Fathers Day Weekend At Liberty Jun 2011

Well the original plan was to camp at Liberty and then run over to Manashtash to clear the Divide Trail for the Forest Service but due to circumstances beyond our control the plan was scrapped and we just ended up running trail at Liberty. It was a hard decision to make as the FS Trail Team was counting on us to make this happen but given the situation it was deemed appropriate that we wait and coordinate closely to make it all happen on another weekend. All of the people that were coming over for the day were contacted and notified of the change to the plan. As a result a few stayed home and a couple still came over for the day to run trails at Liberty. I am going to stop and make an observation here. I hope that Manashtash and Taneum are opened back up again soon because it was an off weekend and Liberty was packed with rigs, quads, bikes, and people. If this is a sign of what it is going to be like this year then it is in our best interest to help get Manashtash opened back up as soon as possible in order to make sure Liberty is not over used. OK back to the write up. Penny, Tom, Jamie, Katie, and the kids all got to the campground first and I think saved the last area in which we were going to be able to fit the group. As it was Jana and Roger had to move a little ways away to find a flat spot but we were all with in shouting distance. Others that were able to camp were Steve with his son Josh, Ted, John, Gina, Rudi, Melissa, Alex, and Cassidy. After a leisurely dinner a fire was started and we all sat around to enjoy the night. Did I mention there was a real CAMPFIRE. The next morning we woke up to the remains of a some rain that happened over night and Moose driving in with Curt and Rachael in tow soon to be followed by Ray and his co-driver. With the group all there we pretty quickly loaded up and headed for the trail. Since everything was open now we started with the lower 4w319 and ran it all the way through. In the middle of the lower section there is a hill with a trench from rain on the right that has a real soft muddy spot at the bottom. Anyone that did not have 37 inch tires did not make it through with out winching due to the ruts. At least I was in good company. The hill after the hole presented a challenge for a few as the wetter it got the easier it was the slide into the rut created by the water and get stuck forcing you to back all the way down and try to ride the high side again to get past. Everyone eventually made it and we all moved on to rear end hill. The memorial is still in good condition but people have been shooting at the cliff warning sign. The idiots were not able to put holes through the 3/16 inch plate but they did make some divots and the sign is going to need some yellow paint to fix it up again. After a quick lunch we moved on to do the rest of the 4w319 of which the next section was the stair step. Everyone made it through just fine and Jana needed a little tug because she was running open-open due to a failure with the lockers, but everyone made it through just fine. At this point a solo rig came up behind use and in true Tamer fashion we offered a few bits of advice and he was through also and tagged along at the end. This turned out to be a very good thing later on. With the stair step done we moved on across the rock slide and into the trees where we started to see the first patches of snow hiding here and there in the shadows. Then there was a little hear and there on the trail to tease us with the possibility of an interesting situation. Before we saw to much though we came to a large tree that had snapped off blocking the trail. There was short bypass but it was deemed by all that it was much better to restore the trail than to continue the use of the bypass. The Toms pulled there saws out, a chain, snatch block, and strap were used. Then in no time at all the butt of the log was pulled off the trail and moved into a position to block the bypass. Tom also showed his artistic ability putting the every popular TT into the log butt so that everyone that drives by knows who has the big tools. With the log cleared we all took off down the trail seeing a little more snow with each turn. In fact the first real patch of snow was on a down hill corner turning to the left which I had a little trouble with but got through OK. Then as I crested the top of the next hill I hear Johns train whistle and immediately remembered that I had forgot to turn the volume back up on the CB after winching the log. Well I turned it back up and heard that Moose had lost the tire carrier along with tire off Mary’s Jeep. The solo rig that we had helped out at the stair step found it and let us know. Well no good dead goes unpunished because when John set off his whistle to get my attention he took his attention off the trail just long enough to fall off the edge. This turned out to be just enough to get him caught on a log and stuck requiring the winch. But with team effort he was back on the trail and ready to go by the time Tom had caught up with the tire and carrier secured in the back of the Jeep for later repair. On we went to clear a few more trees as we went but the real story for the remainder of the day was the snow. It was just where you expected to see it, in the shadows and always on a hill. The first couple of patches went ok but I have to admit that I did turtle once and the belly pan froze instantly making it a little difficult for John to pull me off. After that I was a little more careful and patient which paid off in the end. We hit three more large patches of snow on the trail but the worst of them all was the last one. It was on a side hill and there was a dead tree on the down hill side right were you could slide into it. I lucked out and after dropping the pressure down in the tires to the single digits I was able to crab walk across the snow patch with my front bumper on the uphill side of the trail and my spare tire just brushing the trees and snag on the down hill side. It would not be so easy for the people following me. John had to winch in the end to get up on top of the snow and at about the halfway mark was able to get enough traction to make it the rest of the way. Ted was next and was able to make it most of the way but got hung up against the dead tree. It cost him a passenger door and the glass in it but after using the winch to get past the dead tree he was able to drive it the rest of the way. Steve put his rig in compound low then proceeded to show everyone how to crawl across with out issue. Jamie was next taking a high line which worked out for him and he was able to make it across ok. Ray took the same line and was able to do the same thing on the high line. Curt tried to go high but ended up sliding down against the dead tree and having to winch in order to avoid damage. Penny took the high line but had to take a winch after sliding down low. Next came Jana who was able to get as far as Penny did but then slide down low and needed to winch. Then finally came Moose and while moving a little faster than the normal speed of Moose was able to creep across on the high line and make it through. The solo rig that was behind us then came through at speed and wanted to know what the issue was. By this time it was 6:30pm and the group decided that dinner was in order so we headed back to camp the fast way on the black top which comes out just below the stair step. We turned off onto the gravel and then eventually were back on the 4W319 heading for camp. About this time it came over the radio that Ray had broken a front leaf spring so we all went back to see what could be done letting a couple of other groups of rigs go past. In the end it took some more creative chain saw art from Tom B along with Steve’s on board welder and Teds welding skills to cobble the Toyota back together so it would make it to camp. Later it was heard that Ray said the patch made the ride no worse that it normally was. Hats off to the repair team. It was smooth sailing then back down rear end hill and then down the forest service road to camp. A camp fire, some dinner, and some beverages rounded out what was exclaimed to be by more than a few a great day of wheeling.