Q&A with … the president of a 4-wheel drive club
Post Independent outdoors editor Collin Szewczyk recently spoke with Jennifer Isenhart, president of Hi Country 4 Wheelers, a club of off-road enthusiasts that hosts its regular meetings in Glenwood Springs. Hi Country has been around the area since 1974, and has approximately 60 members. The club regularly meets and performs maintenance and cleanup work on nearby jeeping trails, as well as rides many of the area’s top off-road trails. Isenhart lives in New Castle with her husband Eric. She has lived in the area since 1984, when she moved here from Kansas.Q. When did Hi Country 4 Wheelers originate?A. Well, the funny thing is, my husband’s father and mother decided to start a group in June of 1974 because they enjoyed wheeling. We lost touch with it over the years, and thought maybe we should join back up and here we are.Q. How many members?A. Currently, there are approximately 60 members. They range in location from Basalt to Eagle, New Castle, Silt and Glenwood Springs. We also have members from outside the area.Q. The Hi Country website lists certain vehicle requirements. How strict are those?A. We encourage all members to follow the requirements for safety, but we’re flexible on some things. I’m the club’s president, and I only have an ATV. In that sense, my helmet is my roll cage.Q. What vehicle do you drive?A. I have an 2005 Suzuki KingQuad ATV. It has lockers and I can do anything the rest of the group can do. We are rebuilding a ’48 Willys, a flat-ender. We stretched it out in the front, and are keeping it as close to original as possible. Hopefully it will be ready in one more winter and maybe a spring.Q. How many trips does the club do per year?A. On average we do quite a few regular trips. We go to Moab every Thanksgiving, Memorial Day and President’s Day. Some members do out-of-state trips as well. They ride in New Mexico and at Rubicon in California. Many ride on our five adopted trails. Yeah, the members run the adopted trails quite a bit.Q. When is the “Jeeping” season?A. It depends on who you talk to. Our hardcore members Jeep all year around. We have a Christmas party each year and get together, and in January some get permission to ride Frank’s Trail up Cattle Creek. They go up there and have a campfire. Some go snowcrawling, which is cool. You lower your tires to four pounds of pressure and ride on the snow. I’d say for those who are into wheelin’, there’s no time off.Q. What is your favorite trail?A. My favorite is one of our adopted trails, Transfer Trail. It’s quick and easy, and that’s where I hunt, too. I like to call it my backyard.Q. What is the scariest or hairiest trail you’ve driven?A. The Moab Rim is a short trail, but it goes up to the rim and your tires hang over the edge. That’s the thrill of wheelin’, it’s you and your machine. You just have to know your limits.Q. The club does cleanups and trail work, right?A. Yes, we do cleanups on the adopted trails and some other projects. For the trail work, we have a wonderful relationship with the Glenwood gravel pit (CalX Minerals). They drop some gravel outside the fence for us to use on the trails. We’ll scoop it up in anything we can, even five-gallon buckets, and we’ll use it to repair the trail and fill in the water bars. We maintain a log of work we do, and submit it to the BLM.This year we did a cleanup at Fravert Reservoir in Rifle. We filled two 30-yard Dumpsters full of trash. The amount of trash has actually gone down in the past few years, since the scrap metal is getting taken in for cash.We’re also adopting the Crescent/Mackinaw Lakes trail at the northeast corner of the Flat Tops, on Derby Mesa. When you’re done with that trail you’re pretty exhausted. It’s really rough. All you want to do is sleep or maybe fish afterwards.Q. What are some of the club’s upcoming trips?A. A lot of our members are hunters, so it’s sporadic right now. I’m going to Moab soon, where we’ll be renting Razors. They’re expensive to purchase, but it’s not bad to rent one for a few days. It’s a really fun thing. But with hunting, it’s kind of spotty until Thanksgiving in Moab. We will be having our 40th anniversary in 2014, and we’d like to open it up with a big celebration in Glenwood.Q. What is your dream off-road trip?A. I really just enjoy the aspect of loading up gear and getting out there. We really like going up the Buford Road and over to Meadow Lake, and down Transfer Trail. I’m so partial to the local routes. I wouldn’t say anything outside the area would be my dream. I just love to go wheelin’ in this area.Q. Why should off-road enthusiasts join?A. It’s a great opportunity to ride the trails with a spotter and others who know what they’re doing. When we go out, it’s all about teamwork. We’re all about enjoying the beauty of what’s out there. We also stress good etiquette on the trails. Ultimately, it’s really about having fun and getting out there.
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