for the lunch and talking! Digging out of snow all day isn't my idea
I don't know, James, actually I have to say that today was the most
fun I've had in a long time! I mean, I can see your point--digging
out all day long isn't much fun, and we did our share, but the times
where we weren't digging more than made up for it. I'd have
to say you really missed a good time out there...
sure all of us planning on the 4/24 CFSJA trail run had visions
of a sunny Colorado springtime day filled with dusty trails and
rock climbing, surrounded by the vivid shades of newly emerged greenery
in the form of pine trees and alpine grasses. That was what
I was looking forward to...
then it snowed. Not just Wednesday. But Thursday AND
Friday. Nearly 30 inches in some parts of the Rockies.
Still, a few of us were insane enough to give it a try, so by 9:30am
(I was running late--sorry guys!) we had all gathered in the Target
parking lot. We met our new member, John, who had stopped
in to say hi on the way to work. Among the crazies: Ethan
and "Mud Puppy," an 83 Wag with lots of cool gadgets, Adam Zeimet
and his dad Mike in an early 80's (can't remember the year) lifted
Wag, Steve (the token CJ with winch) and Jody (late 70's Cherokee)
with the orange body and yellow driver door (:)), and me in "Troubled
Child," the finally-lifted (infamous?) 86 GW.
headed for the trail, Crystal Mountain Road, left pavement and slipped
and slided our way down a muddy road, arrived at the trailhead,
and aired down, etc. As soon as we got onto the trail we hit
snow and a steep climb. Steve got about 50 yards but Jody
got sideways and the rest of us were getting stuck too. We
bailed and headed for Ballard Road, a forest service road close
again, we hit snow immediately, but not as deep and not as steep
a climb. We took turns blazing the trail, with only the remnants
of tracks still visible after some 6" of snowfall. To be sure,
we all got stuck here and there on the first part of the trail (except
Steve--I don't think he got stuck all day!). Now I have to say that
I never realized snow bashing could be that fun, but when my turn
came, what a rush! I had the truck in 4lo, 1st gear, so I
was winding out the motor pretty good (and smelling some belt rubber
or something burning--ack!) made good progress--maybe 50 yards--before
I got buried. I just love the sound of a V8 turning 3 grand
on the tach!
did a lot of position swapping which was kind of our undoing, but
we each got a chance at the fun. And a chance to get stuck,
I might add. We worked fairly hard to get to our lunch spot,
where Jody had got stuck, just a little ways beyond where both Ethan
and I had gotten ourselves lodged to the right of the trail.
We finally got extracted and had lunch. I think some people
might accuse me of over gearing for these kinds of trips.
Just because I cracked open an MRE and began heating it up on my
mini gas stove (the chicken strips in chunky salsa is really good,
by the way) doesn't mean that I overgear. Ok, well, maybe it does.
lunch we plowed along and made real good progress. Finally
in one uphill section before a tight switchback, Ethan attempted
to drive around Adam who was stuck, to let Steve get up to pull
Adam out. Problem was, Ethan got buried off to the left of
the trail, and nothing was going to get him out. Meanwhile,
Jody was up ahead trying to get up and around the curve. I
set about getting in position to yank Ethan forward (I have no front
tow hooks or shackles) but all I was able to do was send him further
off-road and bury him deeper. Just then some guys in a sparkly
new TJ showed up. They had a winch and were itching to use
it. Who were we to stop 'em? After some creative problem solving,
they got Ethan back on the trail and we continued along.
guys in the TJ joined up with us, but wouldn't break trail, so,
of course, I had to make the sacrifice. Hee! What a
total kick in the butt! I got a pretty good run of it, this
time 4lo and 2nd so I wasn't frying my motor. I was pulling
a good 2500 rpm at about 15mph, blasting through some seriously
deep snow, trying to keep the truck on the trail as best as I could,
and keep my momentum up. A couple times I had some close calls,
nearly running into a ditch, and then heading right at a tree.
Things were going great and I was on top of the world. Then
I was on the side of the trail!
was heading along and began sliding right towards a sizeable tree
trunk! I had to shut 'er down or come back with some body
damage (truck body or my body? --yes!) Once I stopped I was planted
and how! The TJ guys winched me out, and just as soon as they'd
put everything away I realized I was still unable to get traction
(embarrassing!). Another winching got me out. I got
a run at it hoping to continue another 20 yards where we could turn
around, but I got about 5 yards and the truck went completely sideways.
I wasn't going anywhere. Once again with the winch, and I
was back on trail. Finally we decided to back down and head
soon you ask? Shoot, it was 4:00pm by this point! Somehow
we'd smoked the whole day away frolicking in the snow. Imagine
that. So we turned the rigs around, I got stuck again -- as
did a couple others of us -- and we made our way back to the trailhead.
The zany TJ guys headed off after getting some air from Ethan, and
we headed for the gas station. Adam went back and the rest
of us went to Perkins and sat around jawboning for awhile. I don't
know about them, but I was downright pooped! All that walking around
in thigh-deep snow gets to you after awhile! Whew!
all, a super fun day, great weather--neither too warm nor too cold,
a little bit of fog on the trail to make it interesting, not
too much of getting stuck or digging out, but mostly a lot of challenge
and the healthy roar of V8s and plenty of slipping and sliding around
in the snow. We didn't make it all the way to the top, but
I gotta tell ya, we really did show 'em how it's done. No
breaks, no abandoned trucks, just a few times getting stuck.
I doubt I need to tell you that these FSJs are great!
(1) momentum is your friend,
(2) time to get some tow hooks or
shackles front and back, not to mention