Tonga Tree Run Dec 2020

I started off the day with hitting the alarm clock. I work a swing shift schedule so I usually don’t even know what that dang thing sounds like.
I got my coffee and took my time getting ready. I should have plenty of time.
Well I guess once I got in behind a guy speeding up then slowing down and speeding up and slowing down. Then stopping to top off fuel.
I got to the staging are right at 10am on the dot… Oops

By the time I had aired down and get ready to go I was running late at about 10:10. But then I noticed not many people there and some of them still airing down a bit as well.
cool. There was John V in his white jeep, and Moose and Mary in the their Tan Jeep, Chris B in his greenish looking jeep. And then I noticed a couple more rigs. A white Toyota 4 runner and a black Dodge 1500. I introduced myself to the Toyota couple and it was David and Casey who are candidates and then Moose and Mary had invited a family member Nick in the black Dodge Truck.

I was thinking this should be an easy day as the trail should be well worn and even stock rigs should be ok as long as they stay in the ruts.

I had been told that Ed and Curt had gone on up and would meet us at the fire pit area. And Steve Y was heading up the trail earlier as well. And I saw what appeared to be Karl’s tow rig, Anthony’s tow rig and as well as Tom B’s tow rig.
Once we got rolling it was about 10:20am.

We made out way up the trail without much incident. The cb chatter was friendly and entertaining as Moose kept us giggling and chatting back.

We rounded one corner only to see a HUGE rock right in the middle of the trail. Someone had out some reflective signs on each side but it was kind of weird? We bantered on the cb about how it looked like something Karl could be involved in.
We got decent snow at about the 2500 ft level and it just got more and more as we climbed up. By the time we got to the fire pit area there was plenty of snow but it was packed down nice and everyone was doing good. I saw what looked like several groups up there. There was a n FJ group and another group of rigs and parking was not very plentiful.

I decided to go along side the FJ group and try to pack down the right side of the trail as I went past. The FJ group had parked off the trail but still had their rigs partially on the packed part of the trail. Well as The New Toyota 4 runner (David) followed me his right side went deep into the snow and sure enough he got stuck. So, I backed up and tried just tugging a bit with a short strap but it wasn’t going to happen. I got out the kinetic strap the was so kindly given to me by Joe last year. Sure enough a couple tugs on that and David was out.

We hung around the firepit and stayed warm and watched as more rigs came up and said our hello’s to Ed and Curt and even Rick with the Dirty 13 was there.

We decided to mount up and get moving along about the same time others decided to as well. As we headed towards what my wife Casey calls the dead mans curve a guy was trying to get passed us on the left in some older but still soft ruts. He got stopped but could back up so with a little spotting and finally his foot a lil heavy on the skinny peddle he got around us. We made up to the curve where there was lots of room and the place was pretty packed down. The guy that passed our group had stopped and I figured he was with another group.

I thought I recognized him and asked where I knew him from? He told me he was friends with Rick T a friend of mine and that it was him in the suburban back there, as he pointed back. There was Rick in his suburban trying to get passed our group and was stuck to his axles. As his buddy hooked up to his rear I had to run back and get some picks and ask him if he was new, joshing him a bit. I told him My wife was going to LOVE these pics of him and it good to see him.

His buddy got him unstuck and he and his buds got around us and headed up the trail.
I figured at this point it was going to be best to just get our group moving along as every time we let anyone try to pass, they got stuck and took more time.
We proceeded up the trail for quite a ways then low and behold there was Rick by himself? I stopped for a quick check, and he just said he saw a nice tree so they were going to get it. His friends had proceeded up the trail. I didn’t stop very long as I wanted to keep the wagon train moving along slow and steady.

Onward up the trail and sure enough here is a group coming down, wait a minute I know these guys. It was Tom B and Rudi P and Karl VP and Anthony A. But I couldn’t quite figure what Anthony was driving? It looked to be a Hummer at first and I thought it was his School bus we tease him about. But then as I asked it looked like a hummer body panels on his bomber race car? He assured me it was just a body over it. LOL

I didn’t want to take too much time to keep my group and ALLL others behind us moving so we passed ways and onward up we went.
We continued up the trail to the intersection we normally take a right up to get to the bowl play area. But I decided with a couple stockish rigs and the fact from past experience that trail going up can get VERY slippery and dangerous especially coming down. So we decided to turn around here at this open spot and have lunch and get a couple trees. Yes this was a tree run..LOL

As I turned around and my group got turned around, I saw how many people were behind us..Sheesh a bunch of people. Ah well we all made it up and they went passed. We ate our lunch and John V decided to head up to the bowl to where Steve was still playing around. Ed and Curt had headed on down the main trail looking for some deeper snow.
It sounded like they all found what they were looking for and Curt had to get helped out once giving him at least 1 tow fee to owe.

Ed and Curt made it back and then John and Steve came down from the bowl so we all decided to head down together.

As we made our way down it sounded like Nick had a couple problems as we had to kind of scoot over a couple of time to let people coming up past us. But with Ed and John and Moose back there I felt confident things were going ok.

I tried to be sure and keep the pace slow so everyone could catch up from the minor tugs and pulls they needed.

At one point I asked if everyone was moving and coming along. The response was ..”yes we are doing good with the catch up, then moose said something about mustard, that led to some relishing in the mood, but someone else thinking it was a hot diggity dog, but that someone else had recently gotten a big pickle, but it turned out to be no big dill. LOL Sorry we try to have fun over the cb on our runs. I was laughing and enjoying everyone’s company.

We decided to go on past the fire pit on the way down but I know a few stopped to air up at that point. The trail was well worn and packed from that point down so airing up wasn’t a bad idea at that point.

We got back to the staging area and got everyone aired up and talked a bit.
I had noticed that my friend with the big Suburban had not come out yet and I was concerned he may need help. I tried to text him but I know cell service is spotty up there. We hung out for maybe another 30 minutes then decided to head out and if he needed any help he would contact me when he could.

We got out on the Highway and didn’t get too far and low and behold we got reminded that this was the first weekend ski resort was open as well as a parade in Sultan, and from what we heard an accident in Sultan as well.

My friend finally texted me back saying they were out of the woods and stuck in traffic. I assured him that we all were stuck in the traffic, lol.
Needless to say it took us about 3 to 31/2 hours to get home. Ah well its all part of the gig if you wheel up off of highway 2 anymore.

It sounded like everyone had a good time, there were no real breakdowns or too much trouble and people found deep snow where they wanted and others got some good experience to tuck into their belts.

Thank you all for coming and having such a great time on our Christmas tree run.
I appreciate everyone’s help and I apologize for being so late with this run report.

Gary Miller