Charouleau Gap Trail

By Jeep Experts

It was the day after Thanksgiving.  My Jeepin’ buddy from California, Robert Yates, had pulled into Phoenix late the earlier night time and crashed in our spare bed room.  I used to be up at 4:30 AM, making some espresso and catching a bathe earlier than rolling Robert away from bed at 5:00.  Today we have been working the Charouleau Gap, about 18 miles of path that winds it means by the Santa Catalina Mountains, within the Coronado National Forest, close to Tucson, Arizona.  Robert use to dwell in Tucson, earlier than he developed a style for wheelin’.  He had heard about Charouleau Gap and had all the time needed to see it.  When I discovered that Robert was heading again to Arizona throughout the vacation, I made preparations with Hal Loy, President of the Tucson Rough Riders 4×4 membership, to hook up with some membership members that have been going to be working the path.  I used to be put in contact with Phil, who was main the path run.  He made Robert and I really feel proper at house.

The path covers some stunning terrain and presently of the yr, it was good climate.  The solar was shining and by mid-day, I used to be in my t-shirt.  By the time we completed the path at 6:00 PM, I had an extended sleeve shirt on and the heater was working (with the home windows open).  Another characteristic of this path that I not often get to see is the water crossings.  I used to be not counting, however I’d guess that we did someplace between one and two dozen (often the identical creek).  At one level, the water will get as much as the rocker panels on a constructed Jeep, and this impediment is called the “Car Wash”.  There is an possibility round this part and I opted to take it since Lady didn’t want a shower and I didn’t want to check the seals of my driveline parts that a lot.

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This image was taken a few hours from the tip of the path.  We had simply crested the hole and we might see the better Tucson space off to the west.  From this level on, we dumped loads of altitude as we labored our means out of the mountains.

By the time lunch had rolled round, we made it to an impediment that’s merely known as “the step”.  What I discovered right here is that the traditional 4.0 path ranking for Charouleau Gap relies on you working the path from south to north.  We have been working the path from north to south.  This meant that as an alternative of taking place the step, we needed to climb up.  WOW was my first impression after I noticed it.  Everyone crossed over the stream to test it out.  What provides a contact of issue to this impediment, apart from having to climb it, is that after you cross the stream, you’re on the impediment, moist tires and all.  


In this image, my good friend Robert is giving it his finest shot.  Robert’s TJ is setup just like Lady in that he runs a rear locker and a LSD within the entrance.  Both of us shortly found that the LSD was not going to chop the mustard.  In reality, of the 11 autos within the group, solely two made it over with none help.  Phil was the primary to attempt to he made it up after a few makes an attempt.  From there on, all however one would require a tow strap.  Everyone gave it a number of tries and people watching from the facet traces have been fast so as to add their feedback regarding what line they thought was finest.  Like I instructed one other individual, I certain am glad I had gotten to know these drivers so properly as a result of I’d have hate to have been strapped up this rock by an entire stranger.

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About half of the parents had gotten over the step when an XJ with entrance and rear ARBs connected a entrance tire with a bit an excessive amount of fuel pedal happening.  The outcome was a light-weight bang and the outcome as a blown entrance driver facet u-joint.  A few hours later, the repairs have been completed and the group headed out once more.  I all the time watch the path repairs since one can all the time study one thing, even whether it is on the value of another person’s breakage.  During this episode, I found that Harbor Freight sells a pleasant u-joint device for less than $39.95.  I feel this merchandise will get added to Lady’s device field.

Here is a pleasant little CJ-5 that had greater than its share of pucker issue whereas making an attempt to recover from the step.  Had it not been for the rear mounted tire service, this driver and rig would have gone over backwards.  CJ-5s have a shorter wheelbase than do the CJ-7 and Wrangler Jeeps.  Climbing a steep ledge just like the step may cause the shorter Jeep to carry the entrance tires and go over backwards.  It took a number of seconds (sort of like watching in sluggish movement) for the automobile to carry and gently lay over onto the tire service.  Once it was realized that it was steady, everybody scrambled for his or her cameras.  A tow strap was gently hooked up to the entrance bumper and the slack slowly taken up.  The CJ got here again down onto all fours and was pulled up over the step.

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The final 45 minutes of the path run, we ran with our lights on because the solar was setting behind the mountains to the west.   This part of the path was a mix of huge expanses of uncovered bedrock (jogged my memory a bit of little bit of Moab) and mogul-eroded path.  There could be a number of sections that might current a great problem when working these in the other way.  

Overall, the path holds all kinds of challenges.  A 100 yard lengthy rock backyard that lies underneath water makes for some attention-grabbing wheelin’, as do the climbs out of the creek onto mattress rock instantly adopted by boulders….all whereas going up hill.  The starting and ending sections of the path will flex your suspension after which some.  I used to be about 25 yards into the path and located myself with 3′ of air underneath the entrance tire whereas making an attempt to climb as much as the highest of a small ridge.  Take all of this and put it with nice mountain surroundings and you’ve got Charouleau Gap Trail…..a terrific place to spend a day of off-roadin’.

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