Spring 2023: Escapees Off-Road HOP

We may have a new favorite national park now! In this blog post, an Escapees Off-Roading HOP adventure in Moab was our final spring 2023 destination before returning to Wisconsin. While the event itself was only 4 days, we were in Moab for a total of 14 and were able to get out on many trails. There had been talk for years that trails would be closed by the Bureau of Land Management and since we were there some of these trails are indeed now closed.

Rain showers come and go really quickly in Moab, you always need to be ready for a quick downpour and then sun a few moments later.
Canyon Steak and Waffle in Moab, Utah, has some amazing breakfasts!


HOPing with new Friends

Escapees HOPs – Head Out Program focuses on bringing RVers to unique locations, special events and theme-related activities to create fun-filled and memorable adventures.

A HOP is an organized activity by Escapees around some activity, in this case, it was for off-roading. We enjoyed our time meeting new people, but our Jeep Rubi was not very challenged during the official activities. There is also the Jeep BoF (Birds of a Feather) group that meets separately. We would not recommend the HOP because of its cost, especially learning the organizers were non-compensated volunteers.

We met many new people over the several days of the event, including during this kick-off dinner at a local restaurant.
Following behind the trail leaders to Hurrah Pass. Many of the Escapees Off-Road HOP trails maxed out with terrain like this. All stock Jeeps made it through fine.
Hurrah Pass crests with some amazing views and lots of switchbacks up and down. This is a pretty easy trail, with only a couple of small obstacles but there were some optional lines that were a bit more challenge “because we can!”
There are so many beautiful areas around Moab. The Schafer Switchbacks (NPS) and Potash Road have many different terrain views, including some fear of height-inducing switchbacks.
Escapees Off-Roading HOP base camped out of the “OK RV Park” about 5 miles South of downtown Moab. This park is a “for sure we will return to” RV park.

Canyonlands National Park

We scored an off-roading day pass for the Elephant Loop, in Canyonlands National Park, which is limited to about a dozen rigs per day. It was an amazing trail day along this exclusive trail. We even were able to rescue a family that had gotten themselves into a pickle in the backcountry, they were so lucky to hike out in the blazing sun to catch us as we turned toward the park exit. “Mom” had walked about a mile out to the intersection and waited there, while the family was stuck in the sand and between literally a rock and a hard place. We distracted the kids by letting them pick out some ducks from the bag while we got their rig loose. We finally got to use all of that gear Barb begrudgingly has been “authorizing” over the years!

With that in mind, you need to have communications (like the Garmin In-Reach satellite communicator that we have) and preparations to stay overnight until the next day’s group comes through.) We had made sure to bring plenty of extra water and snacks in case we were stuck there overnight. We did encounter a couple leaving that morning from a planned camp in the park and they said it was amazing, but they ran out of water.

Canyonlands National Park is absolutely beautiful because of all the colors. The day we were there it was dry in the upper 80’s but it was absolutely perfect for this ride.
You have to go up a steep incline out of the trailhead parking lot to get over the rocky edge of the canyon and then you descend down several very tight switchbacks to the canyon floor.

Jeep Badge of Honors

We made a point to stay for two weeks in Moab so we could do more of those Jeep Badge of Honor trails that we wanted to do in 2021 when it was over 100 degrees every day. We were able to check off about a half dozen amazing trails. We even were able to do one of them with some new friends from the HOP event!

On the last day in Moab, we went out with new friends Andrea and Thomas on Steel Bender. The trail tried hard in some places to crinkle some steel, but we made it through without any problems.

Top of the World trail was a spur-of-the-moment decision. The trail itself takes a couple of hours, but it is also out “in the middle of nowhere” to get to the trailhead. Barb had a bad migraine that day and she took some of her “hard drugs” because of it, she credits those to her calm demeanor on the edge of the cliff!

Top of the World overlook is about 2000′ over the canyon floor below. Check off another Jeep Badge of Honor trail!
Driving out to the ledge requires some nerve and a good spotter. We were on the trail alone, but following another group and their spotter helped us out to the edge. Little did we know we were THAT close to the edge! Barb was advised to stay put in the Jeep so she did not pass out and topple off the edge…
Since we were in the area in advance of the event, we had to work on getting our Jeep Badge of Honors that we missed previously. Including Poison Spider Mesa which was lots of fun and it had some optional technical obstacles that were fun. The view over Moab is amazing from the turnaround point on the trail.




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