Rob (RBXj) had his son-in-law doing triple duty today. Winch guy, picture taker and co-pilot. We left in two rigs from Robs place in Buckley to the air down area at the bottom of the hill.
Rob's Xj is locked front & rear on 34's, and mine is locked up front with the trac-lock in back. Not ideal, but I'll be upgrading a bit more come spring.
Generally I go down to 8lbs, and Rob around 12, but today I went to 9lbs for a change.
Many of you know that just a week or so ago, two guys in their early 20's were going up (or down...) the access road to Evans Creek when a deer crossed their path. The driver over corrected and lost control of his Toyota, and went over the edge. He survived the multiple rolls the rig went through. Gathering himself together he checked on his buddy who wasn't doing so good. He knew had had to seek help, and fast.
As the story goes, he'd somehow lost his shoes in the fracas, but his instinct must have told him there was no time to find them, so he took off barefoot seeking help.
Barefoot on the gravel access road he walked an estimated 10+ miles seeking help for his buddy.
He arrived at the Carbonado fire Station, and led the rescue team to the site of the incident.
They arrive, and hike down the embankment to locate his friend, but he was no longer in the truck. He was there when the guy left for help, but was gone now...
The rescuers began searching for the guy, and ultimately located him an estimated 500' or so down the hillside.
When they got to him, they found that he didn't make it. He was dead.
It must have been a huge disappointment to his buddy who'd demonstrated nothing short of heroic behavior to get his buddy the help.
I can go wheeling often, and become complacent with the routine of the access roads & trails, I have to admit that to myself. And driving up or down those access at 30 - 40 mph, maybe more on 8lbs of air doesn't lend itself to anything remotely sane. Slow down I remind myself, slow down.
As we drove by the area where that young guy lost his life, I was mindful once again. Someone loved him, and now he's gone.
Were they drinkin? I have no idea. None of the reports I read mentioned anything of the kind.
We did the lower 311, upper 311, lower 520 and by the time we got to the rock garden at the upper 520 the snow was coming down.
We made our way over to the 519, and headed back down.
Along the way, just before we got to the only two obstacles on the 520 that visit any kind of pucker at all, we came across two rigs in repair mode on the trail.
A Toyota, and a Yj both on 35's. The Yj had lost his front driveline, and they were trying to stuff it back in. Careful not to spill their beers, there was no sense of urgency on their part to clear the trail.
Instead they said we were going the wrong way on the trail. that the 519 was one way only, "up".
This was news to us, as we've always come down the 519, though one time we did make a u-turn and go back up those two obstacles for the fun of it. I have to admit that when I did it, it wasn't pretty, though I made it without incident.
4x4-ing on the trails means to many it's time to drink & drive, essentially with immunity. While I thoroughly understand the "why" of it, I can't bring myself to drink on the trails. Afterwards we usually stop for a bite & a cold one, and today was no exception. This time we stopped at the Carbonado Tavern. A small and friendly place they make a huge burger.
A few games of pool with the youngster in our group, had an unexpected outcome for him. Presumably he thought he'd clean the floor with me by beating me senseless at billiards. However, I went 3 for 3, and he had that "deer in the headlight'" look when we were done. However, he didn't lose control, didn't go over the edge and roll, he was going home to his wife that night.
I can only imagine that the family of the deceased young man is having a terrible time this holiday season. My heart goes out to them.
Here's a link
to a few more pics, and a short video taken that day