About Backcountry 4x4

Don Alexander Bio

Growing up my family spent almost every weekend from May to October camping. We camped in the Sierras Nevada’s and along the coast in California. We took camping vacations for two weeks each summer visiting the National Parks, Canada and Mexico. During the camping trips we would go for hikes eating Sugar Dad suckers. When the sucker was gone we would turn around and hike back to camp. I learned to love the outdoors. As an adult I taught Special Education. For 36 years I taught Severally Emotionally Disturbed students, Alternative Education students and provided Speech and Language therapy, I enjoyed every minute of it. While teaching a class for Emotionally Disturbed high school students, I found out about Geocaching. Geocaching started me on the road to many exciting and beautiful places. Geocaching is the hunt for containers that people have hidden in a variety of places. Some are in urban areas and other are out in remote deserts and mountains. The game involves using a GPS and the coordinates to find these containers. They can be very small or very large. All are well hidden but none are buried. The game of geocaching takes you to places you would never have known about or seen before. After 7 years of Geocaching experience and riding with others off road on more difficult terrain, it was time to expand the search field in my own vehicle. This required obtaining a 4x4 vehicle. Of course that had to be a Wrangler Rubicon. Retired and having the time to have fun allowed me to give back to the forest. I joined the OHV (Off Highway Vehicle) volunteer program. A team of two vehicles or more patrol the dirt roads in the forest looking for potential problems and educating the public on responsible use of the forest. I also formed a 4x4 club so we could adopt a forest road. The Adopt-A-Trail programs supports the forest by maintaining the adopted road, by trimming the bushes on the sides of the road, removing obstacles that are blocking the road, and ensuring that there is draining for small streams and water runoff. As part of the Adopt-A-Trail program I have participated in, and help teach, recovery classes to other 4x4 drivers. I have also helped teach off road driving to utility works who have to service cell towers in remote locations. Little did I know that this meant that I was one of a very few female drivers to do these types of activities. May women ride along as passengers. We need more women to learn the joy and challenge of driving over the rocks and obstacles off road. The experience of exploring the more isolated areas of the mountains and deserts of Southern California would open up a whole new world. The skills learned as a Back Packing Guide provided me with the knowledge to teach others about safety, survival skills, and map and compass reading to the off road environment. Now 13 years in to geocaching and 6 years of driving off road have taught me very valuable lessons on driving easy, moderate, and Black Diamond trails in rain, snow and dry conditions. Being one of a handful of female drivers makes it even more exciting and challenging.

Cindy Morely

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