Walker Feb 2017

I was elected by my wife to be trail Leader for this run. Seeing as her truck was down in the garage and I wasn’t at the meeting she volunteered “us” to be trail leaders. Hehe.We all met up at the Walker Valley Main staging/parking area and it seemed everyone was on time. Everyone was aired down and pretty much ready to roll by 10:15. We held a drivers meeting and I saw lots of familiar faces and a few new ones as well. So we went thru the basics. I tried to eyeball rigs and they all seems to be at minimum lifted and decent tires. I ask for raising of hands for anyone without a CB and saw that it appeared everyone had one and then winches. Only 1 rig without a winch. Cool!

My thoughts were to keep the trails somewhat simple but challenging. The weather was drizzling and this would keep up the entire day, so things were slick and Muddy. I led the way out and headed south to the southern gate keeper to keep the Jk’s off that upper tight gate keeper. On the way down we ran into a Toyota truck that was heading the opposite direction and he yelled out if he could join us? I held a thumbs up and he joined in line making a total of 14 rigs now.

We got to the gate keeper and two people were there looking at the gate. I asked them to check to see if it was definitely locked and it was.. Those two guys explained that the one in his Toyota FJ60 was new and wanted to watch us get thru the gate keeper and also if they could tag along with us. The other guy in a fairly well built FJ40 land cruiser had some experience and new the trails. They seemed friendly enough so we said sure.

So now we are 16 strong.. Pretty big group. One person questioned if we should break up into a couple groups, but I figured by sticking together and moving along we could be ok as all rigs were pretty well built.

We got into the Timber Tamers trail and with such a large group we made pretty good progress. With radio chatter going and people looking out for each other we got thru the lower portion of Timber Tamers….. Well almost. The guy in the FJ60 ha some problem with the mud and we ended up winching him thru the rough spot. He heard some bad noises at one point and decided he would lock his rig up and join his buddy in the FJ40 for the rest of the day.

The upper portion of the Timber Tamer trail was pretty uneventful. Some people crawled over the BIG rock other went around. The trail was muddy and slick but everyone made it thru pretty quickly. As we made it out of the Timber Tamer trail  and crossed over to the Easy Valley connector trail, Ron Mader in his “beast” was radioing up front that he had the rear and was making progress thru the trail. There was the regular radio chatter banter about Ron being the rear end of the pack and keeping the mood light and fun.

As we went across the small bridge that is on the Easy Valley Connector Trail Casey had to get on Radio to let Heidi know we were crossing a bridge, (Heidi is not fond of bridges). A few minutes later we heard Heidi come up on Radio that they were across the bridge. We went passed the Ridge Ram rock climb trail as it would be nothing but a mess this day and most rigs in group probably wouldn’t do too well. We got up to the main Ridge Ram trail and into the woods. It was about noon now and we figured we could get thru this trail and then up to maybe skills area for lunch? So as we went thru the Ridge Ram trail and making the 60 point, or rather the 59 ½ point turn at that muddy slick spot with the stump, the radio chatter turned to brown slick stuff. The chatter went down hill fast from there and pretty soon people were singing, “Sliding into first and you feel something burst,,,diarrhea”, And every derivative and verse produced with that song. It was pretty dang funny and we were all laughing over the radio. That trail has some tight windy spots in it and as we exited I decided to kind of hold up regroup the whole lot before get going. As the last of the group came out of the woods I realized how big a group we were. We would not all fit into the skills area for lunch break and radioed to all we would hit the nearby gravel pit for a photo shoot and lunch. That little Toyota, the one we picked up along the trail had probably gotten a bit tired of the slow progress and he pulled out and went ahead of us. He waved and gave thumbs up on way past. We headed towards the gravel area and had not gotten to far when Ron jumped on radio that He lost his tranny? What??? So we pulled off and within a few minutes he had it back up and going. Onward..

We all made it into the Gravel area and I jumped out to try to arrange the rigs to be visible for a photo shoot… Geesh lots of rigs…Uggghhh… We got some in a line up high and a second line lower and then a third line at base of gravel pit.. and low and behold I think it made for a nice photos. Everybody took pictures and of course someone had to do “poser shot” which was Chris in his Toyota 4 runner perched up high on rocks. It really was quite impressive poser shot!  Casey brought out the meal from the “easy bake oven” and showed it off to others. And some others got their food out from their ovens too..i think there was a couple more that had bought that Koolatron 12 volt oven from amazon..LOL

We got our lunches ate and talked a bit. But as the weather was chilly and drizzly we got back onto the trails. Humps and Bumps was next on the list. The entrance to humps and Bumps from this side could be a bit tricky as there are a few nasty large rocks making it quite twisty and tough for smaller suspensions. I have been through this trail lots of times and there are a couple lines that will work with smaller suspensions and we got Rick though with his almost stock JK as well as Tina and Rafeal (spelling) in their Totota 4 runner that appeared to be pretty new. I think Austin in the YJ had a bit of a time with this area as well. Things were starting to go a bit slower now but still seemed to be going alright for such a large group.

We made it out of Humps and bumps and onward toward the “Around the sound” trail, I think other than being a bit twisty in places everyone made it through this with not much of a problem. I had originally thought I want to get this group up into the northern area trails. By the “express way” and the “upper main line” trails. After everything we went thru so far I figured maybe the lower “express way” would be a little bit tough with traction for some so we will stick to the upper main line and the small loop that only gets into the upper part of expressway. Well that didn’t work out to well.

As we started down the Upper main line I noticed lots of huge rocks and didn’t ever remember them being there. Well this was going to be fun.
The larger rigs made it through without much problem and I tried to park down far enough o get everyone through without having to move my rig up. But the time I got parked and exiting my rig I was hearing people saying things on radio about the silver Toyota 4 runner being stuck and ready for “Gary”..Uh Oh!!

Now I have to tell you I do love spotting and getting rigs through tough spots but this was pretty big rocks and couple steep drop offs. The silver Toyota was now perched on his right side with his rock rail slightly bent. And he was STUCK. We ended up getting Tim to back up his jeep to hook up the Toys winch and have the Rafael winch himself towards Tims rig. This worked pretty well and on the next rig. Rick was next in his Jk and I think someone suggested we get a rig in front of him besides the 4 runner in case we needed to winch or tug or ?? This would prove to be needed in a short while. Heidi made it down thru the rocks on the right side without too much trouble and stationed herself to be ready if needed to hook to ricks rig. I studied the lines and the path and people were noticing it. I heard someone yell out they would give me 10 bucks if I could get Rick through “unscathed”.

Well I gave it my best, but ended up with a bent trailer wiring bracket and scratches on one wheel and a dent in his muffler.. Not a big dent in muffler but still a dent. And we had to tug him off the rocks using Heidi’s rig. We had stacked rocks for his tires to come down on and I must thank all who helped with stacking as my back was not feeling good at that point. Next up was Austin, Jon and Heidi’s son. With bald tires but a two inch lift this wasn’t going to be fun. With two rigs on the same line not faring well I decided to bring him down at a different line and it worked well. No dents no damage and on his own power. He drove well and soon we were all off to the next obstacle.

As we drove down upper main line there is a little trail to the right that loops back up to expressway and it is a bit steep little trail along and edge that I know for one Casey hates. But it’s a good trail and not too bad..or soo I thought. Soon after you get off the upper main line you have to loop up high and then take a HARD left up and over an old downed tree. If you have a bit a momentum you can almost bounce up and over this tree and I tried to get on radio to let everyone know to do this. I watched and the two rigs behind me made it ok and we proceeded up the trail. Only to find another rig coming down the trail. We had seen him earlier in the day and he knew we were a large group. So he backed WAAAYYYY up the trail which was NOT easy to let us come through.
What I didn’t know was that everyone else was having a heck of a time with that downed tree. I know John in his white modified Tj got up and over it but then soon after decided to try to go through two tight trees instead of around them and busted his mirror. He told me he was messing with his mirror as he got to a tight spot in the trail, he hit and bounced off a rock and slid his front end over off the trail and partially down an embankment. Now he didn’t go too far down the embankment, but the ground was SUPER soft and giving way from all the rain we have been having. I am not sure who but some got a cable on him and got him back up on the trail.

All this was going on with people getting stuck and winched over the “downed tree” etc. All while us three were going up the trail.. I heard scattered radio chatter and was beginning to wonder if I had made a mistake on trail choice and hoping everyone was ok. I knew Ron Mader was taking up the rear and I heard Christina on the radio a couple times saying Jason was out of the rig. So I knew they had good people working the problems. We waited for about 40 minutes and finally saw people coming out of woods back onto the logging road. We regrouped up got head count to make all we present and headed back to the staging area to air up and head home.

I want to thank EVERYONE who help each other and looked after each other to make it another good run for the group. We had no injuries and only small carnage to a few rigs. Thanks for your patience and coming out for the run!.

My apologies for the rambling words of the run report…LOL