May 22, 2005
date line: Missoula, May 22
5 modified jeeps and one lone little stock suzuki tracked the terrible trails of the Garnet resource area. (it was rumored the suzuki was along to serve as a spare (like one would carry a spare tire)
We got lost a bit or was that just "terrain disoriented" ? either way it turned out to be an enjoyable trip for all. Lots of mud and a mud/water hole that almost swallowed the little suzuki but the driver's superior skill managed a last minute self extraction.
Did I mention the mud, and oh how I hate mud! wide "skidder" tires sticking out the fenders, well makes a mess.
Lunch stop was at Union peak look out, which offers a great panoramic view from its 6800 ft elevation site
From there we back tracked a bit and headed over to view the remains of the buildings at the copper cliffs mining area. Paul led us from there in a confusing array of roads, up a power line trail, and basically back to the same spot.
a side road that soon ended also had this deep ravine that everyone decided "they just had to drive though" since our leader did. On the return back through it the Suzuki's wheel base and overall length was just perfect to wedge its self into with all 4 wheels lacking traction. We figured we could just lower the windshield, take off the roll bar and the rest of us would have a 'bridge' to drive over. for some reason Figmo didn't like this idea so Ron ended up pulling him out.
We found a road that indicated lack of travel for some time so naturally we just had to follow it. 300 ft from where it met up with a established graded road we encountered a severe wash out. Not one that you could drive through but had to go around by riding up on the side of the hill. Our leader made the first attempt, (mainly because he was in the lead other wise we would have used the Suzuki as a sacrificial lamb) with Jeff riding the high side nerf bar as a counter balance. No problem. When it came to be Ron's turn the extra long wheel base of his CJ8 and our leaders guiding put the low side tire off the side and what looked to be instant roll over was averted by last minute heavy throttle application. Perhaps our leader should not have been trusted to guide anyone else thought. But with confidence Jeff attempted the passage. Sure enough his Jeep slid off the side and was heading to instant disaster and a multi roll over. 20 minutes of winching, and skillful driving on Jeff's part, put him back on stable ground for another try, and again he trusted our leader to guide him. Sure enough, he slid off in the same spot that Ron did and to compensate tried to run over his guide. Naturally our spare vehicle, the little narrow Suzuki had no problem but by this time it was most likely that our leader had now learned new guiding skills.
Still guessing as to our location we headed off on a myriad of roads to end up in the little town of Potomac
over all besides lots of mud and a bit of rain it was a good trip for all. Well the mud was pretty heavy and even a heavy rain on the way home failed to remove very much of it. I spent better than a hour when I got home in the rain no less washing my own jeep.