Back to Woodchute Trailhead
I rarely backtrack when I’m onroute to a destination, but weather for the next week makes a 7,100′ elevation desirable, and I’m still waiting for a package in Cottonwood that should show up this week. So why not be comfortable? Once I completed errands in Cottonwood, I headed for the Woodchute Trailhead west of Jerome and arrived with plenty of time to set up camp. As the photo above shows, there’s good reason to go backwards for an hour.
Actually, I set up camp and then moved. A family in a Jeep was in my #1 preferred campsite overlooking a valley, so I moved into the nearby #2 site, which is almost as primo. I couldn’t tell if they were just there for the day or intended to set up a tent, so I got the Grandby happily situated. Just after I finished though, I looked out the window and they had vamoosed! I really didn’t need to move, since the only difference between the two sites is size. But I moved anyway, figuring that hey, I’d be here for the week so why not? It didn’t take long at all, and the Four Wheel can be safely moved with the top up, the only caveat being that the extra two-foot height can interfere with low tree branches that didn’t pose a problem when the roof was down. As a result, there’s some tree detritus occasionally rolling this way or that when the breezes blow, and I may eventually take a gander with the VIRB camera on the telescoping selfie stick when I run out of things to do.
Yesterday and today, I’ve been hearing a flock of wild turkeys gobbling here and there, evening and morning. You can’t see them, but you can hear them! There’s cattle here too, but they’re staying to one side of a fence. The tree cover can make solar a variable thing, but with the ground panels out in a different location, there should be enough to get me by. The only compromise I’ve made is to park in line with the drop-off, which can on windy days present the wind to the side of the camper. I usually face the Intrepid into the prevailing wind. The desire for sun and level ground makes my current spot the easiest way to get both.
Since these campsites are farther up the trail than my last one, I encountered one of those learning moments. On the way over from Cottonwood, I was heading west into a low sun. That revealed two things to me. First, my windshield was coated with dust, and second, the edges of my wiper blades had aged enough to be nearly useless. This non-optimal situation made me resolve to try an alleged trick of running sandpaper or similar along the blade edge, end to end, once I was settled into camp. That’s a good idea to try, but what I should have done was to stop and clean the windshield by hand as soon as I pulled into Woodchute.
As the trail headed into the setting sun, the windshield glare prevented my seeing a hole with a submerged rock at the far side, and a gentle ping sound let me know that something on the Hollywood bike carrier had contacted the ground. Turns out, the handle that adjusts the anti-rattle had bent back enough to prevent full rotation when needed. So one of my upcoming chores will be to take my heavy hammer and see if I can persuade it forward again without also bending the threaded shaft it’s mounted on. This adjuster only comes into play if the rack should need to be dismounted from the front hitch, so it’s unimportant right now but critical if and when the rack must come off – like if the rig ever had to be towed, God forbid. Hopefully, I won’t damage it further by my attempt to fix it. Actually, I’ve already made the threaded rod unhappy by accidentally easing the Intrepid’s 10,000 pounds nose first into a brick wall at 0.001 MPH. So it may not be able to disassemble even once the handle is straightened out. As I see it, there’s a fair chance that I’ll eventually be ordering a couple of parts from Hollywood. Would have been better to clean the windshield, I’m figuring about now. The good news? I just learned something! Do whatever it takes to keep the glass clean when heading into the sun on a rough trail.
In the meantime, I’m goofing around in an awesome 5-star campsite, and the weather for most of this week is forecast to be stellar. Not too shabby, I must say.
Enjoy your new space.
I’ve found that I’m pretty adaptable when it comes to great camping spots, JR.
You definitely have a knack for it.
You’d go nuts here with your Jeep, camping somewhere short of the trailhead and then exploring. I just had more than a half-dozen go past in a group today, heading back down to the bottom. All of them were jacked up and tall-tired, which is handy but not required on most trails here.
I love getting out on dirt roads.