So I went out to Detroit yesterday to try some scouting for our next event. I had a really promising road, so I was pretty excited.
Here's the start of the road. Nothing technical, but man what a relaxing view.
Off the edge of the road is a creek with some rapids
Geez, what a poser
Off in the distance I could see where the river/creek used to run. The water has bleached the rocks white.
Most of the obstacles up to this point were deep ruts. Not friendly for cars, but anything with a bit of clearance will do (photo flattens things out)
Here's a natural bridge that crosses the creek. It was formed by lava flows. I found a fairly well built Jeep coming my way, which was a good sign of things to come.
More of the bridge
Looking uphill from the bridge
... and downhill...
Time to get the feet wet and cross. Only ankle deep (on a human, in case you are confused)
a few feet up the road and I get a rock garden equal to a medium-difficulty at TSF
taking time out to look back down the trail
Another stream crossing, this one a bit deeper. I had a hard time seeing where the trail continued, so I had to get out and explore. The trail starts back up a bit after the big log on the right.
It was a bit deeper in this part, maybe calf deep or less.
Up to this point, I thought I had found the ultimate trail. Scenic, adventurous, obstacles that were interesting, and I had probably driven less than 30 minutes.
Here's where things take a turn.
I like trees, as long as they keep to themselves. I try to keep a no-touchy relationship; I don't like the custom detailing. As it turns out, there's some small trees branching out across the trail. I get crafty and momentarily bend them out of the way. I need to remember to bring the saw and shears next time.
I get through, stow the gear, get everything back to normal, and I'm off again.... hmm, trail is getting a bit narrow, though.
(by the way, I showed these pictures to my dad. He said, "did you really drive over that rock?" yes Dad, and I guess I didn't notice it.)
I just about turned around here, and probably should have. This was my second warning.
It's hard to see, but as you approach the mud puddle, slightly higher than cab-height is a downed tree, with many branches hanging down.
I tried pushing on the tree, jumping, bending... nothing short of an axe would save me from the "car wash with custom detail" I was about to go through. I grumped and went through because I wasn't giving up on this trail. Surprisingly, I didn't get any scrapes.
After that, the road quickly narrowed and I entered hell mode. Tree branches all over the place. I spent the rest of the trail creeping through rubbing branches an inch at a time, getting out of the truck when I had room to open the door enough to squeeze out so I could snap off or temporarily bend back the really big stuff. My arms were pretty scratched at the end of the day.
I would call it ATV worthy, but even then you'd be getting whomped with small limbs.
Going in reverse wasn't really an option, I couldn't see the trail much.
There wasn't much else to speak of except for this obstacle. A switchback with a tree on the passenger side, a ledge on the driver, and loose earth ditch to cross. I needed to have taken it wide on the driver side and then cut passenger over the ledge. Before going through, I made sure I found a stout tree to hook a winch line to, just in case.
The approach, I ended up cutting it too sharp. Sorry you can't see the ledge, it's up further.
I started through it, and started feeling too off-camber for comfort. I got out to survey and judged how to back up, but my rear end wanted to slide downhill from the loose earth. Tried forward again, and it felt like the back end was going to slide downhill faster than I could go forward. I could probably gas it on out, but since I was alone and I had the tools... it's time to ut that winch to use! I hooked it to the aforementioned tree and took the safe way out.
You can see how I didn't like the sideways downhill maneuver my truck was making
Sorry, no winch action shots. It was a straight pull, nothing special.
All safe and back on the road... and plowing through more brush. I wasn't going to go through that obstacle backwards!
A few more miles of going under, over, around, and through everything, and my jaw drops. I'm officially going through everything on this trip.
I finally find a point to turn around, and it's good timing, too. Ahead of me was 3 foot deep snow and tons more branches. If had just been snow, I would have poked around a bit, but I was sick of screeching branches and riding the brakes the entire way for the screeching branches.
I headed back down the same plodding speed I came up, grumbling at Mother Nature the entire way. I managed to get by winchless this time, but had to employ the slider a bit to pivot on the tree... otherwise uneventful.
I'm going to try more scouting in the area, but I don't think I'll be going on that trail much again. I'd like to take new guys through until the end of the second river crossing since it gives some safe, varied obstacles that build a lot of good confidence, but the trail won't let you turn around more than one, maybe two rigs.