To keep this thread alive, I'm going to post some of the adventures I have in my Jeep here, too. this one was a good learning experience.
The weather had been great here the past few days, and I wanted to have a littler more fun before I came back to Kentucky. Trey and I had bought some night crawlers to go fishing, but never got a chance to use them (they've been in my fridge since July 4th). I decided that I'd try to find a good spot to go fishing and use up as many of the night crawlers as I could. Grizzly Gulch is a short drive away, and somewhere that my dad had recommended fishing. I loaded up the jeep with my fly rod, waders, and a few provisions and headed off for the day. The road up most of Grizzly Gulch is gravel, but passable by two wheel drive vehicles. I opted to go a little further, on a forest service road that was in fair condition, high clearance 4 wheel drive at worst. There were a few small creek crossings, and some rocky areas, but overall, the road was pretty easy. It followed
and I got out of the Jeep periodically to check the stream and see if there was any potential for fishing. The stream was fairly small and didn't look too promising, so I kept going up the gulch, in hopes of finding a pond. I came to a section of road that looked a bit more difficult, and less traveled, but walked the road for a short distance and decided to give it a shot. There was s fairly difficult spot with a steep break over angle and a large rock that I didn't think I could clear. A path around the obstacle had been created by other vehicles that went through a narrow section of trees, so I decided to take that route (I forgot to take a picture of the obstacle). The bypass was on a slight side slope and when the rear wheels went over a root, the back end of the Jeep slid into a tree. A short, stubby branch gave me a nice love tap.
I made it through the bypass, only to see that several trees had fallen across the trail 40 yards later. There was another bypass, but this time I decided to walk further down the trail to make sure it was worth continuing. The trail had deteriorated severely, and after another 50 yards, another set of trees had fallen across the trail, completely blocking it with no alternative way around. I had driven as far as I could go without a chainsaw and would have to turn around. Needless to say the trail was pretty narrow, so turning around was an adventure in itself. I managed to get turned around between two trees, though both bumpers were hitting the trees each time I pulled forward or backwards. I was definitely glad to have steel bumpers at that point. After nearly making the 180 degree turn, I ended up with my right front tire just off the trail, between a rotting stump and a small tree. The Jeep was pretty well flexed out (though the front sway bar was still connected). and I just couldn't get enough traction to back up the slight incline onto the trail.
You can see I had very little room to rock the Jeep, or get momentum to back over the stump. The front bumper rested against the tree almost every time I stopped. The front left tire was spinning on some slick rocks, the front right tire was spinning on the rotting stump, and since I hadn't disconnected the front sway bar, the rear right tire wasn't making much contact with the ground. I also hadn't aired my tires down, thinking it wouldn't be necessary, because the road was in relatively good shape (I also don't have a reliable method for airing my tires back up, yet).
I keep a small shovel in my Jeep, so the first thing I tried was digging the stump away. I got part of it out, but I don't have an ax (yet), so I couldn't get the whole stump out. I was able to back up a little further after that, but was still slipping on the stump. I was definitely stuck, and not getting out under the Jeep's power. Luckily, a good friend had given me a hand winch and a snatch strap as going-away gifts before I left Kentucky. Right now, those are really my only two recovery accessories, but they definitely saved my trip. Since I don't have a tree strap (yet), I used the snatch strap to wrap around a tree, then connected one end of the winch to the strap and the other to the hook in the receiver on the back of my Jeep. Several cranks later, the front right tire was sitting on top of the stump. But that wasn't good enough. I tried backing up, but the tires still didn't have enough traction to get the Jeep back up onto the trail.
(Granted, this is just a soft shell jacket, but I didn't have anything heavier to put over the winch line)
I needed to find another tree to loop my snatch strap around. It turns out that the max range of the hand winch was only about six feet, and since I only had one strap, my tree options were limited. After wrapping the strap around a couple different trees that were either too close, or too far away, I figured out the small tree behind the first one I had use was the perfect distance away.
This time, I managed to pull the Jeep just far enough past the stump and towards the trail to give the tires enough traction to get all the way back onto the trail.
On the way back through the bypass of the obstacle, The right side of the Jeep slid into the same tree that dented my lift gate. I didn't think that it had done any damage, though I later noticed it had indeed given me another love tap. All the little dings are unfortunate, but I suppose they build character.
The whole process took around an hour. I was in the woods, a decent distance from civilization, and every time I heard a noise, I'd frantically search around the Jeep for any sign of an unwelcome animal, namely bears. Needless to say, this experience caused a shift in my priorities, and I've got a list of accessories I'll be investing in very soon, namely more recovery straps, shackles, an ax, and bear spray. I also learned that it's a good idea to disconnect the front sway bars and air down no matter how tame the trail looks.
In spite of the brief scare of being stuck in the woods, I did have a good trip, and at least saw some cool ruins and great houses along the way. This house was pretty far up Grizzly Gulch and had solar power and an outhouse. In the winter, I'm sure it's only accessible by snow machine. Pretty sweet.
for the rest of the pictures from this little adventure
I did manage to go fishing that day, though only in Clear Creek, near I-70, which is still too high for good fishing. I caught a few small rainbow trout, but didn't get any pictures. The only decent size one I caught was a female that started releasing eggs as soon as I got her out of the water, so I released her as quickly as possible. Here's a picture of an old wooden damn that I fished above. It must be from the gold and silver rush days, but has survived pretty well.