Crossing The Not So Little Colorado River
Words: Bryon Dorr / Photos & Videos: Exploring Elements & Adventure Driven
This is a tale about a fun, last second, 2 day overland adventure with good friends in Northern Arizona. Nearly the entire adventure was on private land, which requires special permission. While we had an amazing trip that involved a huge variety of off-road obstacles, this little post is all about the 2 crossings of the Little Colorado that we had to do, in order to access the area we explored.
Adventure Driven has done this route many times, both on 2 and 4 wheels, and was confident that there was a solid base to drive on under the high silty water, and that it wouldn’t be too deep for either of our vehicles. They went first and styled the line, but were surprised by just how deep it really was in a few spots. I then lined it up, and drove a nice consistent speed, without any issues.
(“Sexy Lexy” probing the depths of the Little Colorado. I was very happy to watch them go first, before driving my house on wheels through the high water river.)(Most of the trip was spent taking photos, which was a great experience learning and working with another photographer.)(Seth and Kande are some of the most fun and energetic people I know.)(This is the kind of campsite you can get to when you take the road less traveled, or in this case no road at all.)
The path back across the Little Colorado, after our desert camping adventures, was a tough one. The sun was setting on the horizon DIRECTLY across the river, on the heading that we needed to maintain, and there was a stuck truck in the normal exit. Basically, you had to wear sunglasses, put down the visor, enter at the right spot and drive directly into the sun. At the exit, you had to line up at the stuck truck and carry enough speed to make a last second maneuver around the truck, through some muddy holes, on the upstream side of the truck. I did this crossing first, as someone had to just go for it. Luckily it went smooth for both of us, and we then organized to recover the stuck pickup.
(I used my long camera lens to shoot this photo in order to get a better idea of the position of the truck and the line around it, as the sun was directly in our eyes and we really couldn’t make out the situation very well from the other side of the river.)(The EEXP created a bit of a bow wave!)(Thankful this last little maneuver went smoothly, as it would have been a muddy wet time extracting myself with my trusty Maxtrax.)
For this recovery I used the Factor 55 HitchLink, a dynamic recovery strap and two BubbaRope Gator-Jaw soft shackles. I removed the ball hitch from the truck being recovered, and used the hitch pin as my recovery point. I could have done a quick little yank, but wasn’t sure how stuck the truck was and figured I’d try a smooth pull first. The EEXP was in 4Low and 1st gear, while the truck being recovered was just in neutral, as I didn’t know the driver’s experience with recoveries like this, and didn’t think the EEXP would have an issue pulling him out. The native couple in the stuck truck were extremely friendly and thankful for the help. The native man said: “You guys are a gift from somewhere, I’m glad you guys came by.” “I thought we were going to spend the night here with the coyotes.” The couple were worried about coyotes, wild dogs and the cold. It’s important to be prepared whenever you got out on an adventure, especially when venturing off highly trafficked routes.
(After a muddy, silty and wet off-road excursion you really should clean things up and check for any damage. The EEXP had developed a rear pinion seal leak, something I need to attend to quickly.)
I’d like to extend a special thanks to Seth and Kande, of Adventure Driven, for sharing this amazing experience, showing me some of their secret spots and taking these great photos and videos. If you ever want amazing adventure guides in Northern Arizona, need high quality adventure photography and/or just want to hang with awesome people, look no further than the dynamic duo of Adventure Driven. Stay safe out there, and be sure to go prepared. Keep living the life of adventure!