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Rim Rocker June 3-4, 2016


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Brandon and I met at The Fort in Morrison and headed down 285 to Montrose. Traffic was light and other than a few 1 lane road sections in construction zones, we made good time. About 60 miles out of Montrose, Brandon radioed that he was getting low on gas. Since I was good on gas and had 5 gallons in my Jerry can, Brandon decided to try some hyper-mileing techniques. But we made it without cracking into my reserve.

My passengers for the weekend:

The start of the trail is just outside out town. We were immediately greeted with an electronic road sign saying that the road ahead was closed due to a mudslide. But we had gone all that way, we weren't going to turn around because of what some sign said: it could be out of date. We pressed on.

We climbed quickly and thankfully it cooled off some. The roads were fast and very dusty.

We were constantly in and out of open cattle ranges:

The smell always got my dog's attention:

I didn't take many pictures as there wasn't really all that much to take pictures of. Most of this trail is dirt but there was a few miles of pavement. We went through the town of Nucla. Brandon was eyeing up some real estate. The town was deserted- but yet still lived in.

It wasn't long before we got to the Dalores River crossing.

I studied the videos of others crossing and the river looked to be about the same- if not down a little.

Since Brandon was leading, he went first:

Then it was my turn:

Then Brandon went again:

At some point we passed the second camp site of the Paradox Trip last spring.

The only other part of the trail I was remotely worried about was a spot that I read was blocked by a rock that had fallen onto the trail and forced vehicles off to a very soft shoulder over the Paradox Valley. When we got there, it had been winched off to the side:

The trail's namesake:

We kept pushing on. I wanted to get closer to the CO/UT boarder before making camp for the night because I knew we would be passing through wooded areas and out of the desert that we were in. And it wasn't long before we passed the first campsite on the Paradox Trail from last spring. Now I remembered the trip last spring and we were moving most of the day. We did do some back tracking but Brandon and I had passed both campsites in a matter of a couple hours.

We eventually found a spot to camp right off the trail not too far from the UT border. Not a single person drove passed while we were there. Very quiet- except for the breaking branch we heard just beyond our light sometime after dark. It was probably a deer but we joked about bears tearing Brandon's face off as he slept out in the open on top of his truck.

The next morning we hit the trail again and it wasn't long until we hit the border. Not all border signs are bid and fancy:

When you hear people refer to this part of the country as "fly over country", this is what they are missing:

I did stop for a couple poser shots:

More fly over country:

We got to Moab around noon but it was about 100 degrees. The thought of camping near this heat wasn't appealing from me. And my passengers agreed. I showed Brandon Onion Creek and what the Top of the World overlook looks like from the bottom: it's still scary. Brandon decided to hang out a little longer but I headed back.

Brandon took about a billion pictures so I'm sure he'll have something to share.


Active Member
trying to figure out what i'm going to do next weekend since i have to be in grand junction for inventory anyways...may have to check it out. is it easy for a gps idiot to find and maneuever on?


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There are a couple turns that if you aren't paying attention, you might keep going down the road you were on. We were on one very established trail and we both missed the faded out trail to the right that was our turn.

Ige, what do you use for GPS?

This would be a good trail in fall, in my opinion. Lots of aspens and it's in the "warmer" part of the state- frankly too warm now for my tastes. A week or so before we went, the section outside of Montrose was blocked by snow. And there was evidence of people struggling in mud that looked reasonably fresh. It was dry as a bone when we did it. Glad I had my snorkel.


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The trail would be doable pretty quickly if you were trying to make good time especially now that its not popular yet. Once it gets popular and people are camping and riding utv's and dirtbikes across the road and kids playing football in the road, you wont be able to cover so much ground so quickly.

There were so many spurs off the roads that it would take some time to explore them all. A lot of logging offshoots, but most of those were closed off. But in the first area, its camping areas non-stop. A few spots with toilets and picnic tables, some pay, some not. But a GPS with the track would be ideal since there were so many turns. They do have the little sign sticks on the side of the road with the Rimrocker on them, but it seemed they only put them in the middle of a straight area, or on a cliff with no turns, not many at intersections or forks where they would be nice.

I cant even find anything about Nutria, CO other than that it is a "populated place" haha

But on the Moab side, there are a decent amount of gates to go through, some closed, some open, seems like through a good amount of private property. Lots of cows and as you come around the south to southwest side of the La Sal mountains, there WILL be pin striping unless you bring a hedge trimmer and do a lot of work.


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The aspens along the first 1/3 of the trail (between Montrose and Nutria)

Fixer upper

With floating furniture

View from our campsite on Friday night

Starry night with campfire lighting

Nice campground view! On the CO/UT border (its maybe 3/4 mile past the lake)



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Another view from Friday camp

Onion Creek... trying to find shade so I didnt melt. Neosupreme seat covers suck in the heat!

More Onion Creek

I then decided to do the Top of the World because we were so close. I debated on going back to Area BFE to drop in for Rock Therapy, but the thought of airing up, driving 45 minutes in the wrong direction for heading home on Sunday was not appealing in the desert heat.

I had a bit of trouble here. I took the left fork which appeared easier, and it was until this last climb. It was nice and rutted, driver front and passenger rear kept losing traction. After trying a few lines (backing down the other sections did not sound appealing since I was alone), I remembered I had a locker. Haha. Easy button initiated and she drove right up.

The top!

I planned on driving so much closer to the edge... Until I was being spotted by people I did not know, and that was far enough. And I must've had the zoom lens on when I gave it to him to take the picture. But oh well.

There was a 2016 Tacoma with a few people in it that were slightly behind me, they hung out and took some pictures and began to head back down. We passed a group of Wranglers (who didn't practice uphill has right of way), then a group of Tacomas that were heading back to Area BFE but that was it. I decided... F yes, the Top of the World to myself, I'm staying here.

Just below the edge there is a camp area that was level, I parked, took a shower and set my chair up on the famous rock. After about an hour two climbers came up and were also going to camp, they ended up camping on the edge while I slept on top of my truck... which is my new go to camp spot!

Going down in the morning provided the undercarriage with more scrapes. It was more difficult self-spotting on the drops. I got hung up on the crossmember and I had to stack some rocks so I did not crush the exhaust crossover. If you arent familiar, Toyota decided that instead of running the exhaust back and connecting it tucked up to the body where there is plenty of space, they would drop the exhaust behind the transfer case cross member, under the transfer case and make it the lowest hanging part in that area.... It'll be fixed sometime.


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And now for the feature presentation.....

My favorite part of the camping and photography



First campground (pretty sure Mars is that bright one, Saturn was also as bright and must've been behind a tree)

Another of the first campground

This was during twilight. I was upset that there would be no moonlight, since i wanted to get the mountains with the stars, but this came out better than expected.

The German climbers who were here for three weeks and had been climbing in Moab ("the best sandstone climbing area in the world", I think there was more to their description) advised me that between 2 and 3 am was a great time to see the Milky Way.

So I went to bed early'ish and set my alarm.

Bed was climbing on top of my truck, where I had my air mattress on top of the roof rack, my sleeping bag on top of that. Thinking ahead, I put the tripod up there, put the camera in my bag so it didnt get wet or cold or sandy.

I woke up before my alarm and was thrilled with all the stars. Popped the camera on the tripod, moved it next to the air mattress and began snapping photos from the sleeping bag... on the roof. Oh yeah.

Without further adieu....

The best ones of the trip.

Are you ready?

I played around with a bunch of settings, but mostly kept it at the lowest Aperture, an iso of either 3200 or 6400 and shutter between 10 and 25 seconds. I really want to get a nice wide angle lens for this stuff, it would be epic to be able to see more of the sky at once (or the milky way in full when it stretches across the sky). I am accepting donations for said lens.

Then up at 4am for the sunrise. I fell back asleep until after the sun was up. And it was getting HOT fast. I made the long (90 minute) trek down the trail and headed back home.



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Mobile boulder moving crew... figured it was them since I remembered that they did the trail a few days before us on their way to Rock Therapy.
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