Trail Building

Sio and I drove to the Washita MX facility to help the Midwest Jeep Thing folks build trails for Jeepstock (coming up in about a month). This is a big event for the club, and they’ve been working down at Washita to clear trails in advance of the event.

We met the group at the McDonalds at Farmington, where I quickly figured out that these folks were serious — my Jeep was the smallest of the lot! We loaded up and followed them to Washita. After a quick lesson in how to read the trail map, we were on our way…. and I was faced with a 15-20′ hill that to me looked like it went straight up! Of course, that wasn’t a big deal, and the road to our first stop was flat and uneventful. I thought this was what we’d see the rest of the way.

I was wrong.

We finished up and decided to go on some of the logging roads — described to be easy to get around on — and that’s when I discovered that my version of “easy” and theirs were a little different. The logging road was rutted and pretty tough for me to cover. I made it thought, and we walked up an extreme trail, clearing what we could. I looked at the boulders, and couldn’t believe folks put their vehicles over them, but the evidence was there… plenty of scars on top of the boulders.

While we were there, some Jeeps and trucks came through, crawling the rocks and pounding the undersides of their vehicles on the boulders. And of the group of five, two had mechanical failures — one with a broken U-joint, and the other with a tire that came off the rim. Neither of those would I be equipped to fix, and yet there they were, pulling out tools, and getting ’em back on the road.

Once we finished with our trail clearing, the folks there decided to see if a couple of their “easy” trails were passable by a stock JK. In other words, I became a science experiment. 🙂 The first trail was a grass trail through the forest, climbing up and down the sides of stream beds. It wasn’t too bad, but there were some places on that trail I wouldn’t have tried without someone leading me along. And then we hit the easy trail.

I couldn’t believe some of the climbs on this one! And it’s on this trail that I got my first “love tap” on the Jeep. Sio looked back and told me that I had dented the plastic fender on the rear passenger side. And apparently that was so much fun that I did it again. But this time, I took down the tree that was in the way. 🙂 Shouldn’t be a big thing to bang out, and after all, I didn’t buy the Jeep for its resale value!

All in all, it was a fun day, and a great opportunity to gain some experience and confidence with my new toy. I’m sure we’ll be back out to Washita to play again!