Elbe Nov 2016

We started out the day with the birds chirping and babbling brook running and the sun just coming….WHOA!!! Wait a minute… NOT
I was an UNGODLY hour of the morning, the birds were not even awake, not even the early bird! LOL.
Ok ok, im not a morning person.

There was a group of us, Ron and Terri in his JK, Jake and Jenna in her Toyota truck, Kurt and Travis in Kurt’s TJ, Michael in his XJ as well as Nick and Danika (guests)in his Fj80, and of course Casey in MissCreant and I (Gary M) in the MissUnderstood, that were meeting at 6:45am in South Everett Rest Area, actually called Silver Lake Rest Area. We got to the Rest Area at about 6:50am, and others were already there. We waited till about 7:10 for any stragglers then we hit the road.
We got into Puyallup area and heard over the radio that Nick had lost his license plate off his trailer… Then a little farther down the road, his ramp was starting to creep out. We hit a stop light and Ron jumped out to shove the ramp back in and we called it good till we stopped for gas. We got into Eatonville about 9:15 am, ahead of schedule, to see David and Jackson with their red YJ, who then joined in with our convoy. We also picked up John a candidate with a well built JK, and then Tim and Renee with a lifted yellow TJ, (I think). We got all fueled up and headed back onto the road.
As we drove the last leg I was getting nervous. Do I drag these new people out on the Busy Wild trail or try to take it easy on them? My stomach was getting a lil achy so I downed some more milk and frito’s. (Breakfast of champions). I figured I would wait and see at drivers meeting and play it by ear. We got to that staging area about 9:45am ish which is pretty good for Tamers and got my rig unloaded as others aired down and got ready for the 10am drivers meeting. A few stragglers pulled in including Rudi and Melissa with his red YJ, and then Steve yeager and his son Josh with his black Samruai. As well as Jeff in his red Jeep. I got a chance to do a once over and it looked like everyone had some decently capable rigs. So it was then that I decided what to do.
Drivers meeting 10am.
I went thru the usual safety items, and then laid it out. We were going to have an awesome day and do the Busy Wild Trail. I tried to set up the rigs in line to have locked differential rig, then unlocked rig, and then locked rig and unlocked rig. I was hoping this would help tug each other when needed. Rudi was gracious enough to bring up the rear as he has a strong radio and plenty of experience to help others when needed. I explained that each person needed to know their tow points and we would be using their winches today, A LOT! As well as everyone needing to pull their mirrors in, or face losing them. I think every rig had a working winch.
Hitting the trail…..
We hit the Sunrise trail, which Rudi had explained over the radio that is was a trail the Tamers had adopted years ago and he had actually done a lot of work on it. It was pretty cool to hear a lil history about it. We wandered through the woods and everyone seemed to be cruising right along. We came out of the woods onto the Mainline trail. I opted to keep everyone out of the Deep water trough that is deep enough to swallow my Samurai. I also wanted to put most our efforts onto the Busy Wild trail as I knew we would need most our time and efforts there. I came to entrance to Busy and double checked my two maps.. yes two maps, lol.
Sure enough this was it and with a turn to the right and up the hill we entered the Busy going the proper direction, as this is a designated one way trail. Up the hill through the woods around the stump that had me dancing and pirouetting a year ago, lol. Out into the open and we came down to entrance to the tree line of the Busy which is notorious for the muddy troughs that get so dug out. I see an area at the entrance with new rocks and small trough that had some big rocks in it and thought ,wow maybe they worked on the trail? A quick walk up into the trail and sure enough they hadn’t done much with trail. As I walk back towards the entrance area I went ahead and removed the mirror sitting in the trough and laid it up along the ledge, bringing back some my own memories.
As we worked our way into the toughest part of the busy wild trail I was thinking this isn’t quite as bad as when we did it last June. Sure enough someone had come in and cut drainage into some of the deeper troughs so they weren’t as deep. BUT, some spots were still very deep and tough. It was slicker than snot and some places very deep. At one point my feet just slipped right out from underneath me.. I heard gasps and people asking me if I was ok.. Im good…But geesh it must have looked bad. Another spot Dave was looking down into puddle asking, “I wonder how deep it is” just then Casey came by and SPLATTED right down into it spraying Dave completely with mud. Casey couldn’t stop her momentum at that point, but did later apologize for mudding Dave all up.
I got into what looked like just another trough of water. As I eased down into it my front tired disappeared abruptly. No backing out of this one I was committed. Making sure my locker was on I eased the rear down.. Glub glub glub, that was my exhaust. Hit the gas, I sink more.. Uhh Oh. Sure enough I was stuck in some nasty muk. I looked out and sure enough I think my 36 inch tires were gone.. I got winched out with help from Kurt and Travis pulling cable for me. Next was Kurt he too got stuck and winched thru. Next Came Candidate John in his well-built Jeep. He hit it with a lil momentum and sure enough he made it thru. A few others had to winched thru but most of the other capable rigs made it thru. We winched and tugged each other and even had to extract a log out from under Michaels rig. Michael had that log jammed up into his rear carriage we just about couldn’t get it out. Michael also got sandwiched between a root ball and tree or something and busted up his rear hatch pretty good. He did a trail fix and thankfully the glass as still intact. He later made a more secure fix for the drive home. Rudi also got a lil damage to his tail pipe section. Some bailing wire and quick trail fix got him back into the trail. We got the clearing area of the Busy and broke for long overdue snack/lunch break  about 2:30 ish. A little bit behind what I was hoping for.
As we sat there for a bit eating, bullshitting, we heard a truck coming down the back side, which is running reverse direction as should be for the trail. It was a stock Ford Explorer. Oh no, some of our guys went down to talk to them and told them best to turn around there as they would never get thru what we just went thru. We assured them we would not leave them on the trail and Rudi and Ed said they would put them in between them to be sure they got out.
I was thinking the worst was over with a little area we needed to climb up that is usually very slick with clay like footing for traction. I climbed up through without my rear locked, due to compressor problems, and was grateful I got good traction and made it without too much problem.  Kurt made it through and I guess he did it with the skinny peddle catching some air in the process. John had it a bit rougher as he kept getting hung up on a tree root sticking out. We got him through it but with loosening up his driver rear fender flare. Nick was also getting hung up pretty bad on that same root. I was more or less just watching as someone else was spotting for him when I saw what I though was that damn root tucking in above his rock rails. He got traction and it looked like that root just opened a can as he made forward progress. Later it was confirmed that stupid root had done a pretty good number on the rocker panel the whole length of his rig just above the rock rail. Oops. At this point the stock Ford was up farther on the trail, so we were able to direct others to the left of the now rutted and root sticking out. It was also getting dark.
I led the group out without too much of any other issues while Rudi and Ed volunteered to help the Ford out. We got out on the mainline parked and waited for the rest to follow. John at one point could not really make out which way the trail went so I hoofed it back with flashlight and guided him through. We waited at the top for a while and not seeing Rudi or Ed radioed back. Rudi was having some problems (bad fuel relay). He assure us he was alright and we stayed there waiting to be sure all was good. Ed radioed up a bit later saying we all at top. Some people were done for the day and it was dark and past 5pm.
I escorted some out the main road and then waited for the others to be sure everyone got out ok. I didn’t realize they still needed to secure Michaels hatch in etc. But one by one they came out of the woods leaving 4 of us to continue the adventure. Tim and Renee, Steve and Josh, Casey in her rig and me (Gary M) in my rig headed for the swamp trail. It was dark so everyone got to play with their lights. With enough space between each of us it was pretty cool seeing the lights meandering through the woods. So we go into the Gotcha trail which then leads you to kind of the back way into Swamp trail. We get ourselves into the swamp trail and we get to the long trough of water. This thing is deceiving as one end has a drop off which can block all forward progress from one end or drop you in like rock if going from the other end. Sure enough I dropped like a rock and kept a little momentum until I stopped. uh oh!! Reverse, nothing…. At this point I am hoping I am out of the water enough so my clutch doesn’t get mudded up… I am glubbing and burping in the water. forward ..oh an inch. I’ll take it… Turning wheels back and forth backwards ohh two inches. Forward again few more inches. Turning wheels back n forth.. finally catches in reverse and pop out of trough…wheew.
We scouted out a bybass that looked pretty solid and we all took that to back out and back on main line then to main road back to staging area. We aired up loaded up and got down the road about 7:30 ish time. We got home about 10:15 and got unloaded at which time I found out that at least my passenger door is not not water tight as I had about and inch of standing sticking water in. I think maybe I will go there nopw and drain it.. LOL I think everyone had time with minimal damage and most importantly no one got hurt.. It was a good run!!!
Thanks for reading,
Gary M.