By Lorri Ooley
The Las Cruces Four Wheel Drive Club hosted its 24th Annual Chile Challenge Off-Road Trail Event at Riverside Campgrounds of Caballo Lake State Park Tuesday-Saturday, Oct. 15-18. This is the first time the club has hosted their event in Sierra County; however, due to recent challenges for obtaining permits in the usual location for the event in Las Cruces, they aim to return next year for the event, with the goal of acquiring a five-year permit from the county and state.
The canyons and riverbeds of Sierra County offer dynamic obstacle challenges and transforming runs for those who enjoy off-roading and vehicle rock climbing, as weather continuously changes the trails. The existing trails can then change day to day or at least, season to season, and will continue to offer interesting and exciting new challenges with each ride.
For this year’s event, the club developed a new trail rating, ranging from easiest (rating 1) to hardest (rating 10), which are based upon dry conditions. As each vehicle is inspected, riders were able to drive different rating options that the club designated for their particular vehicle. Additionally, there were minimum requirements for the vehicles, with safety as the primary concern.
With more than 20 trails available, each day offered a different opportunity of a challenge for the off-road drivers. Most rides lasted between four and six hours, however, there were some who did not return until well into the evening, mostly due to difficulty of navigable terrain. As such, in addition to usual safety precautions, those going out on the trails were advised to carry plenty of water. Furthermore, each ride was led by experienced drivers, who guided and helped the other drivers over particularly difficult obstacles.
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