In my past few posts I’ve brought up the fact that DH and I have been having weekly off-roading adventures throughout central Arizona. Ever since we’ve gotten weekends off together and purchased our new Jeep Wrangler we’ve been hitting the trails each weekend. Most often we hit one area on Saturday and then another on Sunday. We are off-roading fools.
I’ve been wondering how exactly I should share about our adventures. Let’s face it, I’m not a fantastic story-teller that can weave words so eloquently that you feel like you’re riding along with us. At the same time if I just share facts/directions of our trip it’s not all that fun either. I guess I need to find a mix of somewhere in-between. Just like I didn’t want my site to turn into all vegan restaurant reviews, my plan isn’t to be all about trails. However, this site is about sharing my life and experiences so whatever is happening in my life you get to read about. And as I’ve said in the past, I rely on reviews and feedback from others so maybe someone will stumble upon my site and find some helpful info.
Although we are on our third Jeep Wrangler DH and I are pretty wet behind the ears when it comes to off-roading. You would think it’s pretty basic. You just get in and go, right? Yeah…to a certain extent. But some planning is required. So that’s where I’m going to start….
Where do we off-road?
There’s so much land out here you’d think that’d be pretty easy to figure out. But we have to keep in mind that all land isn’t public nor is it accessible. Not to mention, we need to stay within the abilities of our Jeep….and ourselves. (Our Jeep is stock with no modifications…for now) The first thing we did was hit the internet. There are a ton of sites out there. Some are excellent with providing directions and coordinates. Others, not so good (hence why I think directions/tips should be including in my write ups).
While there are many out there a few we’ve found myself frequenting is Experience AZ and AZOffRoad.net. While DH and I haven’t joined the Virtual Jeep Club yet we’ve found an abundance of insight on their forum. We also purchased the book Arizona Trails Central Region which provides trails with varying difficulties from all over the region. Not only does it give turn-by-turn navigation with mileage and map, but each listing has a little history write up. We will definitely be purchasing the other regional books in the series. The hiking maps I purchased when we moved here have helped a ton too…even though it’s time to invest in a few more.
For now we’re content in sticking with easy trails so we can gain experience. So far we’ve driven up a mountain to a summit and down through a canyon filled with sand and water. We’ve also visited old abandoned mines and ghost towns along with other historical locations. While we love to go out and just drive DH and I prefer to have some sort of mission or goal in mind.
Because of that we’ve taken to rock hounding AKA rock collecting. I’m a firm believer in leave no trace so I must admit I was a bit unsure about taking anything from the land. Quite honestly, I’m still unsure. But DH really enjoys the hunt and I must say that I’ve fallen for it too. We are total novices so there’s a good chance that most of what we collect isn’t anything special or worth anything, but we’re not in it to make money. More than anything it’s about simple enjoyment and the chance to learn about the earth, minerals, elements, and history, while still being considerate of the land. We have yet to find an excellent resource for rock hounding so for now we scour the internet and rely on our Rock Hounding Arizona book. However, it does sound like there are a ton of local mineralogical groups and we only live a couple hours from Quartzsite, home of 9 major gem/mineral swap meets that attract people from all over the world.
Just like hiking, each location is different in itself and most often the terrain changes throughout the trail. You never know what you’ll find. There’s no doubt that Arizona has a little bit of everything to please almost anyone. When it comes to off-roading we’ve only traveled through the central region but we can’t wait to adventure and explore all over the state.
Keep Smiling and Be Grateful =)