It was a weekend in early January when we tagged along a four-wheel trip with the On The Rocks Four Wheelers. We escaped the downpour in the Los Angeles area and met up at the trail entrance to the Lower Duran near Calico ghost town. Since the weather had been bad for several days a lot of people had bailed out but nonetheless 21 vehicles showed up. We decided to split into two groups. One of them would go up Odessa trail while we would attack the Lower Duran.
The recent rainfalls had washed out the first and toughest obstacle, the Lower Duran, and made it even more challenging. This short gorge was a paved road a long time ago. However, now it is an intimitating uphill section of the trail consisting of huge bolders. The dirt between those bolders had been flushed out over the years which created deep crevices. This did not deter us and so Richard, our trail boss, took the first shot.

Of about ten vehicles which attempted the obstacle only three made it through without the help of a winch. One tire rolled off the bead, and one fear lead broke while winching, but no major damages were reported. A Wrangler had to give up because of a bent tie rod. I made it through half the obstacle when my rear locker wouldn't engage due to an air leak. Some quick fixes in the middle of the obstacle were not successful and I had to winch myself out like most of the others. I still got pretty far considering the handicap.
After this challenge was tackled, the rest of the group left for the Odessa trail and we all would meet at the mines for lunch.
Our group continued through the scenic canyon with walls in red, green, brown, turquoise and yellow - nature's paintbrush at work. A handful of other obstacles presented themselves along the trail, but none proved to be a major challenge. We snaked up to the lunch spot where the wind blew harder due to the exposed location. The Odessa group caught up with us here. Rolling along after lunch we split up into two groups again on the way down. This time only four rigs chose the easier route - the rest formed a long convoy snaking along Odessa, another narrow canyon with rocky steps, sand and gravel sections.
An off-camber section where pavement is left only along one canyon wall, and the opposite side is washed out featuring loose gravel is the only challenging spot. It's just too easy to start sliding into the rock.
All rigs made it through the 4x4 day without major damages and we had a great time.