|January 1998||Mid winter's evening, Clearfield County||
To boldly go....
Even though unfortunately there are no pictures to document this event, it's still worth mentioning. It was Saturday night around 9:30 pm. Two vehicles, a Toyota Land Cruiser and a Toyota extended Pickup. We were doing a little late night fourwheeling through the deep woods. Very soupy but no problems. Then we were back onto a main trail carved into the hillside following the mountain down towards the valley. No problem, we've been here before. Along this trail are smaller trails forking off this trail going up the hill. These trails we hadn't been on. Some were passed by since there was something about it that was too dangerous to attempt since the trail was snow covered and a bit too steep or slanted. Some were fine.
We were here to explore so we checked out what we could. Did I mention these were logging trails created by and for bulldozers? Every side trail seemed to end and we either had to turn around or back up. One trail in particular seemed easy, even fun to venture onto. You could either fork to the right and up the hill gradually or go a little further and make a hard right and rip up the steeper part of the hillside then make a hard left at the top. On this trail I was following in my Toyota Pickup with Mike and Glenn riding with me while Stephen and his father were ahead in his Land Cruiser. I held back about a hundred feet or so while Stephen went ahead to see if the trail continued or just dead ended.
While I waited I got the word on the CB that it was not passable and he was going to back out. I backed out and started to play on the steeper part of the entrance. It seemed to me that Stephen should have backed out by now so I called him on the CB. He asked us if we could come back with my tow straps and come alongs...all of them.
Well apparently, and you have to image this, the trail is running level along a steep ridge. Too steep to walk up the hill above the trail, too steep to walk down the hill below the trail. The trail itself, barely wide enough for a vehicle, is slightly leaning towards the downhill side with no ruts to hold you on the trail. Did I mention it was snow covered? Well going in was no problem but going in packed the snow into ice.
As the Land Cruiser was backed up it began slipping towards the embankment. We're talking inches from the edge. Any movement and this 5000+ lbs. vehicle came closer to rolling down about a hundred foot drop. So what would you do? Well the goal was to back it out and keep it on the trail. The idea was to use the tow straps and the hand come alongs and attach them to trees, stumps, whatever, at the front and rear of the vehicle and keep constant tension as it inched back.
Also I scraped as much snow out from behind the wheels as I could for added traction. To sum it up it took about 45 minutes to back up 100 feet to a safer part of the trail. It definity was nerve racking. Especially for the guy doing the backing up.