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Moab trail guide opens new world

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GUIDE TO MOAB, UT, BACKROADS & 4-WHEEL DRIVE TRAILS, by Charles A. Wells, FunTreks books, 2000, 268 pages, $19.95.

I thought I knew the trails of the Moab area fairly well, but in reading "Guide to Moab" — the bible of four-wheel driving in the area — I found I was wrong. This book has opened a whole new world of exploration for me.

Wells has done his homework. His book is concisely written, with plenty of intriguing black-and-white photographs, maps and directions.

I've only driven on two of the 50 trails outlined in this book, and even then there were several features about those paths I wasn't aware of. (I'd love to have known about the dinosaur tracks found in the Klondike Bluffs area of Arches ahead of time!)

Wells doesn't just outline trails either. He has seven pages on backcountry driving tips and another four pages on safety considerations for the sport. He even includes GPS coordinates.

Also, he ranks each trail by its toughness — easy, moderate or difficult. (Fourteen are easy, 17 are moderate and 19 are difficult.) He also highlights his 16 favorites, and, of course, most of the trails are in Canyonlands and Arches.

Some may feel the $19.95 price is a little high, but it's entertaining just to look at the many photos (240-plus) that show sport-utility vehicles and trucks traversing the rugged terrain. The book also outlines some incredible natural features in the Moab area that I've never heard of before.

For example, there's the Tusher Tunnel, Uranium Arch, Secret Spire and Cliffhanger Bridge — all northwest of Moab. There's Mineral Point, west of Moab; Little Arch, southwest of Moab; Top of the World, southeast of Moab; and Cleft Arch in Canyonlands.

Even though I lack a four-wheel-drive vehicle, I plan on getting a friend to take me exploring some of these trails. Other paths could also be used for hiking or mountain biking, and so the book is more than a four-wheel-drive guide — it's an outdoor manual.

Wells, who is from Colorado Springs, wrote a similar book for Colorado's four-wheel-drive trails.

More information on the book is available at www.funtreks.com

Copies of the book can also be ordered by calling 1-877-222-7623.

E-MAIL: lynn@desnews.com