Southern Chapter Kick-Off - August 12, 2000

Southern Chapter Kick-Off
August 12, 2000

Twin Buttes Dam -- San Angelo, TX

Updated Jan 6, 2002

Map: Not Available



Twin Buttes is in actuality a reservoir that is about dry. It is the typical West Texas terrain which consists of rocks cactus and Mesquite bushes.

The Gang

It has been a while since we have had rain so there isn't any mud in sight and it is very dusty. Most of the trails follow the creek channels that fill the reservoir when there is water flowing. Most of the obstacles in the channels are rutted out loose dirt hills that are pretty steep. Even with lockers on most of them you need a running start to be able to keep enough traction. The closer to the lake you get the more you have to watch for dry land that has water underneath it. The ground will be severely cracked and dry to the touch but once you put a 5000 LB Bronco on it you will sink like a rock, just ask Jeff

Jeff sinking into the deep

The channels will lead you to the lake and the dam, if you follow the dam you will come upon the spillway (dry). This is where the challenge begins. The hill climb out of the spillway is about 30 yards long and very steep, it is also rutted out pretty bad from all of the vehicles that haven't made it all the way up and have rutted it out. Once you get to the top of the spillway you are on top of one of the buttes, the back side drops off about 300 feet to a dirt road below. This is where the challenging terrain is.

You can drop of the back side on a very rutted trail with some 3 foot steps in it or you can go around the butte on a dirt road and play on the tough trails on the back side. The trails on the back side are called:

The Trails...
Axle Breaker
Axle Breaker is a series of six steps about three foot high. (I've watched 3 vehicles roll on this one.)
Dr Pepper
Dr Pepper is a long steep climb mixed with loose dirt and rocks the size of 55 gallon drums. (This is where I lost the rear end and rear driveshaft.)
Predator. This trail is hairy! I have only seen one vehicle make it up without a winch. This thing is nearly vertical with some 4 to 5 foot steps.
Widow Maker
Widow Maker. This trail will take you from the bottom all the way to the top (300 foot) in a steep hill covered in loose dirt. About 20 foot from the top there is a turn and a 4 step. This is called the widow maker because once you are this far up there is no backing down. You either make it on your own or you get pulled over the top.
In this area there are 10 more unnamed trails all of which are loose dirt and stair steps of various sizes. On around the corner is the Grand daddy of them all; Widow Maker. See the Widow Maker description above.


Those attending our kick-off event included. . .
  1. John Hill in my '86 Bronco (Leader)
  2. Robert Hutson and guests in his 78 Bronco
  3. Jeff Hamrick in his '96 Bronco
  4. Rodger Short riding with Jeff

The Details . . .


At about 7:30 am on Saturday, August 12, 2000, myself and my father in law arrived at the Super Walmart after and uneventful 165 mile drive to San Angelo, TX. Around 8 am we met up with Jeff Hamrick and Rodger Short in Jeff's 96 XLT Bronco and Robert Hutson his son and a friend in Roberts 78 Bronco and after introductions we proceeded to Mc Donald's inside Walmart for some breakfast and to discuss the days events. After breakfast we took off to the trail.


The trip out to Twin Buttes which was about a 7 mile trip. Robert Hutson lead the group followed by Jeff Hamrick then myself. We took the first access road to the reservoir after dropping into the first of many ditches we came upon the first obstacle (insert pic 1) a steep climb with loose rock and ruts. Robert was the only one to make it up since he was the only one locked. Jeff and I attempted the obstacle that looked easier but caused more dust and wheel stands after Jeff and I had our turns Robert joined us at the bottom of the hill and we proceeded to the next place.

More dust and wheel stands...

Here Jeff and I were able to make it up. Jeff easier than I.

Jeff and I both make it up

My attempt ended up a successful dusty mess.

John's attempt

After making it to the top I shut my truck down as I was still nursing an overheating problem we watched Robert show us the advantage of lockers and watching mountain bikers test their luck on the same hills by not rearending Jeff's Bronco. I went back to my truck to start it and nothing.

Pic 5

Our first and only broken part of the day a busted POS battery terminal ...

Only broken part

of course the only thing I didn't bring but the gang fixed it up with a pair of vise grip's (thanks Jeff). Repairing the carnage we proceeded to the waterfront or what's left of it and Jeff decided to play in the mud.

Playing in the mud

From there Jeff proceeded to cool off by driving his truck about 40 ft into the water

Jeff cooling his truck down

way beyond the limits of our recovery gear and cooled his truck. After taking our group picture Jeff and Robert went to play on the rocks. Robert attempted one area but because he didn't purchase 38's he got high centered.

Robert gets high-centered

Jeff broke out the hi-lift but before he could use it the rest of us rocked the truck side to side and eventually Robert broke free. Jeff's turn came next and we wanted to see how much of his tires we can stuff.

The difficult stuff The difficult trails

Time was running short and the temperature well above 100 we decided to show Jeff and Rodger the class D-F trails. Robert acting as tour guide walked us around to many of the trails to which words cant describe what we saw but the feeling was Impressive. From there we took the dusty trip back to the Highway and back to civilization. By now the temp was over 110 degrees and we decided to stop at Wendy's for lunch cool off and talk about the day and future events which includes trips to LLano, Waco Dam, and South Padre Island. I would like to take this time to thank Robert Hutson for all his work in planning the above event. Without him this wouldn't have been possible. And to Jeff Hamrick and Rodger Short for making the drive from the Dallas, TX area.

John Hill - Southern Chapter Leader
1986 Bronco XLT

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