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Thread: Blowing Off Some Steam on the Steam Shovel Trail

  1. #1
    Administrator wayoflife's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Carson City, NV

    Cool Blowing Off Some Steam on the Steam Shovel Trail

    After slaving away for weeks on end breathing new life into Emma and working on video projects, Cindy and I realized that we were long over due for a break. Needless to say, we decided to take a day off of work to blow off some steam and do so by heading out to the trail. Being that we now had Moby with us again, we figured it was as good a time as any to give him a good shakedown run and just to be safe, we'd take Rubicat along for the ride as well. Because this was meant to be a fun run and to just get out and relax, we didn't take nearly as many pics as we normally would and for that, I apologize. That being said, here are a few pics that we did manage to take and I hope you'll enjoy seeing them.

    Because this was such a spur of the moment trip, we had a lot to pack up and were in need of buttoning up both Moby and Rubicat. Needless to say, we ended up getting a very late start.

    With a starting point almost 100 miles away from the last gas stop, fuel is always an issue especially if for some reason, you're forced to turn around and head back out the way you came.

    Climbing our way up the Stillwater range and to the starting point of our trail - Steam Shovel!

    And here we are! Time to have some fun.

    Most of Steam Shovel follows a riparian that can flow heavily in spring or after a good summer storm but being this was the end of summer, it was just a little more than a trickle for us.

    Working our way up the canyon.

    I was already on the other side of this deep water hole before realizing to get a shot of Rubicat in it.

    Fortunately, I made sure to get a shot of Moby climbing his way out of it.

    Continuing our way up the canyon.

    Over all, the trail isn't too difficult in terms of rock crawling but there are a couple of fun spots along the way.

    Getting closer to our main destination.

    Another fun rocky ledge to climb.

    A big boulder slid down the soft embankment pinching off the original trail and so the only way to get past it now is to use your rocker guard and pivot around it.

    Here are a few better shots of Moby working his way around it.

    And here we are, the reason why this trail is called Steam Shovel.

    So technically, this "steam shovel" is actually a Speeder shovel crane that's powered by a 66 HP Caterpillar 6-cylinder D4600 diesel engine with integral 2-cylinder gasoline pony engine starter. Or at least, that's what I was able to find online. As far as why it's here goes, the only historical account I could find came from an old article I read in a 4Wheel Drive & Sport Utility Magazine. According to it, this was part of the old Silver Hill mining district which was established in the 1860's and was ultimately abandoned after a flash flood wiped out the road leading up to it in the 1930's.

    A few close up shots of the inner working of this old earth worker.

    Amazing view of the valley below.

    On the move again, it's all shelf roads from here.

    All this would really be no big deal if the shelf road was so off camber to the cliff side and didn't keep narrowing and crumbling and didn't have so many washouts and fallen trees to deal with. Unfortunately, we were too busy driving to take photos of all that and only have a few shots where the trail was actually wide enough to get out and take them.

    Ah, now that's more like it.

    Well, that was short lived. Closer to the top, the trail started narrow up a bit and started to look as if nobody had come this way in years.

    Finally up on top of the ridge!

    I was only until we got closer to the bottom of the canyon that we realized we had made a wrong turn somewhere and were heading down toward a ranch. After doubling back, we got ourselves on the right path and out of the mountains just as the sun was starting to set.

    It'd been a while since we were last out this way and after this trip, I know remember why. Steam shovel is a super brushy trail with narrow, crumbling off camber shelf roads with tons of washouts and fallen trees just to make things interesting. There was actually one point where the trail gave way under foot and my passenger side tire completely dropped off the ledge. It was an unsettling experience and all I can say is that I was lucky that more didn't give way and that I was able to carefully back out of it. Back in the day, this trail used to be maintained by a club out in Fallon but I'm not sure if they're still around and so far as I could tell, nobody has worked on it in years. At the moment, I'd have to say the trail is more suited for an ATV, UTV or maybe even a narrow rig like a Jeep TJ but in a super wide JK with full width axles, it isn't exactly the most fun trail in the world. Sure it can be done but I don't know if I'd prefer to again or at least, not without loppers, a chainsaw and some help to make trail repairs.

    Anyway, that was how we blew off some steam out on the Steam Shovel Trail, I hope you enjoyed the pics

  2. #2
    Knows a Thing or Two MattAlpha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Huntsville, AL
    It looks like a great fun last minute trip! Thank you for sharing!

    '07 JKUR

  3. #3
    That dude from Mississippi notnalc68's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Madison, MS
    The old shovel is cool. Looks like you had a good time.

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  4. #4
    Meme King WJCO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Glad you were able to get out. And glad Moby is running well again.
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  5. #5
    Fresh Catch
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Kerrville, TX

    Awesome Pix!

    Ramping up for my first Jeep by the end of the year... Your EPIC adventure videos are very inspiring... CAN HARDLY WAIT TO HAVE MY OWN! Thanks for always sharing!!!

    (Soon to be Jeep newbie)

  6. #6
    Old Timer jesse3638's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Apple Valley, CA
    That looks like a lot of fun. Old desert history is so much fun to see and learn about.

    Sent from my 831C using WAYALIFE mobile app

  7. #7
    Living the WAYALIFE JAGS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Shelf roads, yay!

    Shelf roads that are crumbling, no fucking thanks.

    The pics do look great though. How did Moby do getting his trail legs again?
    I think I may consider lifting my Jeep. Or not.
    The Evolution of ENVY

  8. #8
    Hooked Taz81's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Kingman, AZ
    Looks like loads of fun.

  9. #9
    Nothing but a Thing rumblebee3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Ottawa, Kansas
    Sounds like a good day! Definitely an awesome kick back and relax trail... besides the shelf roads and holes and bushes and such! Thank you for sharing even on you guys' day off 🍻

    Sent from my XT1585 using WAYALIFE mobile app

  10. #10
    Nothing but a Thing Judesign's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    San antonio
    Looks like a great trail and a great getaway. I know it feels good back in moby.

    Sent from my iPhone using WAYALIFE mobile app

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