In Colorado, as I write this, it’s 63 degrees out and Sunny in March. That kind of weather automatically triggers happy thoughts of the 4-wheeling season for those of us who enjoy rock crawling in the Centennial State. Of course- when the new season opens up, there’s a few things that are important to keep in mind: Spotters, Lines, and Trail Closures.
The first topic is near and dear to my heart: spotters (having someone stand in front of you on the obstacle who tells you where to put your vehicle). When you go off-road for the first time after a period of dormancy (which winter in Colorado tends to be), you need to be extra careful that you have a good spotter on tough obstacles. This kind of ties into the “always bring a buddy” mantra- you can’t really spot yourself very well! Spotters and drivers need to have a clear line of communication- hand signals, radios, or just good old fashioned yelling through the open window of your vehicle. Trust your spotter- but also do your due diligence to make sure the person is trustworthy to begin with- no drunk spotting, please!
The second topic, Lines, is related to spotters. Basically, trails change over the winter through erosion, rock movement, and fallen trees. A line that worked last season may not work this time around. Don’t just assume that the traditional line over an obstacle will work because it did last season or two seasons ago. Keep your eyes open and look for loose rocks, dug out areas from erosion, or shifting trees. I know from personal experience that trying to choose a line on your own without a spotter can sometimes be difficult- check out this video!
The third topic is Trail Closures. I truly believe that we need to be stewards of our trails in order to make sure that they stay open and are available for us to enjoy for generations to come. To that end, it’s important that we all do our part and respect trail closures, purchase the appropriate state/federal passes for certain areas, and stay on the trail. I always make it a general rule that I will leave the trail in better condition than I found it- picking up trash and debris on the trail, clearing trees, etc. If we all take the responsibility to be respectful of the trail and our beautiful surroundings, it’s my hope that my kids will get to drive their own Jeeps or Toyotas on the trail too.