Today members of Fairbanks' Frozen Axles Offroad club (Frozen Axles Offroad - Powered by vBulletin
) went on a trail ride from Murphy Dome to Chatanika River. Murphy Dome is a 3,000 foot tall mountain with an Air Force radar station on top, and the trail we rode on leads down the mountain to the Chatanika River, which like any other river in Alaska, has great fishing! But we weren't fishing today, just riding.
No one seemed to know the condition of the trail. The only two guys on our group that had ridden it before said it used to be a 6 foot wide trail with some hard spots, including two water crossings. The thing is, this year we had a humongous forest fire in that area and the trail had been used as an access point for the fire fighting vehicles.
When we got to the "trail" it was now a semi-graded road wide enough for three vehicles... determined to make the 13 miles to the Chatanika River we pressed on, hoping the trail would get better...
Despite the "trail" now being more a road than a proper trail we had some fun today. Ron and wife, Matt (bootsless) and puppy, Shane, Corey and I showed up.
We met up at a local super market parking lot and soon were on the trail head. No one aired down their tires because the trail looked easy, and we were off. We found some mud along the way, but nothing to get stuck on. I think if anyone put their rig in low range gears it was only to keep the speed under control. The ride to the Chatanika River was a breeze.
On the way back Corey had some issues with his Jeep running hot but he made it out under his own power, pulling over when his temperature went up. We were back at the top of Murphy Dome by 2 pm and made it back home. It was another fun four wheeling day.
Shane, Ron and Matt with his puppy in front of Shane's Suzuki and Matt's TJ.
Ron's and Corey's Jeeps.
My TJ looking semi-clean before getting dirty on the trail.
Ron said this used to be a 6 foot wide trail before this year's Minto Flats fires. The firefighters had it widened to a three car wide road. You could probably make it all the way on a sedan now.
Our first stop was on a lookout that viewed the Minto Flats. You can see the at the bottom of the picture how close the fire got to Fairbanks: closer than any of us had suspected.
Three Jeeps and a Sammi at the stop.
Shane posing next to his Sammi with his reeferman hat... Shane was riding his daily driver Samurai because his lifted Sammi was broken awaiting parts. He had to endure many jokes about wheeling on a toy car...
We had to pull over once for a potty break for Matt's puppy... it was a false alarm.
Ready to roll after puppy potty break. Where's the Suzuki?
This is the closest thing to an action shot I got today: Corey splashing some mud on one of the many wet potholes along the way.
In no time we made it to the river bank, a little dirtier than when we started.
That's what it's all about!
Determined to do some wheeling other than graded roads we stopped on a rock pile on the way back. We couldn't resist putting our rigs on the rocks!
Ron was the first to climb the pile and pose for some shots.
And a Zuki too!
Ron and Matt pulled up on the side of the rock pile for a flex contest. Ron tried so hard to beat Matt his springs almost popped out and were up for grabs...
Still determined to get some trail wheeling, Ron took us on a narrow side trail, but unfortunately Corey's TJ was running hot and we had to turn around after it cooled off.
We made it out in one piece and drove home, my Jeep now covered in mud... again!
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