Near Mt Rainier in Washington State
May 26th, 2012
This past saturday a friend joined me for a Jeep run down to one of my favorite ORV parks, Evan's Creek, along with forum members SnoqualmieTJ, PhilipJ, and Issytj. The weather was pretty good most of the time and we had the top down throughout the day. It was a bit of a drive down to the meeting point where we met up with a few other guys from Jeepforum.com, then we headed up to the trails.
It was a busy weekend with Memorial day and all. There was a ton of trail traffic. Right off the bat we came upon a group of 7-8 rigs that were going slow. Everyone pulled off to the side of the trail and let us through and we continued on, bumping and scrambling up the side of the mountain. This pattern would be repeated several times that day as we encountered other groups.
We needed to break out the winches several times to get a few of the Jeeps up some slick sections of trail. Then, on one of the tougher trails, nearly at the top, one of the rigs blew his radiator in a huge explosion of steam. At first we thought it might be the cap depressurizing. So we added more coolant and pressed on and reached the top of the 197. From there it was getting late and the rig was still steaming so we decided to call it a day and head down off the mountain.
Not long after we started down on the 198 we quickly ran into the back of another group that was dealing with their own broken down rig. So we turned off on the 196, a little used side trail, to by pass this group. And after a short time ran into ANOTHER group coming up the mountain. They let us through and as we were nearly past them some teenager came scrambling up the hill around a corner waving his arms saying not to come down further. It turns out there was another stalled vehicle blocking our descent.
Holy crap?! Really.
The most expedient thing to do was to lash my Jeep to a tree and then pay out my winch line to get the stalled rig out of the way. We pulled out almost all the line just to reach him and we almost had to wind in all the line, too.
Finally we could get going again, narrowly squeezing past a stump with the use of a winch to help drag the broken rig DOWN the hill and away from some stump roots threatening to cave in his doors and body panels.
Just past this point we ran into yet another group coming up the hill. Oof. They were rather impatient and so we pulled off and let them through, then continued on down the last little bit to the gravel access road. From there we shifted back into 2WD and hooked up the broken rig to my Jeep and started hauling him out of the ORV park.
We made it another 1-2 miles when we were blocked by yet another group of rigs. Turns out we had caught up with the group with the broken down rig. They were in the process of getting it loaded on to a flat bed truck by winching the rig up a hill and driving the flat bed truck under it.
FINALLY they finished up and we headed off the mountain, towing our friend with the burst radiator 15 miles back into town where we waited with him for the tow truck.
Man, it was nuts on Saturday with all the trail traffic. Fun. . . but nuts.
Thanks all who came down! It was great meeting SnoqualmieTJ and Issytj, and it was good to see PhillipJ again. I had a lot of fun with the run.
This is our group figuring out the best way up one of the early hill climbs.
This was one of the points we needed to winch one of the Jeeps through.
It's trickier than it looks as the camera really flattens the terrain.
Only one Jeep needed to be winched through here. But many needed
some spotting. At one point this cherokee has literally 1/2" of clearance.
Getting through the tank trap at the top of the hill.
There were a few deep-ish holes or pockets under
the water but it wasn't too bad.
Hooking up the injured Cherokee to my Jeep.
It's steeper than it looks. . . winching the stalled Toyota
about 85 ft up the hill and out of our way.
If we hadn't anchored my jeep to the tree I would simply have
dragged my self down hill as soon as I started winching.
Again, really? Might as well get out and watch. The group
we caught up with again as they were loading their busted
rig on a flat bed truck. The steering linkage had snapped.