A few weeks back we devised a little plan to take our new two seat RZR Pro R play car out to get some good photos and maybe a little video content. We had been working on some cool mods and add ons for this car and we were excited to get some pictures and share this latest build with everyone.
Predator at Table Mesa
So, on a particularly breezy and cool Monday afternoon, I loaded our RZR up, and along with our photographer and content coordinator Turn Driver Side we headed up I-17 a few miles north of the shop to Table Mesa Rd.
What's Table Mesa?
For those of you who are not familiar with the area, Table Mesa Rd is the access point to the land that lies West of Interstate 17. This is BLM land and is a designated multi use recreational area. The area encompasses nearly 12,000 acres of desert where you will find a diverse network of both motorized and non-motorized trails. There are also staging and camping areas and even a few designated target shooting opportunities. The trails are marked and many of the facilities are maintained by the BLM. This area is open all year at no charge to the users.
Many of the trails and roads through the recreational area have been in existence for decades. These roads were originally used for mining and ranching purposes. In fact, there are a number of active mineral excavation sites that remain active today. Several of these routes lead deep into the Bradshaw Mountain range that lies to the Northwest.
What's the history of the trails at Table Mesa?
In the Early 90’s the sport of motorized rock crawling was rapidly gaining popularity. Highly modified Jeeps and purpose built buggies were seen traversing terrain and climbing obstacles that previously seemed impossible.
The Table Mesa area offered some very unique and challenging terrain for these new age rock crawlers. Soon the area became somewhat of a mecca for the rock crawler. Steep walled solid rock canyons were a perfect setting to challenge the high-tech abilities of these machines. Before long, these technical canyon routes began to take on menacing names like Terminator, Anaconda, and Armageddon. Each trail held its own unique obstacles and challenges.
The ability to even complete some of these trails would depend on the durability of the equipment and a high level of technical driving skill. The trails in the area have been home to many off road club runs and even some jamboree type events. Today, the BLM closely monitors the trails to ensure that responsible land use is being practiced.
One of the coolest things about this entire Table Mesa area is its amazing ability to withstand recreational use. In the late summer one good monsoon storm can effectively hit the reset button for the area. In an instant, raging water from a local thunderstorm can displace boulders and rearrange Sand and rock. When the waters subside, we find a whole new trail just waiting to be challenged.
On this particular afternoon, while on a quest to find a scenic spot to take some great pictures we ventured across the Agua Fria River bed which was babbling nicely due to recent rains and snow runoff. A little further up the road we found ourselves at the trailhead for the well known rock trail named Predator. As I mentioned , most of these rock trails were founded in the early 90’s apparently the founders of several of these trails had a deep love for 90’s adventure movies This particular canyon wash is the home to some of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous flicks. Terminator, Predator, judgement Day…. You get the picture. I think the reason may have come from the phrase muttered after a failed attempt on a seemingly impossible obstacle. “I’LL BE BACK”
Back to our trip to Table Mesa
Anyway, we decided that it was a good idea to point our RZR right up this canyon! What could possibly go wrong? It was late in the day, we were by ourselves, we had no tools, no winch, no spare tire or parts and besides, we were just taking pictures, right? I had not been on this trail for a number of years and at that time I was in a Jeep with 40” tires. Over the years I have been on this trail many times and as I started into the canyon I was pleased to see that it had not changed much at all.
Get some jagged x offroad swag
The big obstacles were still big and all the rocks were still very sharp. I have seen more flat tires on this trail than I would care to remember. The canyon is beautiful and this year it’s even better. With the rain we have had the whole desert is beginning to turn green and lush. We made our way up the trail and our RZR made short work the terrain. I did pass on one optional difficult line(is it possible that I’m getting wiser and not just older?). The thought of calling the shop to arrange an extraction because I messed up the photo shoot was not a good thought. As we neared the end of the canyon I was a little sad that we had not started earlier in the day, because the other trails in the area were calling my name.
I will say this: We should all feel very lucky that we have places like the Table Mesa Recreation area. If we all use our public lands responsibly hopefully these places and opportunities will be around for years to come.
That’s it for this little trip. All I can Say is I’LL BE BACK!