Another Year, Another Level of Off-Road Driving Confidence
It felt to return to this spot a year later, feeling far more confident in my abilities
I forget what off-road trail this is on at Hungry Valley Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Park in Southern California, but I know exactly how to get to it. It scared the shit out of me when I first attempted it, but now it’s a walk in the park.
Car: 2021 Land Rover Defender 90
Location: Hungry Valley OHV Park, Gorman, CA
Photog: Peter Nelson (Instagram + Twitter: @16vPete)
Camera: Canon 6D + EF 35-85mm AF Zoom
The trail I drove is a menacing black diamond decent. Not double-black diamond, but nearly. When I first rolled down it, I was at the helm of a 2020 Land Rover Defender 110. As my friends and I crested the hill and swung around to the right, the drop, combined with a very narrow path, was quite intimidating. I actually filmed it for my old employer.
That was about a year ago, and I was recently there again with friends, including my Car Bibles colleague Chris Rosales. This time I was wielding a new Defender 90, the two-door version of the 110. This time, I wasn’t scared. During the year that’s gone by I’ve driven quite a few rigs off road, including my own beloved Land Rover Discovery. I’ve learned how to crawl down steep hills, and luckily the new Defender makes it incredibly easy to do so with Hill Descent Control. Just coast on down and let traction control and ABS do their things.
I was stoked about feeling very comfortable, even relaxed, slowly scrambling down this tough patch of terra firma. It feels good to gain competency in anything in life, but especially off-road driving. I really want to return with my Discovery. I’m sure 4-Low and some very light feathering of the brakes will ensure it’ll be just as relaxing.