple-cylinder Rotax ACE engine. Its 154 horsepower at 7,500 RPM and 113 lb-ft of torque at 7,000 RPM give searing speed, no matter the terrain. Tell your friends to look up and hang on.

     

  • Advanced airflow dynamics
  • WIND THAT WORKS
    With an intake and exhaust tuned to maximise power, efficiency, and throttle response, the Can-Am Maverick X3 MAX will never be starved for performance. Three oversized, out-of-the-way intakes feed the engine and the CVT with clean air and keep temperatures low, with a sport exhaust out back to let the Rotax ACE engine roar.
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    June 4, 2017 |

    Win Two Modified 2018 JL Wranglers from ExtremeTerrain

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    ExtremeTerrain GiveawayExtremeTerrain is excited to give away two brand new 2018 JL Wranglers that have been modified from bumper to bumper in typical XT fashion. One lucky winner will be given the keys to two JL Wranglers, one 4-door model and one 2-door model, that can be shared with a friend, a significant other, or both can be held onto by the winning party.

    For months, excitement has been steadily building around the all-new and redesigned 2018 JL Wrangler as more and more details and images have made their way into the press. The latest iteration of the iconic off-roader that can trace its roots back to WWII, the new JL Wrangler is breathing new life into the model line by taking a different approach to the winning recipe. Additional engine options will be offered, including a 3.0L Diesel and 4-Cylinder Turbo, joining the 3.6L Pentastar V6. The aluminum construction of the JL will reduce weight and improve fuel economy, making it even more off-road capable.

    With the Toledo, OH Jeep plant retooling the line for JL production and order banks opening up shortly, the winner of this giveaway will have two of the first 2018 Wranglers to roll off of the assembly line, with both already completely outfitted with a range of modifications. The one JL in the giveaway is going to be a Rubicon Unlimited (4 doors), using the faithful 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine. Sitting on 35 Mickey Thompson Tires and a 2.5 Lift, this JLU will be outfitted with a mix of Deegan38 parts including bumpers, fenders, a grille and much more.

     

    Deegan_Rear_3_4_Wide

     

    Complimenting the Deegan 38 JLU, the winner will also receive a 2018 Rubicon Wrangler (2 doors) that will be packing the all-new VM 3.0L Eco Diesel engine. Matching the ride height and tire setup of the Deegan 38 JLU, this Barricade JL will be outfitted with a mix of exclusive parts that includes armor, bumpers, fenders, a winch and much more.

     

    Barricade_Front_3_4_3

     

    Both of these JL Wranglers will be off-road prepped and trail ready as soon as the winner takes delivery. The giveaway will run from June 1st through November 24th 2017 when the winner will be announced on ExtremeTerrain.com. Until then, contestants may enter up to once per week by going to extremeterrain.com/win.

    June 1, 2017 |

    Jeep JK 3.6L V6 thermostat housing replacement

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    Jeep JK thermostat housing replacementThis post is my attempt to describe the process of replacing a thermostat housing on a 2012 Jeep JK with a 3.6L V6 Pentastar engine. The primary function of a thermostat is to maintain a minimum operating temperature in your car’s engine. When you start your engine cold, antifreeze / coolant mixture is kept within the engine by the thermostat. When the coolant temperature reaches the specified opening point of the thermostat, it opens. Coolant will then flow through the radiator to keep the engine at a temperature close to the rated temperature of the thermostat.
    The reason I needed to replace my thermostat was because one morning while driving to work, the “check engine” light came on. When I got home I plugged in my Flashcalto read the code. It was a p0128 code (an indication of a faulty thermostat or ECT – engine coolant temp sensor). After talking to few people I decided that the first thing I’m going to replace is a thermostat and see if that fixes the problem.
    I got the new thermostat housing and a gallon of coolant at my local dealership ($34.00 and $24.00 respectively).

     

    VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure you get the correct type of coolant for your Jeep if you’re going to be adding it to your system. Read this post before proceeding any further!
    Remember that if you drive a MY(model year) 2012 or older Jeep Wrangler you need a HOAT (Hybrid Organic Additive Technology) coolant, and if you drive a MY 2013 and newer Jeep Wrangler you need an OAT (Organic Additive Technology) coolant. These two types of coolants DO NOT MIX!
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    December 11, 2016 |

    My Jeep recovery gear

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    Jeep recovery kitOffroad vehicle recovery is a very important and very broad topic, that every offroading junkie should be familiar with. Every responsible person should be prepared for situations when their offroading adventure is interrupted by a situation where recovery is necessary. The list of recovery gear is long and includes everything from a shovel to a winch. There are many opinions on what are best brands of recovery gear of course. People also have different opinions when it comes to best recovery techniques and minimum requirements for your recovery gear.
    One thing is sure, high quality gear is going to be expensive. You have to remember that you’re going to be trusting your safety and sometimes your life to your gear, so do not try to buy and use equipment that is untested and cheap knockoff just to save money. Make smart decisions.
    I’m not an expert in this topic and I’ll never claim to be one. I’m just learning by listening to others and slowly gaining more experience. The equipment I’m acquiring for myself might not be what you prefer. I’m only sharing what I believe will work for my vehicle and the type of offroading I do. I own a Jeep JK with some modifications, and wheel in Arizona, so it’s mostly desert. Terrain includes sand, mud and rocks.

    I believe the first thing you need to consider when deciding on recovery gear is the type and weight of your vehicle. Your gear is going to differ depending on whether you drive an ATV, side-by-side, Jeep, or a large pickup truck. You have to know how heavy your toy is. Based on some research, I gathered that an average ATV weighs somewhere between 400-800 lbs. An average side-by-side weighs between 1,200-1,600 lbs. A Jeep JK 2DR comes in at about 4,500 lbs stock, but after few mods it’s closer to 5,000 lbs. Jeep JKU 4DR is closer to 5,700 lbs after few mods. An average pickup truck like a Dodge Ram 1500 or Ford F150 weighs somewhere around 5,200 lbs, but the 2500’s or 250’s can weigh more than 7,500 lbs. You have to build you recovery kit based on your needs. Always remember to buy gear with WLL (Working Load Limit) that meets or exceeds your vehicle’s weight!

    Like I said, I drive a 2-door JK so my Jeep recovery gear is going to match that 5,000-lb weight (2.5 tons). Some of that gear will be identical no matter what vehicle you drive, but that’ll be just a few items.
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    November 27, 2016 |
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