Joe and I have been talking about running Pyramid pass FS70. For anyone who does not know Pyramid pass is just north of Naches pass. While planning for the run I setup google maps on my tablet. The funny thing is that google maps knows that highway 410 is closed and suggested that I drive over Fs70 instead. Can you imagine getting told by your GPS to go over a pass that is not passable by cars. That would not be good.
Joe took care of checking on the road, making sure it was going to be open and setting up the meeting time. Thankfully it was open until December 1st. The meet up time was 7:00 am at the Enumclaw Safeway. Despite the complaining from a few who will go unnamed, Joe made the right call on the start time. We would not get home until after 8:00 pm that night. Joe also volunteered to run tail the whole trip. Thanks Joe! Stuff like this makes running lead a little easier.
Most of us made it to Safeway on time and after a quick meeting to remind everyone to keep 6 feet away from each other we headed out. In the group we would have Joe, Shawn, JohnV, Shan, Cosmin, Gary, Steven and Rudy, Evan, Zhangwei (pronounced Johnway) and Wendy and I in her Jeep.
While driving up 410 google maps decided to switch routes for me and wanted me to drive over 410. This happened as soon as I got out of cell range. Thankfully I knew that I needed to turn just after the little town of Green water. From there I could navigate using Gia GPS. Up the road and past y which would take you to the start of the Naches trail. Red eye run anyone? We stopped to air down. I with no bead locks dropped to 10PSI. The climb on the west side of the pass the was relatively easy. The snow had been packed since the weekend before when they had 3 feet of fresh snow. Gary being one of my top 10 favorite Suzuki samurai owners was celebrating his birthday on the trail. We had cup cakes, home made cookies and more. Side noteâ€¦ The Tamers are light weights when it comes to sweets so donâ€™t over buy and cook too many cookies we had way too much. Someone also tied a large pickle to the back of the Sammi. My what a nice pickle you have Gary. He responded that it was really not that big of a dill.
Although it looked like it was going to be a complete cake walk looks can be deceiving. From reading the snow and yes I can do that to a point, (not as well as I could when I was 20) there was a lot of rain with several freezing and thawing cycles followed by about 2 inches of new snow that week. This means that it looked fine until it wasnâ€™t. Meaning easy until you hit a soft spot and broke through. I was hitting a few soft spots here and there. Then climbing a small hill I ran into one. Then the front wheels dropped. Each time I broke through I was able to back out. I think I would have made it through with time but I did not want to hold anyone up and called Evan to drive past me. Evan floated by without an issue. I drove in Evans tracks and it was enough to get me through. It is a amazing to how a few inches of tire can make so much difference. On the radio I heard of others getting stuck. As it turned out the 35inch tire requirement was a good idea. They were the ones falling through the snow. The big tire rigs were having no issue at all. The light on the trail was pretty flat which made it hard to see. We were making some good time when I heard that Shawn was hearing noises coming from the TJ. Oh crapâ€¦.. The good news is that we had several members with us that know there way around a wrench.
So off with the diff cover. Rudy and Steven had a portable bucket that we used to catch the fluid. Shawn had the front diff off in no time and removed several teeth which were working there way around the gears. Back on the road again we started heading down the east side . The trail fix did not hold for long and soon Shawnâ€™s diff was making noise again. Shawn opted to keep driving until we could get to drier and warmer ground. We tucked Shawn in behind us so he could help set the pace. Shawn drove the rest of the way off the hill in two wheel drive and some how managed not to get stuck. Good drive Shawn. We passed many snowmobiles and lots of good scenery. We also crossed the Naches trail. It looks like it would have been a fun year for the Red eye.
Next we hit the road that leads out to 410. Along the way we passed several people looking for Christmas trees. We found a good spot to pull off the road and got to work pulling Shawnâ€™s ring gear.
Back on the road we hit Gold Creek station for a late lunch. Zhangwei (pronounced Johnway) said he needed to head out and was going to take off. He pulled out and started heading the wrong way. I waved and yelled but he did not hear me. John got on the radio and tried to call him. No luck. Johnway was now going the wrong way. He did make it all the way to the road closed sign for 410 before turning around. It did sound like it was meant to be as he saved a Subaru that was stuck. He did pass us on his way home and he was able to update us on the radio. (Zhangwei thank you for joining us)
A few notes that I would like to call out. First off to have this kind of a break down on the trail and to keep your cool my hat is off to Shawn. Also how this issue was handled by the club is one reason I am a member. Everyone was there to help with whatever was needed. All the gear oil was recovered and packed out. Steven and Rudy donated a bag of gear oil which is very cool because you donâ€™t need a funnel. Any group of wheelers can have a good day when everything goes right but a great group has a good day when something really goes wrong. I am glad to be part of the latter.
See you next time. Same club different time and trail.