It was a wet morning for the 6 of us. Me, Doc, Dean, Joe, and Mihai. Chris Steimel would meet up later. After the air down session, E&E paperwork, and a brief drivers meetings away we went. Straight towards Timber Tamers trail. Considering I just replaced balljoints on the XJ i chose not to try the big rock at the beginning. Doc gave it a shot and with a bit of spotting over he went. Good job Doc! Leading thru the rocky area i fought a bit .
As always the terrain had changed. Rocks were kinda all bottled up causing a little throttle action. Persistence paid off for me. After i made my way to the top I got out to do some spotting. Dean with a bit of spotting climbed thru . Mihai struggled quit a bit considering 33 all-terrain. With lots of rock stacking he managed to conquer thru till the stump area. This area just a wee bit challenging. So as a spotter I chose winching was best. It had been over an hour already on this trail. Calm, collective Mihai winched his way thru. After we had collected his gear he had noticed he couldn’t steer to the right. With some investigating they found that the steering stabilizer has moved behind the tie rod and was bent. Removal was necessary. While fighting Timber tamers Chris was able to catch up to us and joined in as we moved onto Ridge Ram, then the gravel pit for some hill climb and Doc attempting the rocks. After a little chit chat and snacking we motored upward to Humps and bumps into the skills area. Dean was the 1st to try the rocky hill climb. With the wetness today just wasn’t happening. So he chose to winch up. Doc gave his shot in open/open and made it look easy. I was next. I must have spend 15 minutes trying to conquer this area. Jamming my shackle into the rock backing up eventually Joe had to place a few rocks for me to gain clearance to back down for a bigger run at it. Slipping, sliding to end up crossed up on the obstacle. it was evident that i could lay this thing on its side. With some jockeying around i was able to back down with defeat. Skills area had no other takers. After some discussion with the wider rigs we had decided to exit out the north gatekeeper. So, onto Around the Sound and then down Expressway. Expressway seemed steeper this time around.. Lots of logs over the trail to navigate around. Plus still super wet. Hadn’t rained on us though. Usually when I lead i go down Mainline, then up Expressway. But timeframe chose Expressway to be quicker down than Mainline. Lots up skidding down this trail over the steep rocks. Once I reached the difficult rock area I heard Doc say that he heard a de-bead. After some waiting I heard Chris say that Mihai had laid his jeep on its side just behind the bend. As i walk back, sure enough! Picture perfect shot Heidi took. Making sure they’re ok. We scramble to get his friend out, while Doc is making a plan for recovery. Calm Mihai says no hurry, make sure someone gets good pics. Winched to a tree and upright Mihai comes. Then we set up to fix the de-bead. With a jack and some air, it beaded up just fine. Once we were ready to roll I slid into the bank and took out a taillight. The others chose to not take my line down this slope. Some things i just don’t understand? Reaching the gatekeeper i squeeze thru. Mihai and Chris make it, Dean in reverse, Doc with some finagling and then Joe. I think we reached the parking area around 5:30. Quite a day for some. Of course, almost every trip with me becomes interesting. For those who didn’t make it I believe we have a new cowbell owner and a few tow fees. Thanks to those who made it fun and the spotters.
Thanks Chris TT#322