18th Annual Parker 4-Wheelers Desert Splash
Everyone has heard of the Grand Canyon, which as we all know was caused by the mighty Colorado River. A few miles down the Colorado from the Big Ditch—and past a few dams along the way—you’ll find Parker, Arizona. (When you think about it, some of the best four wheeling spots in the Western U.S. are along or near the shores of the Colorado River; i.e.: Moab, Glamis, Parker.)
Although the area to the east of Parker is arid, when it does rain it all drains into the Colorado. Over the centuries that rain has caused some fantastic arroyos, canyons, and wide-open washes. The Parker 4 Wheelers, each year in November, take full advantage of all this convoluted countryside with an event called Desert Splash. The Parker 4 Wheelers gather at the San Juan County Park, just upriver from the town of Parker, to offer the four-wheeling public trails galore. (Levels of difficulty range from 2 to 5. The No. 5 trails are buggy trails and the difficulty flows down from there—all the photos were taken on No. 4-rated trails.
You’re going to love the Desert Splash! I guarantee it! That is, if any of the participants’ comments are any indication. From the trails to the event officials, everyone I spoke with had very positive remarks. Club president Harley Kruidhof had plenty of help putting the event on, including club secretary Shane Miller (who also secured most of the $15,000 worth of raffle prizes), and vice president Mike Reeves, plus about 40-45 or so other club members who led trail runs, helped with the raffle, worked the registration desk signing up the 210 participants, and hosted an open-air “drive-in” theater every night with videos of the trails rides and King of the Hammers.
Each year registration (it was $110 this year for the full registration, which included the runs, dinners, T-shirts, and other extras), camping, and run sign-ups open on Thursday at the San Juan County Park, with a billboard full of photos and a rating for each trail. Each participant picks two trails—one for Friday and one for Saturday—at the favored difficulty level. For instance: Level 4 trails require a lift, at least 35-inch tires, lockers, and the possibility of some scrapes and bruises on your vehicle. Level 3 suggests less, and level 5 trails appear to be just for rock buggies, not full-bodied vehicles. So make your plans early for the 19th Desert Splash in November 2014, and check on the event’s progress at http://www.parker4wheelers.net.