Rusty Nail is a short but sweet little trail that really only
has three obstacles, two of whichthem take really good spotting
to get up or down without breaking stuff. The obstacle in the
middle was relatively easy, but as you'll see this one claimed
Grant's rear axle shaft and his welded spider gears. Our trail
leader was Sean Rose in his super spiffy Limited shod with 38"
swampers. You get to the trail by turning off the main highway
into Moab about two miles north of the entrance to Arches (at
the Gemini Bridges Road exit--there is a parking area which is
usually full of cars left by the folks who ride their bike up
to GB or up Gold Bar Rim for the view).
The trailhead cuts off of the lower part of Gold Bar Rim trail
and heads roughly east and north where it ends up connecting to
Golden Spike near the Golden Crack. A shortcut to the Spike? Maybe
in a small group. The whole trail can't be more than a mile or
two. The first obstacle (called "Riff-Raff", presumably
because it keeps the wannabe's off this section of trail) is tough,
probably impossible without two lockers. It involves climbing
a 4 foot undercut ledge on the driver side and a 3 foot high boulder
on the passenger side while making a sharp turn. If you get too
far to the left you can't get up the ledge--too far to the right
and the back end slides around leaving you in a very scary stuck
on top of the boulder. More than one of our group ended up there
and had to carefully back down and take another line. Looking
at pictures of this obstacle from 1999 it has gotten much tougher
as the ledge continues to get more undercut and eroded.
Behind our group was another smaller group including a guy in
a pristine Ramcharger. Damn that thing was big. He scraped a couple
of nice chrome KC lights off his bumper trying to get up the first
obstacle, which gave him a lot of trouble. XJ's are just about
the perfect wheelbase to get up it.
Once up and onto the trail, you hit the second obstacle quickly.
After making a tight turn through some rocks and trying to miss
a pinion pine on the pass. side you climb a steep rock with a
couple of ledges. There are a lot of loose rocks at the bottom
that help to get onto the climb. There is also a much tougher
line to the right which Sean made it up after a few different
tries. Richard tried the line but couldn't quite get it. Funniest
part was this monster Toy truck on 40's who got high centered
and needed a strap from Sean to get up. It was funny because he
had a big decal or something on the back of his tailgate that
read "Jeep recovery vehicle". Gotta love it!. Good thing
there were a dozen Jeeps nearby to help get him up!
On the way up the second hillclimb Grant snapped his rear 35 axle
(finally--everyone says that thing has been in the process of
breaking for years!) and had to pull the whole rear end apart
and replace the busted shaft. As always, very educational watching
and helping a little with the repair!
Our group hanging out above the second
Finally, our group got to the third obstacle which involves
an off-camber drop off a very steep 3 or 4 foot rock into a
narrow little passage where you hug the wall and then drop off
another big rock. This one is called "Mind Fuck" or
"Head Game" (some call it No Left Turn), mainly because
on the driver's side you have a lot of exposure to a 40 or 50
foot drop to the bottom of the wash. On the inside, you have
plenty of opportunity to mess up the who passenger side of the
vehicle. We all made it down with good spotting though. A little
past that the trail disappears as you climb a big slickrock
bowl up to a slot that takes you over to the Golden crack.
No Left Turn, or whatever it's called
Me dropping off the first big rock--lots
of air to the right!
Coming down and into the chute
Aerial view of the chute--rocks
to the left, a cliff to the right, oh my!
Out the bottom, with Erik on my
The downhill view--you can see the
off-camber drop in the upper left corner
A head-on shot
Mil in the chute, right before the
second big drop
Richard coming down
MJ Dan getting intimate with the
Another shot from below
Erik coming off the last tippy ledge
before the climb up to Golden Crack
This is my kind of trail--short, a couple of tough spots, and
great scenery. Ranks right up there in my book with White Knuckle
for the cheap thrill factor! We made our way over to the crack
to play around before heading back down Gold
Bar Rim. You can see old pictures of me and the Hedgehog on
Gold Bar about four years ago here.
The group running Poison Spider was supposed to meet up with us
at the crack but we never saw them. We did hook up with a small
group of Cherokees who ran Gold Bar. Later we heard that Bones
(who was leading the Spider run) broke seriously getting up Double
Whammy and had to leave his truck on the trail and drive up to
Salt Lake for spare parts.