Ranger Kathryn's Arches

April 3, 2013

There are places a Prius shouldn’t go

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 5:33 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Olive, the mighty Prius, goes where no other Prius dares. She has only a few scars to show for it.

Not having a 4WD vehicle in the West can be annoying; I find myself coveting my sister’s FJ Cruiser all the time whenever I need to get somewhere rugged. But with good instructions from friends who have been around, Olive (99,000 miles and counting) continues to explore vistas that other Priuses won’t.

The first time she did this, I was camping in a remote BLM campground and had to cross a shallow stream four times to reach my site. As in, drive through the water, not go on a bridge. For seven days. Dozens of crossings. I found out Olive could handle that.

Last summer, I had her at 10,000 feet in the mountains when a couple on ATVs zipped by. Incredulous, they slammed on their brakes and got off to ask if they could photograph my Prius in a land of pickups. Olive happily posed, unaware that she was out of place or being secretly mocked.

Ilsa leans against the Secret Spire, San Juan County, UT. Differential erosion is the reason this sandstone piece stands alone.

Ilsa leans against the Secret Spire, Grand County, UT. Differential erosion is the reason this sandstone piece stands alone. Click to enlarge.

Last week, my daughter and I found ourselves on a narrow sandy jeep road atop a godforsaken mesa, in search of the Secret Spire. Side roads here are often unlabeled, and we weren’t exactly sure we were on the right one. Afraid to slow down and risk getting mired, I just kept going, and going, and going… and, yes, the Spire was worth it.

There’s one thing she’s attempted and backed away from: a debris-laden mudslide spanning the highway. I absolutely love my Prius, but you know what? That FJ Cruiser is looking sweeter all the time.


Leave a comment if you’ve taken your vehicle where it shouldn’t have gone.


  1. When in Moab . . .

    Comment by midsummerman — April 4, 2013 @ 8:31 am | Reply

  2. Sounds like you and Ilsa (and Olive!) are having a blast! What is an FJ Cruiser? Vern and I just bought a new Toyota RAV 4…to take the place of his beloved 2002 truck (Toyota Tundra). Todd and Sarah bought it (the Tundra) from us when we sold the office bldg. Anyway, we took the RAV on our trip to Georgia and absolutely loved it! It’s a small SUV, all-wheel drive, etc.

    Comment by Kathy Lewis — April 4, 2013 @ 9:07 am | Reply

  3. I love it it when I come across cars on back roads. My favorite was a mint Volkswagen Squareback out in Beef Basin. I thought I was doing a noble job of driving over rocks and through sand in my Xterra. Consider the wind removed from my sail!

    Comment by Andrew McAllister — April 4, 2013 @ 11:34 am | Reply

  4. OK, maybe not where we shouldn’t have gone, but after we made our trip to Alaska and drove the flint covered highways, we had to get a new set of tires. After, I believe, just 13,000 miles. Bravo for your Prius! Love, Mom

    Comment by Mom — April 5, 2013 @ 6:05 pm | Reply

  5. Just discovered your blog recently. Love it! Love the images and information.
    – James Byous

    Comment by James Byous — April 12, 2013 @ 7:37 pm | Reply

    • Thanks! The spike in views was surely you, exploring the site. Welcome!

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — April 13, 2013 @ 11:53 am | Reply

  6. We used to drive our Nissan Sentra everywhere. I especially relish the memory of passing a group of parked SUV’s on a back track on Cedar Mesa. Good for you and your Prius!

    Comment by westerner54 — April 14, 2013 @ 11:03 am | Reply

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