Christmas Tree Run Dec 2015

Some of us started the day at 6:45 am (yikes) at Everett Mall, to give NW Harvest our collected donation, and some food items.  Although it was very early for some of us, there were 8 rigs there, well, 7 and an anonymous FJ that didn’t want to go through the Parade, as he is really a Jeep owner…and didn’t want to be seen driving a Yoter.Those that were heading to Tonga, proceeded out of town, with most meeting at the Monroe Buzz Inn, and just a few of us, heading on up to Tonga, to get aired down, and ready for the run….Kurtis and Janessa, and friends Wes and Crystal, Steve and Jamie Yeager and Gary and I. We un trailered, aired down, then waited for the whole of the group to join us.  We waited some more, and some more, and some more, until finally we got word that they were all down at the ranger station getting tree permits and using the facilities.  So, we waited a bit more, and they began to show up….first Ken Beahm in his big orange School Bus, leading a few more Jeeps, then some more big orange jeeps, then some more jeeps, then more jeeps, and then a pickup truck…and, I think a few more jeeps!  We counted 25 rigs in all….WOW, what a group.  Everyone got aired down, and we began to move out, in search of the illusive perfect Christmas tree!

With Kurtis leading in his newly rebuilt beast, we headed up the mounting in search of snow and trees.  The trip up was somewhat uneventful…and the weather was fair.  Once we hit the snow line, it began to rain….for about 100 feet, then a light snow began to fall!  Yeah, for those who love to wheel in snow.  I am not one of them.  About mid-day, we took a right turn to head up the hill to the gravel pit, to do some play and find those trees, and maybe a bit more snow.  About 1/3 made it up this hill, without a ton of issues, now we have about 10 rigs up at the clearing, and not much room to turn around on the trail.  By this time, the snow was coming down.  A few rigs went on up to the gravel pit, just to alleviate some of the congestion at the clearing, where we decided we need to get turned around head back down the hill.

Oh boy… do we get all these rigs, up a hill that is now much slicker, then it was an hour ago, and turned around?  Kurtis and Gary started heading back down the hill, to begin connecting straps to rigs that needed a bit of a tug, to get to the clearing.  I think we had most of the rigs at the clearing, and getting turned around, when we heard there was an S-10 stuck below, with a blown bead on a 40” tire.  Gary and Kurtis headed back down, to see what could be done to get the tire back on, and moving upwards, so we could get everyone turned around and back down….this was not an easy thing to do.  The gentleman’s spare was 4” smaller then his tires, so we were trying to avoid using that…..attempted about 8 times to get the bead back on his rim, using different methods….we finally decided to put the spare on, regardless of size, and get him back to his Trailer!  Thankfully, he trailered this rig!

The rigs that were behind the S-10, had turned around and headed down…..then began the slow decent of the rest of the rigs at the clearing!  Gary and I sat at the bottom, to count rigs, and make sure everyone knew to turn left, to head back.  We counted rigs, first 1 or 2 at a time, then 3 or 4 at a time, the snow was now really coming down, and getting dark!  Kurtis had lead a group down the hill to the staging area, and is now wondering, where is everyone else, so came back up the hill to find out.  At this point we figured there were 7 rigs still up the now VERY ICEY Hill, in the DARK.  Didn’t seem to matter which way one turned the wheel, the vehicles went where they wanted and this was understandably, scaring several drivers.  Slowly, rigs began to come to the corner again, and were routed to the left and counted.  Finally, all rigs were accounted for, and heading back down the hill to staging!

Summary for today….well, I think most people had fun, at least up until we had to descend the icy hill, and many of us have learned some extremely valuable lessons, on running such a large group! Thank you to all who were there, and helped out with needs as they arose!