By Christie Cashatt
1 March 2015
Originally, the Schubarth Road trail run was to happen in February, but due to lots of snow, we postponed it until March. When we started out, the skies were blue, and the weather was warm, err… well, warminsh. We met up at Rudy’s Country Store for breakfast and had a great turnout. Everyone had a good time meeting and eating, and several new people wanted to apply for membership to the club. Ron Bradley, who was supposed to lead the run, showed up with Mary to have breakfast and admit that his Bronco was down. But, he was willing to go along, so rode with Tony Cobb.
We headed up to Woodland Park, where we picked up a couple more rigs. I never was able to count everyone, but we had somewhere between 22 and 24 rigs, which is a new high for CFW! After a brief meeting in the McDonald’s parking lot, we loaded back up. Then, off to Schubarth Road we went. The roads were a lot better than our trip from the weekend prior, so we thought that the snow wouldn’t be too bad! Hah! We were wrong!
As we got out onto Schubarth, we immediately noticed that the trail had been run, and the snow wasn’t too deep. We found a hill to park and have a driver’s meeting, along with taking several photos. One vehicle had to get pulled out of the snow on the hill, but James and Chrystie Marden were there to make short work of it. We then spaced out winches and cb’s and headed off deeper into the woods. And the snow got deeper as we went too. We had a couple minor slide-offs that were quickly tugged back on the trail, and no damage occurred, thankfully.
As the first of the group hit what I am personally calling “slicker than snot hill,” the cb chatter picked up. Those of us in the back could tell that the hill was going to be challenging; those in the front of the group were calling out that it was slick, take it slow, and other pieces of four-wheeler-wisdom. Jon and I hit the hill and headed down, sliding a bit, and at one point coming closer than I would have liked to a tree, and then a bit sideways. Jon got the Jeep straightened out, and down the rest of the way we went. We cruised on down the trail and within a couple of minutes, we were stopped; the front of the line had hit another snag.
Although I never made it to the meadow in question, the photos show Tony up almost to his waist in snow, and Tony’s a tall guy! He said the snow was really deep, and he was blazing the trail at that point, so had no reference for exactly how deep. Things got a little more complicated because it turned out that Tony, in the lead, had hit a water crossing that was frozen and buried in snow. He said his tires just spun on the ice, so he had to winch to a couple of trees to get himself across the little creek, and then back again. And he and the other drivers had to get everyone else across too, so they could all turn around in the meadow. Apparently getting out of the meadow was a lot of work- the pictures show the guys pushing, winching, and shoveling. While they were working on extricating themselves, the rear of the group was told to turn around if possible.
The guys found a spot that we could turn around in, and set to work shoveling it out. Don, in his lifted 4Runner, was behind me, so he backed up and found his own place to turn around. I pulled the Jeep forward and got turned around, and Chrystie followed me in their Jeep. Then, everyone else started to follow. Unfortunately, this meant that Jon and I were the first ones to hit “slicker than snot hill.” We made a valiant attempt, ok, so several attempts, to get up that dang hill. The snow was just ice, though, and we would hit ruts and just spin. We ended up stopping about half-way up, just as a Jeep was coming down the hill at us. A couple of guys heard about the run on Facebook, and thought they would run the trail behind us. That didn’t work out, so the second guy ended up tying off to a tree and winching his buddy back up the hill. Then, they helped Jon get our Jeep up too. Me, I was off to the side, taking pictures after having bailed out due to a case of “oh no way, letmeout, letmeout, letmeout.”
After we got positioned so we could help anyone else that needed it, James and Chrystie drove up the hill unassisted. They also got positioned to help out with others. Then the real work started. Several of the vehicles with us needed to be winched up part, or even all, of that hill. The guys worked an awesome setup, though, with Jon winching people up the first part of the hill, and then the winch line was traded off to James and Chrystie’s Jeep, to tug people up the last part of the hill. Several of the guys chipped in to help with relaying messages up and down the hill, switching winch lines, moving tow straps, and other not-fun stuff. But even the new wheelers, who had never been out with the group, seemed to have a great time. The team work displayed by the guys was awesome to watch.
After we got everyone up the hill, and I will add that not everyone needed winching, we cruised back toward the area where we initially started. There, everyone aired back up and spent some time rehashing the trip and visiting. We did have a couple of people who incurred a little trail damage. Will Miller and Leif Durham both slid their front fenders into aspen trees; Will declared those trees to be the “hard aspen trees” that James had earlier joked about. Despite this, though, everyone had a good time, and were very impressed with how everyone came together to get out of a slick situation. Several people commented how impressed they were with how things were run, and that they will be running more trails with us in the future. As we finished up, the snow started to fall harder and harder. The trip took longer than we anticipated, but there were valuable lessons learned, and everyone got out safely. Although, I think a few people have modified their “vehicle upgrades” shopping lists!
A club like this is based on mutual respect of each other and each other’s rigs. Of course, there may be some good natured razzing, but in the end, you never leave a wheeler behind.
Thanks to everyone who made it out. Thanks to the guys who winched, shoveled, waded through snow, and ran up and down that hill. We enjoyed meeting and wheeling with all the new folks, and we hope to see you all out on the trail again real soon.