Saturday, September 27, 2008

Jeep Stuck in Quicksand

It is September 27, 2008, and Jeff came up from the valley.  We wanted to pre-run a trail as the Jeep Club was coming up the next day for a run here and we wanted to make sure there were no trees down or anything.  One of the cardinal rules of Jeeping is to never go alone.  And just because Jeff and I were together in one Jeep, that still constitutes Jeeping alone (without another vehicle along).  However the last time I ran this trail was in the summer, and everything was quite dried out so I told him there was nothing we would encounter back here that could get us into trouble.  It's a really beautiful trail, and it was a beautiful warm fall day.

However, there had been some significant rain recently.  There was mud, and quicksand.  I'm sure you can tell where this is going....and there will be a moral to this story at the end!

It did start out as a dry trail...

About 20 mins into the trail we encountered some water, but it was hard-bottomed so it was no problem even for my stock Jeep.

There were also some washouts to give me a little bit of a challenge.

Then, disaster strikes.  I entered the next puddle, which was NOT hard bottomed and I didn't get very far before I lost traction.  I tried backing up but then realized I was starting to sink.  I was stuck.  Jeff and I got out and assessed the situation. I always carry boards in my Jeep to use as a base for the jack, so I thought let's try jacking it up then maybe we can put some brush under the wheels for traction.  So we jacked it up, but it was a losing battle.  As I jacked, bubbles were gurgling up from the mud, and our feet were sinking, as was the jack and the Jeep.  The mud was actually fine sand.  The bubbles kept bubbling until the Jeep was actually sitting on its belly.

So....on to Plan B.

Unfortunately I did not have a winch, but did have a recovery strap.  We tried tying one end of the strap to a tree, and the other end to the back wheel of the Jeep.  Then we put it in gear and gave it a bit of gas to spin the rear wheel slowly, which tightened up the strap as it twisted.  The hope was that with the continual twisting of the strap, it would get shorter and shorter and actually pull the Jeep sideways out of its hole.  It actually did start to work, and the Jeep started to move sideways, but then the strap broke with an incredible bang that sounded like a gunshot!  Oh well, so much for that idea.  We didn't have cell phone service deep in the woods, so we had to walk a couple of kilometers before we got service.  Once we got service, we called a friend to come and get us.  It was about another 2kms of walking before we got to the logging road where our friend was picking us up.

The walk of shame. lol

It was getting dark out and we were starting to get nervous about the local wildlife, of which there was lots of evidence of them being on our trail very recently - coyote and bear tracks, and pretty fresh too!  Thank God we made it out without running into any.

So, the moral of the story is:  Never wheel alone.

However, everyone does at some point and sometimes we just enjoy going to the woods by ourselves.  So if you would rather go alone, make sure you have a winch or at least a come-along, and it would also be good if you had a friend you could call who could actually come in and rescue you.

The next day a bunch of people from the North Nova Chapter of the Nova Scotia Jeep Club came up for a run and they extricated my Jeep for me.  As we approached my Jeep we were so happy to see it still intact, as we were worried that a bear might have tore the soft top open and ransacked the interior looking for the cereal bars that I had forgotten in the Jeep.

And this is just the beginning of many more Jeeping adventures to come with Jeff and I. :)