The trail we ran the first day was Motino Wash which starts easy with a scenic meandering forest road that winds slowly down into the Pinyon and Joshua Tree-studded canyons of Motino Wash. And then there were rocks—big ones, rolling ones, bigger ones, and then more rocks. Although I am accustomed to unrecognizable wash trails like Terminator and Smasher Canyon, I immediately began to question my choice of Jeep for the weekend. I observed trail guides, “P Diddy,” “Taz,” “Super D,” and Jonathan (no nickname?) spot the first few Jeeps over, and I decided that these guys knew what they were doing. Over the course of the event, I learned to place absolute faith in their spotting—that usually takes me months or years of wheeling with someone to develop. Jeep Jamboree organizers do a great job of putting everyone in a positive mood, and laying out expectations for both trail guides and attendees alike which allows everyone to just relax and have a great time.
Even with 33’s and a good line, my little Jeep just did NOT have the clearance in some spots, and then there was also my issue with the rocks that refused to hold still. I thought back to that fateful Jeep assignment discussion in the Barlow’s office where I pish-poshed Big Bear trails. The lesson of which I was reminded by on this trip: stay humble–you don’t know what you don’t know! I was really feeling for our trail guides. I know what it’s like to be running up and down rocks all day, nursing one rig after another over rock after rock. I was attending as a guest, so this was the first run in a long time where my butt was more tired than my feet at the end of the day. These guys were outstanding and kept it super fun for everyone. Always thank your spotters!
Day two’s trail was John Bull. This trail exceeded expectations—surreal boulder hills, gorgeous pine and juniper forests, and seemingly impossible desert views from an elevation of 8100 feet. This was an outstanding trail and I loved every minute of it. Our guides shared local lore and history in great detail, an enriching experience that I really appreciated.
The delights of Big Bear Jeep Jamboree were well worth the trip. The trails were gorgeous, the camaraderie endearing, and the event was well organized, professional, and fun for both newbies and veterans alike. I made friends there that I know will be with me for years to come. I will be back to Jeep Jamboree USA events and Big Bear, next time with a taller Jeep!
Related – Ouachita Jeep Jamboree
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