Four Wheel Drive Association (SWFWDA)
is one of the largest and fastest-growing four-wheel drive associations
in the United States. They conduct their business meetings four
times per year and combine business with pleasure by having their
business meeting coincide with and be hosted by one of their member
clubs during four-wheel drive events. For the folks involved in
the business of SWFWDA this gives them time each quarter to mingle
and have some fun doing what they love to do - four-wheel. In
the case of the Winter Quarterly Meeting, we are talking EXTREME
Quarterly Meeting has been held in conjunction with the Las Cruces
four-wheel Drive Clubs (LCFWDC)
annual "Chile Challenge" four-wheel Drive event for
several years. It is based in the County Fairgrounds just outside
of Las Cruces, New Mexico.
draws more and more people every year. The trails run from mild
to wild and generally the club rates their trails on the low side,
meaning even their moderate trails will give many wheelers a true
test of their driving skill and equipment. Having said that, let
me point out that there are many scenic runs for those with less
appetite for the hard-core stuff.
It's a trip
that is recommended by everyone that has ever gone. I for one
attempt to make this trip each year; whether I'm just going to
play in the Dona Ana Mountains (moderate trail, beautiful views)
or I'm going to test out some new equipment on Habanero Falls.
those that are looking for world-class trails and believe in the
notion that "insanity has replaced reason in the design
and construction of this vehicle" there are four trails
at the Chile Challenge that your vehicle deserves a trip to. The
people that drive and maintain these trails certainly subscribe
to that philosophy as evidenced by the bumper sticker proudly
displayed on the back of a Scout.
The four trails
are Tabasco Twister, Rocotillo Rapids, Habanero Falls & Patzcuaro's
Revenge. These trails help to define hard-core rockcrawling trails
and they will make you sit up and pay attention no matter how
"bad" you think your rigs is.
gallery is concentrated on two trails: Tabasco Twister and Patzcuaro's
Revenge. Two separate groups ran Patzcuaro's Revenge and were
filmed in an effort to show the diversity of the vehicles that
showed up to challenge this trail. Check out the these three pages
of photographs and you will notice rigs of every size, shape and
color (although yellow seems to be the most common color among
4x4's lately) from CJ-5's and 7's to Commandos and customs, but
along side them you will see a number of Toyota pickups and 4-Runners,
Internationals, early model Ford Broncos, Land Rovers, Mercedes
(Unimog), and even a Chevy Luv! These vehicles were powered by
gas, propane and diesel with tires ranged from 35's to 42's and
the suspensions ranged from tricked-out custom coilovers to basic
are over 60 photos that were taken over a period of two days.
These photos (like many taken on the trials) really don't do justice
to the obstacles being filmed. The picture gallery is not an attempt
to tell a "trail story" but to give others an idea of
the type of obstacles they will find on these trails. These trails
are not for those weak of equipment, training or skill.
It was impressive
that on these trails this year there was very little breakage,
and almost everyone either had the parts needed to fix their problems
and keep going, or enough gumption to know when enough was enough
and use the few bypasses that were available or go back the way
they had come (no shame in knowing one's limits and when not to
go past them).
LCFWDC's Annual Flyer: "Our trails are difficult.
Our ratings are probably understated. As Trent Riddle (4-Wheel
Drive & Sport Utility, July 1998) put it - 'The lure is more
than just the size of the gathering; this is some of the roughest,
toughest four-wheeling in the country' Of course, extreme means
just that and LCFWDC cautions each participant to please choose
your trails carefully."
Twister is located in the Chile Canyons area just north
of Picacho Peak. It begins at the south edge of the Chile Canyons
and heads northwest up and around the canyons. Scenery includes
a great view of the Mesilla Valley and various surrounding mountain
After a short drive to the actual entrance you will notice
the boulders getting larger an larger. First, there will be
boulder "mine fields" followed by the "Tank
Trap". This gives two choices - neither is easy although
they can vary tremendously from year to year. Next will come
waterfalls, which also get larger and larger. Although two
of the most difficult waterfalls have winch points, they will
still get your attention by their size and angle. Many hours
may be spent watching or repairing vehicles along the way.
Plan a long day. Some vehicles have spent well over ten hours
on this trail!
Revenge is a favorite of hard-core rockcrawlers. It was
used for the finals of the 1998 BFG Rock Crawling Championships.
The trail begins next to Rocotillo Rapids and winds up in a
neighboring arroyo at the loop road around the canyons.
Although most participants fear (and break on one, I might
add) the first two waterfalls, there are several more challenging
ledges, boulders, and waterfalls upstream. The second waterfall
- Nemesis Two - has a winch point if necessary. Please be
careful on this trail and ask for a line if you need one.
LCFWDC wants you to return next year!
now, on to the picture galleries:
[ Tabasco Twister
[ Patzcuaro's Revenge
- Group 1 ]
[ Patzcuaro's Revenge
- Group 2 ]