Christmas Tree Run Dec 2017

I had sent out a reminder/detailed description including maps to the whole Timber Tamer group and it even included a Tamer Turn (U-turn) in the directions. How it got in there I don’t know, but no one said anything… LOL.

We started off the day meeting up at the Ranger station just past Skykomish at 9:02am. Others were already there and out of their vehicles talking, etc. We got reacquainted with everyone and I had a look at everyone present and checking out there rigs. I talked with a few about the weather and possible snow conditions. I didn’t think we were going to see too deep a snow so I figured everyone’s rig would be fine. Everyone there had some decent type lift and/or good tires and some type of traction device. All that were present I think had at least a little experience wheeling so I figured this would be a breeze. Go up to top cut a tree load it up have lunch and get back down. Yea, hehe right!!!

We departed the ranger station promptly at 9:30am with 14 rigs rolling and got into the staging area under the Railroad Trestle about 9:45 ish and proceeded to air down and make last minutes checks. Some were choosing where to put people in line respectively with their sponsors and rigs size and capabilities. This was awesome as everyone seemed to have a good idea what they were doing.

We got rolling shortly after 10 am and found ourselves on a good forest road and it wasn’t long before we started to climb and see snow. The snow came on quick and it got deeper fast but the ruts were good and everyone seemed to be wheeling along at a pretty good clip. We saw Evan behind us playing on the sides of the ruts with his “new to him” tires. He was enjoying his new-found performance with bigger tires and his new bead locks allowing him to air down more than he has in the past. Our run up to the classic fire pit area was pretty uneventful. I think a couple people got a little sideways and one or two maybe needed a quick tug or some spotting, but for most part no big deals.

We found the Dirty 13 guys Rick and Joe had already had a fire burning in a double barrel burner, having one stacked on top of the other. Compliments of Carl N. from Olympic 4×4/Dirty 13. We stopped for a bit to be sure we all together and Emily had asked if we could hang there for a bit for the kids to sled down the hill. Sounded like a good idea to hang for a bit so I decided 30 minutes to let the kids play and touch base with Rick and Joe. The fire was nice and the barrels were warm to hang out by. Just before I figured we would get rolling again I noticed John H. was chaining up his rig. I wanted to try to let him know it is best to lower tire pressure than to chain up, and chains really chew up the tracks for people behind. But he already had two wheels chained up so I thought I would just roll with it. It turned out it really did help him out getting around later. We enjoy the minutes we spent at the fire pit and then saddled back up to get on our way to try to get the top.

The snow was deeper now and as we progressed towards the top it got a little more interesting. With Rudy graciously bringing up the rear I could hear some people were having some small problems needing some winching, others just a tug. The radio was keeping us all in contact and I think we all progressed and kept our group together. Evan had to turn around get home shortly after we left the fire pit area. And at some point in here Rudi lost his CB radio, but he still had his GMRS and his ham functioning.

We approached our right-hand turn and we weren’t exactly sure this was it. We made the right, headed up the road and sure enough it was the bowl turn off and there was a large group of people with a fire going looking like they having a good time.. Time for quick Tamer Turn. At this point we only had me and Steve in his Samurai and John H in his TJ. So we got up and easily made a U-turn and back down to the main road. Onward towards the top. The group was pretty tightened up when they had to wait for us to make the Tamer Turn so we were close together. And we soon arrived at the right hand turn we were looking for. This is when things got Very Interesting.

With me leading the way, I followed the tracks from someone before me earlier in the day, with Steve behind me cautiously giving lots of room as this was known to be a slick area. Behind Steve I believe it was John H with his chains and then Curt in his JK. The next person was FJ Mike in his almost stock FJ cruiser keeping up with little problems. We walked up this little road with no problems and listening to others on the radio. There was a 4 runner that was obviously stuck from the night before, but it was out of the way and definitely stuck. We could stop on the way down and double check it then.

I made it up to a clearing area and where the tracks stopped. It was time for me to break trail. I put my Samurai in low gear and let out the clutch. No go… I couldn’t make any progress or very little. I got out to air down more. And as I did I saw John coming up in our tracks. Except he was having problems too. He could power up about 10 or 15 feet then dig down with his chains. He was obviously gaining ground using his chains but was tearing up the tracks for anyone to use behind him. He got up next to us and I had aired down by now and back in my rig. I was trying to now maneuver around up in the flatter area to make a big circle for others to turn around. I got some tracks made and then noticed Curt having troubles down the hill further.

Curt was working his JK for all it was worth, in a kind of delicate way he could get thing gripped up and move a bit forward only to lose traction and slide down to the side more. It was steeper over there where he was sliding and he finally called for a winch. I worked my way towards him without going “over” the hill so to speak. As I maneuvered my way to where I wanted to be Curt pulled his cable out. Between helping Curt up the hill and his new tracks, I think we got a good path for others to follow. As me and Curt unhooked I notice John had moved out back and looked like he was stuck. I asked and he assured me he was indeed high centered and stuck.

Ok well I needed to get around in behind of him and try to yank him out. As I got myself moved into position FJ Mike had made his way up to Curt’s new tracks and almost made it to the top but them slipped and was stuck. I was working diligently on getting John out with my Little Samurai but it was tough for my rig and he wasn’t budging. I had to ask Curt to work his way around to get in front of me to make a double pull. As Curt got into position Steve in his cow JK was working his way up to give Mikes FJ Cruiser a tug. Now Steve’s JK is painted in white and black camo and no offense intended by calling it a cow but it looks like a milking Cow to me. But trust me this thing has been worked over and it is quite a beast and I was very happy to see him up on the hill helping out. So with Steve very close to me and Curt now, we had to wait to pull on John and once Steve was done pulling Mike’s FJ Cruiser, Mike was up the hill and moving back out of the way in no time. With Curt and I yanking on John he popped out of his hole and was back up on top of the snow.

I figured at this point if I was going to get a tree for the Christmas tree party I better get to it. I worked my way up the hill in back towards where Steve went in his Samurai. Around the corner and bam there he was securing his tree to his rig. I found a tree and asked to borrow his chain saw. Seeing his saw was already warmed up and runs good versus my chain saw is always questionable if it will run when I need it… lol. I got into position made my plan to cut a wedge just like a real logger… keep in mind the trunk was about 3 inches in diameter, hehe. I made the first cut.. and wedged the saw blade, geesh. I got the blade out without too much trouble and went to push the tree out towards the road and slipped in the snow and pushed it sideways behind several trees. Alrighty then this isn’t my day… Hehe. Thanks to Steve A. who came in and helped me lift it up and over the trees out of the woods and onto top of my rig.

With my tree secured and strapped down I returned back to the turn around flat area to find almost everyone up and now trying to get turned around facing down with Curt’s directions and everyone helping to make this happen,
Some of the others were already headed down with Rudi leading. The chatter on the radio is that it is slick, slick, slick, and be careful. I bit it once already and know what they were talking about. We sent Mike in his blue TJ down to blaze a new path on the right of the hill and this proved to be worthwhile. Mike in his FJ Cruiser was next. We waited for bit and then got to hear on the radio that the Mike in his Blue Tj was stuffed into the ditch and Mike in his FJ was slipping out of control and didn’t want to get near the other Mike in the TJ.

I decided to head down. Now I know everyone was slipping n sliding but my tires were holding good. I got to FJ Mike in his cruiser and although he was good I had to get passed him. I had him pulled forward a bit to pass on the left, which was the cliff side… Casey told me to stop so she could get out as she hates the cliffs. We got past him and up just around the bend a bit farther was Mikes Blue TJ stuffed into the bank. I got myself into some soft snow to hook up my winch. And Casey got out to take a picture. Once Casey got her picture from behind the Samurai she was working her way back to get in Samurai and slipped and feel and then slid under the Samurai from the rear. She had hit the ground hard, but assured us she was ok.. I imagine she will be black and blue from that one.. She assured me she was grateful I have a lift kit. We got Mike out from the bank and he headed down further only to slide into John V. in his JK. They pretty much connected tire to tire and so everything was ok. But scary to say the least.

We had to wait here for quite a while as they got the 4 runner (remember the stuck 4 runner from earlier) unstuck in front of us. There was no way we could get around them and their buddies had shown up were parked and performing rescue operation right on a corner… Per Rudi…. Best to stay put instead of trying to come down and slide into others. I could hear the rest of our group back up at the flat clearing area on the radio as they pulled, tugged and I think even winched to get facing downhill. Everyone was cautious as it was so slick for everyone, well except those that were running Irok tires..Hehe. The group down from us finally got the 4 runner unstuck and we all started down one by one. It was scary and slick coming down but each of us made it no problems. People headed out two or three at a time to meet up back at the fire pit.

Ed and Rudi got a call to help someone stuck up near the fire pit so they went up that way once we all got to meet back at fire pit. With everyone accounted for we all headed back to the staging area to air up and say out goodbyes. We started down from the fire pit and within about 15 minutes I see a jeep coming up behind me fairly fast… I could see square headlights and with other headlights behind them I could make out a head in the driver’s seat, another head in the passenger seat only this head had nice full head of hair. I could even make out 2 radio antennae’s in the back.. It had to be Rudi… Yep sure enough. Rudi and Ed had successfully gotten those people recovered and were back in our group heading down.

I was a long day, but a good day. I think everyone got challenged in the skills as well as their rig abilities. I think it was a very good Christmas Tree run.. Very much thanks to everyone who was there and how everyone helped each other so much!!

Gary M