Submitted by John Labbett on Tue, 04/03/2018 - 00:00
Run:OTR Spring Fling at Sand Hollow
March 24-31, 2018
The Labbetts arrived Friday at the Sand Hollow RV Park, four arrived Saturday (Oelliens, Gary Martin, Wohlers and Dwayne Wilson), and the rest of the group got there on Sunday (Freymonds, Sullivan’s, Boltners, Bluncks, Paul Rourman) and Beschs arrived on Monday, after they had been on the JP Dirt ‘N Drive run. Because of conflicting events, we were not able to camp together in the full hook ups West Side RV Park and some of the group were in the Sandpit area. The views were better there but no/few hook ups available. In total we had 11 club rigs at the event – 3 buggies, 7 Jeeps and one Toyota.
For those that haven’t been to Sand Hollow, this is really a sportsman’s mecca. There is a large reservoir on the left, the red dunes due south and a first class golf course on the right. The OHV area is on about 20,000 acres with many trails of all difficulty ratings from dirt trails (mainly connecters to the more difficult trails) all the way up to 9 and 10 out of 10 difficulty rating (buggy only and then some). Looking south from the campsite the area rises gently for at least one mile and at the far south there is a rim with about a 1300 foot vertical drop – it is all very scenic. Typically we drove out to and back from the trails in fine red sand and much of the wheeling was on red slick rock which provides incredible traction with aired down tyres. Plenty of obstacles and challenges on every trail we ran but there were some by-passes and there were a number of optional “extra credit” sections and “playgrounds” – in fact one area had a sign up saying “Playground”! There were many very steep mainly short climbs where the only things you could see were the sky and your bonnet (hood for non-English speakers!), with quite a few that the Jeeps had to be winched up, some frightening downhills where all you could see was your bonnet and about 6 feet of terrain in front of you at the top of the windshield – these to me define the word “steep”! There were also some hair-razing V-notches and some crazy pucker-inducing off-cambers – all of these obstacles needed your full attention to stay on the trail. There was little dust all week, which was a plus. The group ran tails in the 6-8 out of 10 difficulty rating – i.e. all very challenging.
The wind was blowing and it was cold on Sunday. A small group of six vehicles went out and ran the Sliprock Gulch Trail (6 out 10 rating) and most of John’s Trail (7 out of 10 rating). Both these trails were pretty close to camp on the right side of the OHV area. We were ably led by Chad on these two fun trails, both of which had enough challenges for the first run of the week. In the evening there was a group welcome in the Oellien‘s motorhome, as it was still windy and cold outside.
On Monday the wind was blowing and it was cold again. Kim Pollock (ex-OTR President and member who now lives in St. George and is very knowledgeable about the trails in Sand Hollow – his “back yard”) joined the group of now 12 vehicles and led us on Milts Mile trail first and then on to Double Sammy in the afternoon (both 7 out of 10 rating). Both were tough trails with plenty of challenges for the whole group. Chad broke his locker on Milts Mile and had to be towed off the trial and then drive back to camp. In the evening as it was blowing and cold, group appetizers and drinks were in the Labbett’s motorhome.
On Tuesday it was still cold and windy. Kim led the group again, today on the Maze Trail (8 out of 10). This is a very difficult Jeeping trial which also provided some real challenges for the buggies and which runs along the southern rim of Sand Hollow OHV area in the center. We made good progress and did about 85% in good time. Then we got to the really challenging parts of the trail. We went down an extremely steep slope and on attempting the equally steep climb out, Rich’s rear driver side forward lower trailing link bracket broke. This took about two hours to repair with many hands helping (thank goodness Rich carries a welder in his buggy). All the Jeeps had to be winched up this hill. Some Jeeps got up the next two steep climbs but most had to be winched or towed up with a strap – needless to say this took a long time. Interestingly, it took us about 3 hours to do the first 85% of this trail and then another 3 hours to do the last 15%! We got back late but all were pleased to have finished this difficult trail, most without any damage. In my opinion, it would be difficult for a Jeep to find and complete a tougher trail than this one – it is right on the upper limit. In the evening we enjoyed wine tasting in Sullivan’s trailer.
Usually we would take a mid-week break from the trails but as Kim was only available until Thursday, the group decided to continue wheeling so we could enjoy the benefits of his knowledge of the trails. On Wednesday the weather was much better – calm and warmer. Kim led the group on a short but tippy and challenging trail called Fault Line (6 out of 10) at the far west end of the park. After we drove over to the West Rim trail and we helped Kim affix two obstacle signs securely into the rock face. Then we ran the West Rim Trail (4 out of 10 – although it sure seemed more difficult than this rating). There were some nice play areas with optional difficult challenges and we had a lovely lunch sitting right by the rim enjoying the views over the valley 1300 feet below us. Rick’s steering hydraulic line broke – he capped off the lines and did the rest of the trail without hydro-assist. No group evening events planned but an impromptu camp fire was held outside at the Oellien’s RV site.
Thursday was the last day we had Kim leading. We ran a trail along the rim on the east side called Plan B (7 out of 10). It was a great trail which took most of the day. Some really steep climbs and many other challenges with a couple of optional play areas and tests. No breakdowns. In the evening we had a group meal out at the local golf club restaurant, which was very close by the camping area. Good food but the kitchen was over-whelmed by our numbers and it took a long time for all the meals to come. With the food delays it was a little tricky getting back into the RV Park as we had forgotten that they close the gates at 9 PM!
On Friday we played in the sand dunes at the top of Sand Hill mountain and then ran the Double Sammy trail again – Rik was very keen to conquer this one as it was on this trail that he rolled last year. Dwayne did a great job of leading the group – he obviously has a good memory from following Kim earlier in the week. No problems and great trial which we got through quickly and were done by lunchtime. Labbett’s, Paul R. and Jerome departed today and the rest of the group left on Saturday. All got home safely.
In summary, a really great trip with little carnage and no rollovers – we may be forced to come back here next year!